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Volume 34
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Dierks Bentley draws 6,000 boisterous fans to Everett Events Center
Dierks Bentley draws 6,000 boisterous fans to Everett Events Center
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Dierks Bentley
December 1 @ Everett Events Center


Dierks Bentley sold 3000 concert tickets in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. Not bad for an artist with three albums under his belt buckle.

Comparatively, he sold 6000 tickets at last weekend's hoedown inside the Everett Events Center. Delighted by the huge turnout, Bentley said he and his bandmates would make this show the most memorable on his coast-to-coast headlining tour. And he did just that.

The curly-topped country star, nominated this year for ACM and CMA Male Vocalist of the Year awards, opened his performance with "Every Mile a Memory", the leadoff single from his recent release Long Trip Alone. Clad in a snug pair of trendy jeans, black dress shirt, and urbanized cowboy boots, the wide-smiled singer-songwriter followed with "Can't Live It Down", greeting fans on the left foot of the stage midway through the second verse. "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do", from his platinum-selling album Modern Day Drifter, kept enthusiastic fans on their feet.

There's no denying Bentley has improved as a live performer. He was terrific at The Showbox last year and dazzled at Qwest Field four months ago, but his vocals have actually strengthened and his backing musicians are the best he's ever assembled, including Steve Misamore whose family members were scattered along my row.

My only complaint Friday night was the near awful sound on a few faster numbers, such as "Domestic, Light and Cold" and "So So Long". It could either have been poor acoustics in the mid-size sports arena or the stage equipment, though it only affected less than a handful of entries on the evening's set list.

Perhaps the most interesting thing at Bentley's show was the crowd, primarily in the pit below the stage, bouncing energetically as you'd expect those at a punk rock concert to do. Others twirled and some boogied fiercely, and the posse of drunken dudes in my row even made room to slap each other on the ass (and they say Gay boys can't control themselves?).

On "Come a Little Closer", Bentley emphasized the words "I feel like strippin' it down" with a sexy grin on his face, which drew feminine screams and masculine whistles throughout. At one point in the performance, Bentley surprised bleacher-seated ticketholders on the west side of the mini-stadium by strolling up their aisle and choosing a beaming young woman for a dance partner.

A highlight on the set list was a moving, acoustic rendition of "Train Travelin'", a track off Bentley's self-titled debut. Another goose bumpy moment was the dedication of the slow number "My Last Name" to all the servicemen and women overseas.

Bentley concluded his main set with the monstrous hit "What Was I Thinkin'", igniting the audience into an all-out frenzy. A two-song encore closed things out, which included a foot stomping rendition of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues" with guest vocalist Miranda Lambert, who opened the show along with the Randy Rogers Band.

Before the concert, I had a chance to meet Dierks Bentley backstage. It was the second time I've been privileged to say hello to him, and I was really happy that he recognized me right away and even remembered the last place we'd met, at The Showbox in the summer of 2005. He asked me what concerts were coming up, and I mentioned the Wolfmother show on Sunday night, which delighted his assistant (who's a big fan). He was amazingly sweet. After the short meet n' greet, Bentley hung out with Seattle Seahawks kicker Josh Brown, who introduced him to the audience.

Bentley is a CMA Horizon Award (Best New Artist) winner and an inductee into the Grand Ole Opry. Considered one of country music's hottest entertainers, Bentley is known for being very fan-friendly and down to earth. His "Locked and Loaded" tour stretches to Canada in 2007, with a show in Vancouver, BC on January 8.

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