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Dierks Bentley

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Houston Rodeo veteran, Dierks Bentley, came back to his stomping grounds Monday night.

This rodeo performance marks his sixth time at the Houston Rodeo and by now his audience has grown up. The seats were filled with families and older adults, who could identify with Bentley, a 39-year-old.

“5-1-5-0” was a tough start as the song played out to a silent crowd.

“If you don’t know the words, they’re right there,” Bentley said as he pointed to the lyrics screens stationed at four different places around the stadium.

Bentley had no issue talking to the crowd and using his arms to pick up the energy, as his guitar hung around casually like a third limb. His frequent appeals to “come on” and his constant questions to the crowd seemed to lose some affect in the massive NRG stadium. The small stage made it hard for the audience to feel any connection with Bentley.

“You guys are so far away,” Bentley said, before jumping off stage, climbing over a tall barrier and stepping down into the VIP front section of the audience.

Bentley took a water bottle from an audience member, gave out high fives, and took a gratuitous amount of selfies as the rest of the stadium gazed jealously. Nevertheless, the effect was immediate and the stadium finally became alive

Bentley’s comfortable blue plaid shirt and loose jeans matched the easy melodies in his songs.

“Tip It Back” was one of many songs mentioning cold beer and its refreshing qualities. The fiddle came out in “Up On the Ridge” and the stadium’s sound system did the song no justice as it transformed the fiddle’s twangy notes into sharp screeches.

Bentley struggled to hit the high notes in his cover of One Republic’s “Counting Stars,” and the rendition fell short of the original.

Bentley sang “Say You Do” for the first time since the song hit the top 10 in the charts. The song was perfect for the couples and parents out in the audience and it prompted some to get up and slow dance.

“Let’s drink to it being to the top ten,” Bentley said, raising a red solo cup, which made frequent appearances.

Before “Hold On,” Bentley mentioned the 1994 Chevy pickup truck that he still drives, the same one that his dad drove from Phoenix to Nashville in to start Bentley’s music career. Bentley holds up his guitar that he has not thrown away even with its holes and scratches.

“But I like this guitar. This all means something to me,” Bentley said.

The guitarist turned his guitar horizontally to pluck the most twang he could get out of the strings in “Sideways.” Two spotlights shone on Bentley as the other lights lit the floor with stars and the stripped down atmosphere introduced patriotic vibes during “Home.”

The brief period of serenity was followed by Bentley’s hit, “Drunk on a Plane,” which ended the night confirming Bentley’s roots in beer, girls in white tank tops, and a good time.

Photos by Tiffany Wang

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