Luke Bryan brought his Dirt Road Diaries tour to the KFC Yum! Arena in Louisville Friday night, and one thing was very apparent from the beginning of his 90-minute set -- the Capitol Nashville recording artist's time is now.
With a half-decade of hit records under his belt since his debut disc, "I'll Stay Me," was released in 2007, Bryan has the hit records in his corner. That's a given. But, if you've never seen him live, the first thing that will hit you is the energy. Aside from a brief portion of the show where Bryan slowed the tempo down just a little bit with songs including "Do I," he -- to borrow from one of his biggest hits -- was 'shaking' it for the fans all night long. And, the crowd seemed to approve loudly of every gyration and every move. Charisma is definitely a word you could use to describe his bond with an audience.
As previously stated, with a resume of hit singles that Bryan sports, he delivered those throughout the night, as well. Starting the evening with his recent smash "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," he kept fans singing along throughout with such past hits as "Country Man," "Rain Is A Good Thing," and "Someone Else Calling You Baby."
But, he saved the two biggest crowd pleasers for last, encoring with the one-two punch of "I Don't Want This Night To End" and "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)." On both songs, the crowd became as much a part of the show as the tunes themselves, with fans across the venue raising their hands during the former, and 'shaken' it (some better than others) in the latter. Bryan is definitely in the moment – and loving every second of it.
Opening the show was Republic Nashville's Florida Georgia Line, who impressed the youthful crowd with cuts from their rollicking debut disc. Their recent chart-topper "Cruise" elicited quite a few screams from the fans.
Playing in the middle slot was Stoney Creek's Thompson Square -- but I have a feeling not for long. The husband-wife duo of Keifer and Shawna Thompson gave attendees a razor-sharp set that dazzled with such favorites as "I Got You" and their No. 1 "Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not?" In one of those moments that was not scripted, the crowd sang the first verse to the couple, which was quite the emotional moment. They also spotlighted their current single "If I Didn't Have You," which looks to be on the fast route to the apex of the charts as well. It currently resides at No. 23 on Hot Country Songs after 16 weeks.
The Dirt Road Diaries tour is booked throughout October, and looks to be one of the hottest country-related tickets around this year. Might the success of this show lead to some 'Entertainer of the Year' nominations for Bryan? Bet on it.