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Bentley makes Thursday feel like Saturday

Honda Center, Anaheim, Cal., August 24, 2017

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Dierks Bentley performed in casual attire of jeans and a t-shirt during his stop on the "What the Hell World Tour 2017," which may have been one visual way of saying, 'What the hell.' However, Bentley is not nearly as casual as he may seem, though, when it comes to creating music. His most recent album, "Black," which is where the tour moniker comes from, includes some of Bentley's most sophisticated music to date.

It was his song of steadfast commitment, "I Hold On," which hit hardest tonight. Whether it be an old truck or guitar with sentimental value, or his spiritual ideals, this song expressed Bentley's admirable stubbornness. Bentley also saved two of his most serious songs, "Riser" and "Home," for his acoustic back-of-the-auditorium stage performance.

In contrast to these serious moments, though, Bentley's set was top heavy with far lighter fare. In support of the chorus to "Am I the Only One," Bentley performed a lot of his party songs - including the all-hands-on-deck closer of "Drunk on a Plane." In fact, his last four songs were all easy on the psyche, a list that also included "Somewhere on a Beach," "What Was I Thinkin'" and "Sideways."

A few of the better moments in his set included duets with the two concert openers. He sang George Strait's "Troubadour" with Jon Pardi, and Cole Swindell's hit "Flatliner" with the fellow hit maker.

Pardi opened the show with a short set of stand-up country songs. His recent hits, such as "Head Over Boots" and "Dirt on My Boots," cast him as a worthy successor to King George Strait's throne, as he has a sincere, nice guy persona similar to Strait. Swindell followed with a hit-filled set, and it's easy to imagine seeing him headlining such large venues in the not too distant future.

With all the quality party songs, Bentley made this Thursday evening feel a whole lot like a Saturday night.