Dierks Bentley’s Beers on Me Tour Brings Boundless Energy to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena
In the 19 years since the release of his self-titled debut album, Dierks Bentley has gone through many moments of musical evolution. After first making his mark with "What Was I Thinkin,'" he's continued to experiment, shifting from romantic ballads to party anthems and bluegrass stompers. When Bentley strolled onto the Bridgestone Arena stage on Friday (Aug. 26) for his Beers on Me Tour stop in Nashville, the country hitmaker made a conscious effort to perform tracks from each of those creative chapters.
His two-hour-long set served as a curated list of favorites from throughout his career, fittingly kicked off with the twangy charm of his breakout hit "What Was I Thinkin'." From there, he rolled through his Brothers Osborne collaboration "Burning Man" (sans the duo), the anthemic "I Hold On" and "Woman, Amen," which included a visual slideshow tribute featuring many of Bentley's favorite female artists, including Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Miranda Lambert and the Judds.
Sonically, Bentley served up an impressively strong and consistent performance throughout the lengthy set. It's important to give his backing band, which includes some of country music's most talented players, some much-deserved praise here. The immensely talented Charlie Worsham showed off his own star power with an abbreviated take on the folk spiritual standard "I’m Working on a Building." This served as one of a handful of covers sprinkled into the setlist, which also included a take on Charlie Daniels' "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
Bentley also invited his daughters, Evie and Jordan, to help sing a sweet version of Pink's "All I Know So Far," which they previously debuted in Tampa a week earlier. His eight-year-old son, Knox, also took the stage to show off some dance moves during his dad's performance of "Somewhere on a Beach."
All three of Bentley's opening acts — DJ Aydamn, Elvie Shane and Dustin Lynch — also joined him throughout the set, filling the spots usually filled by surprise guest appearances. Lynch even handed out cans of Miller Lite to eager fans while joining in on the drinking anthem "Beers on Me."
Notably, Bentley made sure to repeatedly mention that most of his closest country music pals wanted to join him for the event, but were instead out of town on their own summer tours. But what many fans didn't realize was, there was one band willing and ready to close out the night. After toasting the crowd and leading fans in a sing-along of "Drunk on a Plane," Bentley ran off the stage and the lights went dark. In lieu of a regular encore, fans were treated to a guest appearance from the mullet-adorned, '90s country parody band Hot Country Knights.
Bentley transformed into the role of his alter-ego Douglas "Doug" Douglason to perform a rendition of Travis Tritt's "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" before chugging through a sped-up medley of '90s hits that included George Strait's "Blue Clear Sky," the Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away" and Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance." Bentley, then clad in a neon-accented tank top, also crooned part of Garth Brooks' "The Dance" while handing out roses to the entranced (if not somewhat bewildered) crowd.
The Knights closed things out with their own somewhat-chaotic version of Shania Twain's iconic hit, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman," which only emphasized the evening's already-high levels of testosterone. But that obvious dichotomy surely isn't lost on Bentley by any means — it's all part of the joke.
After a quick costume change, Bentley returned to center stage for one last song. His bandmates, still wearing their brightly colored Hot Country Knights attire, gave it their all during their final song, the 2009 No. 1 hit "Sideways."
Through it all, Bentley's energy never faltered. Even the stripped-down, three-part renditions of crowd requests like "Settle for a Slowdown" didn't feel phoned-in or flat. Even with its ebbs and flows, the night's lengthy setlist offered up a little something for everyone while showing off Bentley's ever-widening musical range.