Hollywood Bowl was final stop of tour
It’s an overcast night in Hollywood and the scene is set for a rowdy country concert at the Hollywood Bowl! Four acts are on the bill… Dierks’ country 90’s cover band, Hot Country Knights, LANCO, Brothers Osborne and Dierks Bentley… as himself. It’s the final night of The Mountain High Tour that kicked off in May and the fans came to rock. It was my first time at the Bowl and I, too, was ready to hear how the acoustics rang in this iconic place.
Dierks’ Hot Country Knights come on stage while there’s still daylight rocked to some of country’s most memorable 90’s songs… “Be My Baby Tonight” by John Michael Montgomery, “Some Girls Do” by Sawyer Brown and “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson, just to name a few. Bentley, John Osborne of Brothers Osborne and his band came dressed like an 80’s rock stars complete with wigs, and damn near unrecognizable. They looked like a bunch of misfits running around and pushing each other on stage, but it was all in good fun and quite an entertaining throwback to the good ole days of country music.
After a short break, LANCO took the stage performing “Troublemaker” during a nearly 30 minute set. Fans were getting warmed up as they screamed and sang along. They received the loudest cheers when frontman Brandon Lancaster shuffled through the crowd to see fans throughout the Bowl. They wrapped with their No. 1 “Greatest Love Story” with Lancaster thanking California for making it “your song.”
Brothers Osborne rocked their set from the very beginning. Opening with “Shoot Me Straight,” the guys began jamming and got the crowd excited. Their southern rock sound and “jam band” qualities remind of me Lynyrd Skynyrd. They would play all night if they could and often extended songs so guitarist John Osborne could wail away. And wail away he did. John is a helluva guitarist and TJ is the voice. Their pure and raw sound makes me like them more than I already did.
The guys also performed their top hits, “21 Summer” and “Stay A Little Longer” which got the biggest screams of the set. They also played songs from their new album, Port St. Joe, in which TJ wondered if Hurricane Michael had destroyed the house they recorded the project in Port St. Joe, Florida. “Ain’t My Fault” was the closing number and the crowd was on their feet and singing along the entire song.
By the time Dierks Bentley took the stage, the crowd was ready to go. Fans had a drink in one hand and a phone in the other when Bentley took the stage to a portion of “The Mountain” before blazing into “I Hold On” and “Free And Easy.” He kept the crowd going with the sing-along “Somewhere On A Beach” before slowing it down for “Woman, Amen” and “Black.”
“The Hollywood Bowl is like a church. It reminds me of the Ryman [Auditorium in Nashville], Red Rocks in Colorado, but it stands on its own. This is the Hollywood Bowl and we are so honored to play here tonight,” Bentley reflected on stage.
“To end the tour, the last show of the year to be our first time ever playing the Hollywood Bowl. It’s definitely worthy of a drink,” he concludes with holding a drink up to massive cheers.
He invited Brothers Osborne back on stage to perform “Burning Man” from his latest album, The Mountain. Once again, John Osborne shined with his guitar skills and TJ traded vocals and ran around the stage and it’s all encompassing cat walk with Bentley.
In between Bentley’s many hits, he kept the throwback to 90’s country alive with help from his band and tour mates. During Bentley’s “Up On The Ridge,” he invited his bassist to sing Montgomery Gentry’s debut hit “Hillbilly Shoes,” a likely ode to Troy Gentry’s untimely passing last year. During his hit, “5-1-5-0,” he invited Lancaster back out who broke in a sing-along of John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)” before finishing “5-1-5-0” and making his way through the crowd.
Bentley performed “Come A Little Closer” and “Say You Do” on a satellite stage in the audience. He joked about Brothers Osborne being on standby in case he fell off the riser. He shook hands with fans and danced with an usher on his way back through the crowd.
However, the biggest surprise of the night was Dwight Yoakam making an unannounced appearance. Bentley joked about having Yoakam help him sing saying, “He isn’t here,” before he walked on stage with his guitar in tow to a raucous applause. The pair sang “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” before inviting the rest of the crew on stage to join them for a fun version of “Fast As You.”
The main set ended with “What Was I Thinking” and “Sideways” before a brief comedic video about the fake Dude Airlines played so the stage could be set for “Drunk On A Plane.” Bentley performed the song dressed as a pilot with much of it performed “mid air” as a mock plane was created by the staging trusses. As expected, fans sang along to every word as he and the band remained on stage longer as the house lights turned on.
It’s a wonder Bentley has never been nominated for Entertainer of the Year because I’m sure he’d win. He was all over the place and wooed the crowd from open to close. There were some laugh out loud moments (fans who attend night after night calling “me out on my bullshit”) and there were somber moments that surely brought tears to some eyes (“Riser” being dedicated to those who have to continue without loved ones). Bentley is pure energy with sure fire star power!