Sunday, June 7, 2015

Dierks Bentley Kicks Off "HOT" Sounds Of Summer Tour in Raleigh; DB Congress "Pyro Patrol" Fans The Flames

Dierks Bentley kicked off the summer of 2015 with a hot start, and we're not just talking about the weather. Fans in the front could literally "feel" that fire, when Dierks turned up the heat with his new Sounds Of Summer Tour in Raleigh, NC Friday night. (Photo credit: Meredith Mauer)

Want an up close and personal experience with Dierks? The VIP option he is offering fans on the Sounds of Summer tour is something special. During check in for the Sounds of Summer VIP Experience Tailgate Party, fans were given guitar pick-shaped VIP lanyards featuring Goldie Bus, a unique poster, a Sounds of Summer cooler and coozie, and a DB beer pong set!

"We were escorted into the venue early by our CID Entertainment hosts Jesse and Dani.  They were both great and a lot of fun!" said Meredith Mauer.  "The VIP area was set up with everything you need to tailgate, including corn hole, beer pong tables and food in case you got the munchies.  The cash bar offered Ole Smokey Moonshine, a huge sponsor of Dierks!

At about 6:45, Dierks came out and entertained the VIP guests with three acoustic songs; I Hold On, Drunk on a Plane, and 5150.  Everyone sang along, which Dierks loved!  He was having a great time, and joked around with the crowd.  After singing, he was kind enough to sign a lot of autographs before he left to prepare for his M&G session."


Changing up the set list, Dierks launched "Sideways" with a bang, sparks flying, followed by "Am I The Only One" and "5-1-5-0" before taking a breath.  The energy in the Walnut Creek Amphitheater was electric, fans feeding on all five senses--every sight and sound, the smell of smoke, the taste of cold beer or Strawberrita and feeling the heat from the live flames! Can't you hear it comin' alive?

Ed Morris was the lucky fan who shot-gunned a beer, when Dierks invited him to the stage to be the next challenger for Dierks' undefeated record. Ed left a little in the can and Dierks jokingly told him to "get your ass outta here," a line from George Strait's movie, Pure Country.

Even the intro music to songs had a slightly different sound, keeping us hard core fans guessing at times which song he was about to sing! 

The video imagery and lighting were fresh and new, just when we thought the Riser Tour could not be topped!  Team Dierks is the most creative and talented crew, and their dedication to excellence was evident! They thought of every little detail. Kudos to Chris Reade, Jay Ballinger, Tom Addison, Carlos and all the crew!

The story behind "I Hold On" always puts a lump in my throat and Friday night was no exception. After telling us about his dad he said "he's watching tonight (from heaven)." He'd be so proud of you, Dierks!

"Tip It On Back" put everyone in the mood to sway and sing to the music and foreshadowed the 'fire' to come later.

So grab the girl you came with
And set her world on fire
And watch her sway and singing to the music
Until it's all alright, yeah

Although many articles before the show stated "Every Mile A Memory" was left out of the set list, we were pleasantly surprised when he started singing it.  It has special meaning to all of us who have traveled many miles and experienced dozens of Dierks shows over the past ten years! The video playing behind him as he sang flashed photos of being on tour and his kids.  You'll see his 19-month old son, Knox, in the video behind him:

"Feel That Fire" was our signal to put on our fireman hats to match our DB Congress Pyro Patrol Little White Tank Tops.  The look on Dierks' face when he saw us was priceless.  He actually called the video guy over to film us and we apparently were on the giant video screen. Later, we gave him a hat, too, and he pointed at us and mouthed "pyro patrol" and laughed.

DB Congress Pyro Patrol: David Mattingly, Carrie Srebro, Ronna Clark,
Christy Rahall, Sandra Grubb, Meredith Mauer and Monica White
(Special thanks to Harriett Watkins for the idea and Mere for the design and iron on shirts!)

Of course, the Sounds of Summer Tour would not be complete without its namesake song in the set, along with a sing-a-long:

These are sounds goin' down in a nowhere town
Underneath the wide open sky
It's the dust in the air and the freedom everywhere
Can't you hear it comin' alive?

