THE GREAT ESCAPE
After juggling schedules, arranging babysitters, and traveling hundreds of miles, my friends and I descended upon Roanoke, VA along with thousands of others to “Escape Together” with Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley May 29th at the Roanoke Civic Center. We’d been looking forward to this night out for months and it had finally arrived!
As a member of Dierks Bentley’s Fan Club I applied for and won a meet and greet with him. It was scheduled for 6:30 p.m. – the moment the doors opened. Security graciously allowed all fan club members to enter early then led us to a hallway where we waited for admittance into a room to meet Dierks. When we entered, Dierks greeted us then took time with each individual, speaking directly to them. I had prepared a small gift bag which included coffee for Dierks and some cute little socks for his daughter, Evie. Dierks was like a big kid and said, “Ooohhh – what’s in the bag???” He proceeded to open it, took a deep whiff of the coffee, asked where it was from (my hometown), then held it out for his tour manager to smell and declared it “awesome!” He also thanked me for the socks saying they were perfect.
After meeting each individual and getting a group photo Dierks gave us time to ask a few questions. Someone asked what was on that CD he gave George Strait on the ACM TV Special. He said they just wanted him to give George a blank CD as a prop but Dierks actually gave George a song he had written. He said George told him that he’d put it with all the other songs he gets everyday. Dierks shook his head, laughed and said, “I can’t believe he said that to me! But then only George can say that and get away with it.”
Someone else asked what his next single would be from his new album and Dierks replied, “We’re gonna play it tonight – “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes.”” Everyone nodded their approval. Then Dierks said he needed to get going so the concert could start on time. He hugged the ladies goodbye and shook hands with the guys. We left the room convinced that Dierks Bentley is one of the nicest country artists in the business.
True to his word Dierks started the show at 7:30 p.m. sharp. He was a fireball on stage, running from side to side, jumping up on monitors or the drum stand, absorbing the energy from the crowd and giving it back again. “Sideways,” “How Am I Doin?” and “Free & Easy,” were highly energetic songs. He and the band did a wonderful bluegrass rendition of “Come A Little Closer.” He pulled a fan onto the stage to watch a video with him. They laid down and donned 3-D glasses at the beginning of “What Was I Thinkin’?” then Dierks jumped up and sang the song live. He frequently interacted with fans that were closest to him, giving “high-fives” and chatting them up. It was a great opening for the main attraction.
The lights went down, a smoky mist filled the stage as Keith Urban strolled to the center mic and began his set appropriately with song “Hit the Ground Runnin’.” In total it was a non-stop, fast paced, rollercoaster thrill ride. The audience sang along with many familiar hits like “Days Go By,” “Where the Blacktop Ends,” “Sweet Thing,” “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me,” “Kiss A Girl,” and “Somebody Like You,” just to name a few. Keith performed a total of 20 songs not to mention the times he stepped back and gave his band members (Brad Rice, Chris Rodriguez, Brian Nutter and Jerry Flowers) an opportunity to shine with solos of their own. Then there was the duet with Dierks – “Take It To the Limit” – which was absolutely priceless! (Many thanks to Kristen for the video) Dierks had the words to the song written on his arm. Mid-verse Keith spied them and held up Dierks’ arm for all to see the evidence. Dierks claimed he just wanted to be like Keith with a tattoo on his arm. Later during the song when Chris Rodriguez was playing a guitar solo Dierks showed Chris his arm insisting he also had chords on there for Chris’ benefit. It was hilarious and we were all rolling with laughter then singing at the top of our lungs when it was our turn to join in.
During the concert Keith ventured out into the crowd twice. Utilizing the catwalk ramps he walked back to the rear stage for “Once in a Lifetime,” and “Making Memories of Us” then returned to the main stage. Next he walked out and up into the stands as he played “You Look Good in My Shirt.”
The center catwalk served as a wonderful spot for “You’ll Think of Me,” and “Raining On Sunday.” The special effects were phenomenal for my new favorite “Til Summer Comes Around” where Keith does an amazing guitar riff.
I have to mention the incredible screens and lighting here. Those 5 huge screens are very mobile. As they swivel on tracks they can be directly behind Keith and the band reflecting footage from the film crew or recorded images, they can also swing up at an angle or even hang directly above them like a ceiling, creating swirling effects and mysterious moods. It’s quite a sight to behold. I was on sensory overload!
This truly was a great escape for my friends and me. It ranks up there as one of the best concerts I’ve seen in a long time. I’m looking forward with much anticipation to my next “escapade” in August when Keith is joined by Sugarland.
Keith Urban - Dierks Bently Take It To The Limit