A sold out cowboy-rowdy crowd stepped out and kicked it up in their best western finery for a night with Dierks Bentley Sunday at Pechanga Resort & Casino.
From the moment the country music megastar stormed the stage with a rockin’ rif off of his new “Country & Cold Cans” EP, it was on.
Dressed in worn jeans, a denim shirt that was eventually shed in favor of his signature white T-shirt, a snap-back cap and just enough scruff to drive the little ladies wild, Bentley strummed his way through a high-energy set that included such tunes as “Feel Like Fire,” “Sideways,” “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do,” and “Am I the Only One.”
Throughout the show, the audience stood and cheered, held their drinks aloft and sang along.
Bentley responded with a personable stage presence that had him hopping with the beat, sweeping across the stage and reaching into the audience to high-five fans.
Among the highlights was the super-charged “5-1-5-0,” a second recently-released “Country & Cold Cans” anthem and the pulsing, bluegrass-inspired “Up on the Ridge” that showcased Bentley’s common theme of seizing the moment.
Segueing from the powerful to the poignant, Bentley slowed the pace with “The Woods” and later with his ballad “Come a Little Closer” that had the audience swaying in the aisles.
Another moment had a spotlighted Bentley performing “My Last Name” with just his acoustic guitar, noting the pride he feels as the son and grandson of U.S. Army veterans.
The quiet laid bare Bentley’s deep, rich vocals that never wavered in sound, strength or pitch throughout the night.
Bentley admitted to the crowd that the evening’s performance at Pechanga Resort & Casino’s Showroom Theater was a special one for him, having seen Billy Idol — one of his favorite artists — perform there nearly two years ago.
“I wanted to have my name on the same (marquee) that (Idol) did,” Bentley said of his excitement to bring his show to the popular local venue.
The 45-minute set wrapped up swiftly, then moved into a three-song encore that delivered the much-awaited hit “What Was I Thinkin.”
It was a curtain call that did not disappoint, with Bentley and his band tossing stage mementos into the crowd and grasping the out-stretched hands that reached for a touch — no matter how brief.
To learn more about upcoming performances at Pechanga Resort & Casino, visit www.pechanga.com.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.