Ascending slowly 10-20 feet above the stage, his deep gravely voice resonated Riser lyrics as if he wrote them himself, while birds flew by on the screen behind him.  He's a fighter that's for sure. We are so proud of how much he has achieved in his career--slowly rising to his own successful headlining tours and selling out 22,000 plus!

He confirmed in the Meet and Greet "Riser" will be the next single.  Make sure to start requesting that radio play it--releasing June 29.  Best of luck to songwriters Travis Meadows and Steve Moakler--here's hoping radio will give Dierks his 14th number one--and 4th #1 single from the Riser album!

At one point, Dierks mentioned girls with tattoos of his songs, pointing to Sandra who has RISER and the thunderbird tattooed on her right forearm.  

Opening act, Kip Moore, came back out to sing Lot of Leaving Left To Do and later Maddie & Tae and Canaan Smith helped out on Free and Easy, after which Dierks decided to crowd surf right behind us in the pit!  "Sometimes you gotta lean on your crowd, y'all!" Dierks said afterward.

The lawn crowd was not to be left out.  Dierks said he wasn't close enough to them so he started singing "Come A Little Closer" and walked out into the crowd to the B stage, hugging fans and posing for pictures along the way, never missing a note!

Dierks twirls Monica around for a dance
 on Come A Little Closer - Happy birthday, Monica!

He lit up the amp with the patriotic "Home," although we had to explain to the security guard that Dierks wanted us to turn on the light on our phone.  "It's a part of the song," Sandra told him--he didn't believe her until he saw 15,000 cell phones light up.

I gotta hand it to Dierks--he listens to and appreciates all kinds of music and keeps up with the Pop scene.  He can easily turn any song into a country tune.  Case in point, his bluegrass cover of Nick Jonas' "Chains"..."try to break the chains but the chains only break me..." was a real crowd-pleaser.

Another pleasant surprise was "Settle For A Slowdown" bluegrass style with Tim Sergent on the banjo and Dan Hochhalter on fiddle--what talent!

More fire came with "Up On The Ridge," the live flames keeping time with the music. It was HOT--literally--but musically as well! Makes you wonder why radio didn't get behind this smokin' single!

After "Say You Do," Dierks left the stage, as if he was done.  But we all knew "What Was I Thinkin'"and "Drunk On A Plane" was still to come! During 'Drunk' he ran around the stage with his arms out, like a little kid flying an imaginary airplane.  He has so much fun on the stage, its not just to entertain the fans. He genuinely enjoys it! And the fans go wild!

The guys in Dierks' band have some of the best vocals in the business and they are truly talented musicians, too! Dierks is blessed to have them on stage with him!
Brian Layson

Steve Misamore

Dan Hochhalter

Cassady Feasby
Tim Sergent on steel guitar

Canaan Smith opened the night at 7 pm to a half-filled venue and shared some songs from his recently released EP, Love You Like That, Two Lane Road, and 4 more.  He even pulled out his own drum and played the heck out of it until he lost a drum stick and just grabbed another and kept on beating it! The fans who chose to skip his set really missed out! Before the gates opened, Canaan was nice enough to make a stop by the box office to meet fans and take pictures.  Nice guy!

Maddie & Tae, nominated for three CMT Music Awards (airing Wed., June 10 at 8 pm EST),  performed during Dierks' Meet and Greet so I missed them altogether, but Carrie's a big fan and said they were awesome!  Here's their set list.

Kip Moore, whose new album, "Wild Ones" goes on sale August 21, was so charismatic, charming the crowd with his ten-song-set. The highlight was an inspiring acoustic of "Hey Pretty Girl" blended right into "Stand By Me." Killer voice. He had the audience competing left vs. right to see who could sing louder. He deserves way more recognition than he gets.

When it really was the end of the show, Dierks ran back to center stage, did a half somersault and landed flat on his back--spent.  He truly did 'give it all he had to give,' to borrow a line in Ridge. But then again, he always does.  That's why we always come back for more.

The final bow featured Steve Miller's "Jet Airliner" playing in the background, and Dierks never forgets to thank the fans, pointing to them one by one and slapping hands:

It's gonna be a hot summer, musically.  If you don't have tickets yet, don't miss out!  Go to for the closest Sounds of Summer tour date to you!  And don't forget to wear your fire protection gear!

DB Congress Chair