Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Dierks Bentley's Headline Riser Tour Opening Weekend in Charlotte/ Raleigh, NC: 20 years in the Making

Photo Credit: Stephanie Lanham. Dierks Bentley, Chase Rice, Jon Pardi, Chris Young
Raleigh, NC, May 10, 2014, Riser Tour Opening Weekend

We had this date marked on the calendar forever.  We'd take that Dierks Bentley headlining Riser Tour opening weekend DRT (Dierks Road Trip) together!

DB Congress reps gathered in Charlotte, NC Riser Tour Eve on May 8, 2014 to kick off our president's opening weekend of his first ever amphitheater headlining tour in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina.  During dinner, we shared our favorite memories of Dierks and captured the moment with a photo including our newest little member, Clara!

Not content to wait for the next day's memories to begin, we took a ride to the PNC Music Pavilion to search for and replicate the same photo our prez had tweeted earlier in the day.  When we got there, we could see the new stage lighting from a distance and hear sound check.  Of course we couldn't help but sing along and laugh at the ad libs.

Dierks is always trying to push the envelope.  He brings a certain energy and passion to his show, and makes a concerted effort to connect with each person in the audience in some way. So much so that I'm convinced he co-wrote the book Fish!, the blueprint book for corporate America. The premise: Choose Your Attitude, Play, Make Their Day, and Be Present.

Dierks Bentley personifies the Fish model perfectly, always displaying a positive attitude, with a unique country-rock-bluegrass, grab you from the get-go live stage show production that makes you feel it all the way down to the depths of your heart and soul.

Such was the case throughout the entire weekend.

Opening with an explosive "5-1-5-0" in Charlotte, May 9, one by one the band emerged from below "The Wave Wall" a huge video and lighting apparatus brought in special for the Riser Tour.  Dierks asked the crowd, "Y'all ready to lose your minds?"

By now you've seen the video for Drunk On A Plane, but we got a sneak preview during the opening weekend.  Dierks decided to play and sang, "we're getting drunk on a 'snake' plane."

He and the guys 'gave it all they've got to give' with Up On The Ridge, that melded into One Republic's "Counting Stars" and Avicii's "Hey Brother" all the while Dierks and band made their way out to the stage way out by the lawn seats (make their day).

Closing with Home, Dierks told the crowd:  "Let me tell you something Charlotte, if home is the place that you come from and this is the first day of our headlining tour, then this is our home. Thank you guys for making us feel welcome--it's awesome!"

Then, Dierks gave a red guitar to a birthday girl in the audience.  Talk about making her day!

Of course we might be biased, being hard core Dierks fans, many of us for ten plus years. But there's a reason we 'hold on.' Actually there are many reasons.

Dierks is always present. It's more than just showing up. When he's with you, he truly is with you. Even if just for a few seconds, a few minutes in a meet and greet, (or street and greet), he looks you in the eye and isn't distracted by his watch (doesn't wear one), or others around. No. You're the only one for that short time. It's like talking with a friend.

He's the same way on stage. He doesn't just stand in one place and look out into space.  He walks, runs, jumps, sits and sometimes lays on every square inch of the stage, cat walk and new to the Riser Tour--second stage.  He makes eye contact with individuals in the crowd.  He's present with that person for those few seconds--and it makes them feel special.

Charlotte - I Hold On Intro
"I went to my first country concert when I was 13 and when I was 19 I drove across the country in a 1994 Chevy truck with my dad we drove from Phoenix, AZ to Nashville TN to start this dream right here--its' only taken 20 years...I still drive that same truck....I don't want a new guitar...I hold on to things that I love and there's nothing more that I love than my fans... you guys... thank you for giving us this chance.  I'm holding on to you guys...and I'm never letting go!"

A few minutes before the Raleigh show, Dierks sent us a message on Twitter and made our day!

Photo Credit: Stephanie Lanham. Chris Stapleton, Chase Rice, Chris Young,
Dierks Bentley in Raleigh, NC, May 10, 2014, Riser Tour Opening Weekend
In Raleigh, Dierks got very emotional before singing Every Mile A Memory and that emotion carried in his voice throughout the night.  He's a Riser and he powered through.

After the Ridge/Counting Stars/Hey Brother medley, Dierks segued into Settle For A Slowdown and Come a Little Closer, as he made his way back to the stage via a little crowd surfing.  Some lady got a little out of hand with the touching to which Dierks responded when he was back on the main stage to sing the third verse.  "Oh, I almost got stripped down out there!"

The most electrifying segment of the evening unfolded when he launched into What Was I Thinking, pulling up nearly every little white tank top wearing girl he could find onto the stage with him, including several DBC reps!

Raleigh - What Was I Thinkin/Sideways, Little White Tanks Tops On The Stage and Dierks Does a Stage Dive

Since this is the Riser Tour, Dierks sang four songs from the album - Drunk On A Plane, Bourbon In Kentucky, I Hold On and Riser.  We were hoping for more, like Sounds of Summer, Say You Do, Pretty Girls, or Five. With Chris Stapleton opening the Raleigh show, there might have been a chance for Hurt Somebody since he sings background vocals on the record, but disappointingly it wasn't added.

Riser was one of the highlights of both nights, with the visual affects subtly and progressively enhancing the emotion in his vocal.

Photo Credit: Takara.  Dierks Bentley singing Riser
May 10, 2014, Raleigh, NC, Riser Tour
The set list was the same both nights, but the experience was totally different.

Photo Credit: Takara.  Steve Misamore, Cassady Feasby, Brian Layson, Dierks,
Tim Sergent, Dan Hochhalter; May 9, 2014, Charlotte, NC Final Bow, Riser Tour

Still on our Dierks high, sadly, we said goodbye to our DB Congress friends and while some stayed in their home state of NC, others traveled back to Missouri, Florida, South Carolina, Indiana, Georgia, and Tennessee.  But not before talk of our next DRT!

Thank you Dierks, Cassady, Tim, Steve, Dan and Brian, Chris, Tom, Mel, Jay and Pugs for a being playful and present.  You made our weekend one wildly memorable opening Riser Tour!  We are proud fans for life!