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ACM Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan fills Intrust Bank Arena with young country-music fans

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Sep. 12, 2013, at 10:30 p.m.
  • Updated Friday, Sep. 13, 2013, at 3:14 p.m.

Country star Luke Bryan brought his “Dirt Road Diaries” tour to Intrust Bank Arena on Thursday, attracting a sold-out crowd of 12,000 fans, most donning the young country dress code: short dresses and cowgirl boots for the ladies, fitted plaid button-ups and baseball caps for the men.

The singer, whose star power increased significantly after he memorably and tearfully took “Entertainer of the Year” award away from Taylor Swift and Jason Aldean at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, performed his long list of hits and some of his new songs from his just-released album, “Crash My Party.”

Bryan also delivered plenty of his signature “Magic Mike” hip action, eliciting squeals at a decibel not heard in Wichita since Swift passed through in August.

He took the stage accompanied by a laser-light show, appearing first in silhouette. When the lights came up, Bryan was wearing tight jeans, a blue cotton T-shirt and a ball cap turned backward.

The show began with some of his older hits – “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” from “Tailgates & Tanlines,” and “Country Man” from his debut album “I’ll Stay Me.”

The show was as loud as a rock show and resembled one at times, especially when Bryan’s electric guitar player traveled downstage and let loose.

Sometimes, the show was a little pop, too. Highlights of the concert were Bryan’s covers of Maroon Five’s “One More Night,” which he performed with the assistance of opening act Florida Georgia Line, and a cover of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” which he sang with both Florida Georgia Line and his other opening act, husband-and-wife vocal duo Thompson Square.

But it was clearly still a country show, evidenced by Bryan’s lyrical preoccupations: catfish, moonshine, beer, dirt roads, parties in fields, parties on beaches and pretty girls. He also really, really likes to sing about tan lines.

Early in the show, a couple of Bryan’s roadies dragged a beer cooler to the end of the stage, which Bryan hopped on top of to sing “Suntan City.” Throughout the song, he’d open the cooler and toss cans out to audience members. During the same song, he grabbed the cellphones of fans near the stage and dropped flat on his back, taking cellphone “selfies” of himself and the phone owners.

Among the other hits Bryan included in his set: “If You Ain’t Here to Party,” “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Drunk on You” and “Too Damn Young.”

He saved his most popular hit – and his most enthusiastic hip gyrations – for his encore, performing “Country Girl Shake it for Me.”

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