Posts Tagged ‘Dierks Bentley’

[Review / photos] Dierks Bentley at Les Schwab Amphitheater

Friday, August 12th, 2011

My plan for this space was to write an extensive review of country star Dierks Bentley’s concert Wednesday at Les Schwab Amphitheater. But circumstances have conspired against me, not the least of which is a general ambivalence about the show. So here are a few brief thoughts, and then I’ll get out of the way so you can see a ton of terrific photos of Bentley and his adoring fans that were taken by The Bulletin’s Pete Erickson.

–Like a lot of country’s biggest stars, Bentley knows how to work a crowd. He talked about riding Phil’s Trail and slipped in a reference to JC’s Bar. He told the audience Central Oregon’s High Desert reminds him of home in Arizona. He said he’s stood on a lot of stages, but not many with a more beautiful view than the Schwab’s. He invited the audience onto his tour bus. He got screams of delight every time he mentioned beer. He was a puppet master on stage, essentially conducting the crowd with pointed fingers and pumped fists and hands cupped around his ears.

–Bentley did all his big hits. The lovey-dovey ones (“Feel That Fire,” “Every Mile a Memory,” “Come a Little Closer,” “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes”) and the party / drinkin’ ones (“Sideways,” “Am I the Only One”) and the travelin’ / ramblin’ ones (“Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do”). He closed with his breakthrough hit “What Was I Thinkin’” and skipped an encore (bravo, Dierks!), instead ending the show by huddling with his band and then bowing as a group while Dropkick Murphys’ “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” blared over the loudspeakers. It was as odd an ending as you’ll ever see at the Schwab.

The highlight of the night was “Long Trip Alone,” a song with a beautiful, easy melody that Bentley dedicated to the American military. The timing was just right, too. Any time you pair a pretty song with a Cascades sunset, you’re going to make some memories.

–When they were plugged in, Bentley’s band was anything but country. They were essentially a hard rock band with a banjo plugging away in the background. Which was fine, but it wasn’t very country. Country these days comes in the artists’ look and lyrical themes. And country these days is mostly about pop-rock hooks. Country is where the arena-rock riffs of yesteryear live in the 21st century.

–That said, Bentley was in fine voice: deep, and creakier than on his records, which was welcome.

–My biggest beef with the show was that bluegrass — a major influence on Bentley (he says) and the basis of his 2010 album “Up On the Ridge” — was given such an obligatory treatment. Mid-show, the band brought out the upright bass, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, but rather than rip through two or three or four songs from “Ridge,” they aimed straight for the lowest common denominator. They did the title track (and single) from that record, then used a “late-night jam session on the bus” construct to do a medley of familiar tunes, bluegrass-style: the “Dukes of Hazzard” theme, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell,” Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” And then a cover of U2′s “Pride (in the Name of Love)” that was on the “Ridge” album.

People seemed to dig it — the “Dukes” theme, Billy Idol and Bon Jovi tickled their nostalgia bones, no doubt — but it turned me off. In fact, I thought it bordered on disrespectful to a style of music that Bentley claims to hold dear to his heart (and I believe him). Think about it: Rather than showcase their chops and the genre they love by actually playing bluegrass songs, it was as if the band feared losing the audience by playing bluegrass, so it chose to do its most accessible original, one serious cover and a bunch of half-jokey songs before scurrying back to the party country folks came to hear.

That’s not honoring bluegrass music. That’s just kind of weak. And I truly believe Dierks Bentley is better than that.

Alright, enough blabbering. Check out Pete’s awesome photos.

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Central Oregon’s Week of Awesome Music, Part 3: Dierks Bentley, John Shipe

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

This week features a ridiculous number of opportunities to catch quality live music in Central Oregon, so I’m highlighting some of the best options for each night. But remember, you can always find lots more at The Bulletin’s online event calendar.

Tonight brings the biggest country act of the summer, Dierks Bentley, to Les Schwab Amphitheater. Showtime’s at 6:30 p.m., and there are still tickets available at the box office outside the gate. Read my interview with Bentley by clicking here.

If a Dierks ticket is too rich for your blood, go check out the fine songwriter John Shipe and his trio at McMenamins. That one’s at 7 p.m. and it’s free.

Coming tomorrow: Shemekia Copeland …

This week in GO! Magazine’s music section

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Ridiculous amount of live music in Central Oregon this week. No no no … make that … RIDONKULOUS. (I just made that word up. If you think you have heard it before that was probably a dream.)

Anyway, here goes:

REO Speedwagon (tonight) and Joan Jett (Saturday) play the Deschutes County Fair.

Click each of these to read all about ‘em and get the details on the show:
-Dierks Bentley twangs up Les Schwab Amphitheater
-The Shins go cozy at the Domino Room
-Rising queen of blues Shemekia Copeland wraps up Munch & Music
-Rising queen of roots-rock Eilen Jewell’s plays Sisters Art Works
-Seattle-based symphonic-pop trio The Thoughts will mellow out The Horned Hand
-Local DJ/producer Brad Jones celebrates his first CD under the name KEEZ

Not enough, right? Right! Elsewhere in the music section: OK Sweetheart at Madhappy, Euforquestra at McMenamins, Jelly Bread at Silver Moon, John Shipe Trio at McMenamins, David Jacobs-Strain at Angeline’s and the Sagebrush Rock Festival in Christmas Valley.

Les Schwab Amphitheater announces three more shows

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Three more shows have been added to the summer lineup for Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater.

–Bluegrass superstars Alison Krauss & Union Station return July 9 in support of their new album “Paper Airplane.” Ticket prices range from $39 to $62 (plus fees).

–Portland’s cosmopolitan mini-orchestra Pink Martini is set to play the Schwab on July 23. Tickets cost $33 (general) and $63 (reserved), plus fees.

–Finally, on Aug. 10, country star Dierks Bentleythe man behind one of my 25 favorite albums of last year — will make his first appearance in Bend. Tickets cost $37 (general) and $59 (reserved), plus fees.

Tickets for all three shows will go on sale to the general public on Friday at The Ticket Mill (541-318-5457) in The Old Mill District and at www.bendconcerts.com. Folks who know the secret password (psst … it’s “rockchucks”) can take advantage of a special presale on Thursday.