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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Luke Bryan Headlines First Major MA Show

Courtesy+of+Schmidt+Relations%0A

Courtesy of Schmidt Relations

Luke Bryan is country. In some ways he’s almost too country. With lyrics about hunting, partying, working hard, and even about how rain is a good thing, the man is a living, breathing, personification of the southland — and one of the fastest rising stars in country music.
The 2013 ACM Entertainer of the Year has been diligently touring the nation for some time as an opening act for the likes of Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean, but it became apparent last year that Bryan’s days as a supporting act were coming to a close. This summer he’s getting his chance to headline. The “Dirt Road Diaries” tour is Bryan’s first chance to close out venues, and he’s taking advantage with sellouts across the country, including one on June 2 at the Comcast Center.
Bryan’s rise began with the release of his platinum album “Tailgates and Tanlines” in 2011. All four singles from that release reached number one, catapulting Bryan to country super-stardom. He also recently scored a number one hit with his new single “Crash My Party.”It seems like at the present moment, Bryan can do no wrong.
He certainly didn’t do anything wrong over the course of his 17-song headlining set a the Comcast Center. He drew on all three of his studio albums, as well as some of his “Spring Break” EPs. He even brought out some pretty great covers of “Baby Got Back” and Maroon 5’s hit “One More Night.”
Bryan has a larger-than-life persona when he’s on stage. Think of him as a younger Kenny Chesney. His antics over the course of the evening included lying down on stage to snap photos with fans, drinking from a jug of moonshine that he pulled out of a piano, and throwing a full solo cup around 25 rows deep into the audience, letting whatever he was drinking (pretty sure it was whiskey) shower the crowd.
Bryan’s energy was infectious. The crowd was unusually lively for a country show. If they knew the words they were belting them out, and if they didn’t they were dancing up a storm. All 20,000 concertgoers went wild and stood up when Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” played over the speakers. Bryan wasn’t even onstage yet.
“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” the first song of the night, was among Bryan’s best. After that, he did a masterful job of mixing ballads with tangible emotion with high signature octane party tracks. “Country Man,” one of Bryan’s earliest hits, and perhaps his most lyrically out there (“I can hot wire a tractor and plow up your land.”) was an early highlight, as was “Muckalee Creek Water” and “If You Ain’t Here to Party.”
Bryan shines best on his ballads. “Dirt Road Diaries” and “Do I” were two of his best songs of the night. Bryan has an intense, passionate delivery that conveys the meaning his lyrics have, considering he writes many of his own songs. It makes for a very convincing performance.
The end of the main set was strong, with Bryan doing a full version of Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know,” followed up by the mega hit “Drunk On You,” which received the loudest ovation of the show. Next, he performed a loud, fun rendition of “All My Friends Say,” featuring snippets of ACDC’s “Hell’s Bells,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” and tons of smoke.
A memorable moment of the show was the last song: “Country Girl (Shake It For Me).” While he had success before its release, “Country Girl” was Bryan’s first massive hit, and with its fast pace and driving beat, this song was the perfect way to close out the night. Bryan (wearing a “Boston Strong” T-shirt) belted out the song with intensity. When the guitar solo started, smoke shot up all around the stage, drawing the loudest single cheer all night from the ravenous, sellout crowd.
Luke Bryan might be new to this whole headlining thing, but he’s a pro when it comes to delivering a great performance. Entertaining can be a lost art in country music but Bryan makes sure to connect with everyone in his crowd and convey his songs’ intentions to them. Couple that with precise vocals, a talented band, and songs that make you want to belt them out, and you have a strong cocktail of a great act — just not as strong as whatever Bryan was sipping.