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Bentley wows crowd with moving show

SHARE Bentley wows crowd with moving show


Country superstar Dierks Bentley rolled into the E Center Saturday night with the "throttle wide open" and left the same way, after a show filled with energy, enthusiasm and excitement.

The tour name is an apt one; Bentley is clearly a man on the move. In just five years he's gone from releasing his first album to headlining his own shows. Not only that, but a lot of his songs and albums have a "road warrior" theme.

And a lot of those songs were the ones he performed for a crowd of devotees — the songs that got him where he is and the songs that will take him on. Numbers such as "Long Trip Alone" and "Every Mile a Memory" and "Free and Easy Down the Road I Go" were definite crowd pleasers.

There were also the requisite love songs and love-gone-wrong songs: "You can't have one side of the coin without the other," he said. So there were bright and brash songs such as "Come a Little Closer" and attitude-flavored songs such as "How Am I Doin'?" and "So So Long" and poignant songs such as "Distant Shore."

Bentley also showcased both his range and his love of bluegrass music with an acoustic bluegrass set that included the fun-filled question: Where you gonna find "A Good Man Like Me,'" as well as the gospelesque "Prodigal Son's Prayer."

His "My Last Name" tribute to the armed forces and "all who serve with their name on their back" was also an emotional moment.

Bentley further endeared himself to the audience by talking about the Phoenix (his hometown) Suns and the Utah Jazz, as well as noting that he'd played the State Fair here and was happy to be back. He proposed a toast to all "Utah dudes in cowboy hats and backward baseball caps" as well as the girls "who came to rock in white tank tops." He took dancing lessons from one lucky member of the audience and clearly was having a good time throughout the night.

The set was simple but effective and allowed him to run and jump and move — as well as adding lights that looked like the grills of a half-dozen semitrailers coming down the road.

Up-and-comer Lee Brice got the show off to a rousing start with South Carolina-style country rock, showing off his leanings toward rednecks, crazy women and "Happy Endings."

Bucky Covington kicked things up a notch, singing with passion and panache — and showing off the style that earned him an eighth-place spot on "American Idol" in 2005. He, too, was an energetic crowd pleaser.

E-mail: carma@desnews.com