August 1, 2013, Dierks Bentley, was the artist chosen to represent New York in Bud Light Music First's "50/50/1" event, featuring live performances from every state in the USA! Irving Plaza in New York City was bubbling over with excitement all afternoon, as over 1,000 "free" ticket holders tried to get inside.
Thanks to the Dierks Bentley fan club for giving away last minute tickets that were hard to come by through Bud Light and NASH-FM! Tara and I made plans to meet at the venue. It was two planes and a taxi ride to Manhattan, then the all-day-anxiety of getting to the rail to be front row stage center were well worth it to experience the man and the band up close and personal.
Dierks' entertainment style is just that--personal. For an hour and a half, he connected with dozens in the crowd, pointing, making eye-contact, slapping high-fives, touching finger tips, and even bringing one lucky girl up on stage to play his guitar. Then he left her up there to come down into the audience, and sat on the rail right between me and Tara. Special thanks to those DB Congress reps at home watching all this streaming online and capturing that moment! Not bad quality for a computer screen capture! Thanks, Janet!
|Dierks joked that she was brave to wear an "Alabama" shirt |
to a "New York" show
He was clearly having a good time but more than that, he was making sure everyone in the room was having fun, too. And he does it all so naturally. He just says whatever comes to mind.
Like when introducing his multi-talented band of brothers, he shared with us each of their nicknames. Brian Layson (lead guitar) is Cactus; Steve Misamore (drums) is Steve when he's sober, Tony when he's drunk and Dwayne when he is high. Dierks asked, "Which one are you tonight, Steve?", who held up 2, maybe 3 fingers. Cassady Feasby (bass) is "the doctor," but he called him "nerd-o" that night. Tim Sergeant "Sarge" (steel, banjo) comes from Kentucky. "We can all use a little "K-Y" on tour," Dierks quipped. Dan Hochhalter (fiddle, guitar) is "The Hawk" (who played injured after a bicycle accident two days before.). He also teased Dan about his supply of Cialis and his use of performance enhancing drugs. Dierks joked he'd be there all night for the comedy and to "try the veal," but then promised to get back to singing after he said Steve gave the signal that the comedy hour was over.
|Brian "Cactus" Layson|
|Steve / Tony/ Dwayne Misamore|
Even though Dierks was the headliner, Chris Stapleton stole some hearts and mesmerized souls as he belted out several songs he wrote ("Your Man"-Josh Turner and "The Right Ones," that he wrote with "Home" co-writer Dan Wilson).
Beautiful harmonies emanated when his wife joined him on the Waylon Jennings classic, "Amanda," and a few others. Watching and listening to him sing "Sometimes I Cry" --just him and his guitar--it was so moving. Pure, raw, powerful emotion. Too bad most of the venue was talking over it--how disrespectful!
His single, "What Are You Listening To?" is now available on iTunes, and I promise you are gonna wanna download it pronto.
You may remember Chris as the lead vocalist for the GRAMMY nominated bluegrass band The Steel Drivers, but the first time I heard his powerful voice was on Dierks' Up On The Ridge album on track two, "Fallin' For You." We could see the set list on the stage floor and were excited to see the song listed with (w/CS) next to it!
"This guy right here sang on this next song [on the Up On The Ridge record] and we haven't done this song in like three years. But man, it's so very not often you get a chance to hang with one of your buddies on the road and then he's here and you get a chance to sing a song we were just singing back stage and we said, 'hell if we're singing it backstage we might as well take it to the stage and sing it for these hard core fans.' I look down at this front row of fans that have been following me my whole life with these Stubbs hats and Stubbs T-shirts...this is a one time deal in New York and this is one of the best singers I've ever heard in my life." ~Dierks Bentley
In addition to the "one time deal" that was "Fallin For You," other songs the die-hards in the audience heard that night away from the typical set list were "Summer On Fire" and "Bourbon In Kentucky." Dierks also performed a song that he hasn't sang in recent shows, but a fan favorite: "How Am I Doin'" really brought the energy of the crowd way up. As he sang to a woman, who although there with a male companion, had her lips in a pucker for a kiss, a guy in the front row had his arm around his Dierks' waist!
It turned out to be very funny because later when he was singing "Come A Little Closer" he sang "I feel like layin' you down" and added "at least the girls."
The Will Ferrell look-alike that makes an appearance at every DB show in NYC was there in the balcony, and Dierks made sure to point him out to the crowd and shout out some of his favorite flicks like "Semi Pro" and how they were awaiting the release of Anchorman 2.
When he started singing his newest single, "I Hold On," we held up our signs of support ("We Hold On") and the live stream caught a glimpse on camera.
"What Was I Thinkin'" and "Sideways" signaled the encore, and had everyone in the crowd jumping on their feet with the energy at an all time high. But the crowd got quiet and attentive when the introductory notes to "Home" started. As Dierks has said before, he does not have a home state, but a home country-the USA and as before, the statement was met with roaring applause and screams. With cell phones high in the air, everyone there celebrated great music, a great performance and the great country we live in.
The guys take their final bow and Dierks drops to his knees to say thank you to everyone. No--thank YOU for a great experience!
The man is not only a talented singer songwriter, but a person with a generous heart who truly appreciates his fans. And Dierks, we always will appreciate you and be Dierks fans for life!
Every Mile A Memory! The next day I rode a train to Grand Central Station, a taxi to the airport and two planes all day to get back home to Florida but it was totally worth it--it always is! Tara lives in New York and tweeted: @DierksBentley 2hr drive into city, 5hours in line, mega anxiety...would I do it again?...yes!!
Am I The Only One
Free and Easy
Summer On Fire
Every Mile A Memory
Lot of Leavin' Left To Do
Settle For A Slowdown
Feel That Fire
Tip It On Back
Up On The Ridge
Fallin' For You (w/Chris Stapleton)
Bourbon In Kentucky
Come A Little Closer
How Am I Doin'?
I Hold On
What Was I Thinkin'?
DB Congress (FL)
DB Congress (NY)