Dierks Bentley brought his Burning Man tour to Nashville on Friday night (Feb. 22), and the Music City show delivered several VIP surprises.
Unexpected collaborations with Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert as well as Thomas Rhett and Mark Miller from Sawyer Brown kept the audience at Bridgestone Arena on its feet for the majority of his set, and Bentley’s energy never wavered.
Lambert made her first appearance on stage since announcing her marriage to Brendan McLoughlin, and Bentley introduced the singer after a stirring performance of “The Mountain” with reigning CMA entertainer of the year Urban. The headliner explained that he bumped into Lambert and her new husband in Nashville a few days earlier while on a walk with his wife, Cassidy.
“This is a crazy town, it really is,” Bentley said. “I love this town because no matter where you are, you never know who you’re going to bump into. Cass and I were going for a walk the other day and I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen in a little while.”
He continued, “She was there with her husband, and I was like, ‘Man, how you guys doing?’ She goes, ‘You’re playing in town Friday night?’ If you have a Friday night off as a singer, the last thing you probably want to do is come down to Bridgestone. And then she texted me this morning, she’s like, ‘I want to come down!’ She showed up. She’s here. Miranda Lambert just walked in the building.”
Screams erupted from the audience as Lambert walked out to join Bentley and Urban. “We’re gonna sing some songs. We’re just gonna mess around,” Bentley said before the trio launched into a cover of Hank Williams‘ “Your Cheatin’ Heart.”
Lambert stood in the middle of Bentley and Urban, who both accompanied on acoustic guitar. The trio’s stunning harmonies impressed on Merle Haggard‘s “The Bottle Let Me Down” before they segued into Loretta Lynn‘s “Blue Kentucky Girl,” making for a true “only in Nashville” moment.
In awe of the impromptu collaboration himself, Bentley sat down on the stage in front of Lambert and Urban as they harmonized. Visibly appreciative of having a unique concert experience of his own, Bentley watched as the two singers belted the final verse and chorus of “Blue Kentucky Girl” on one microphone.
“Thank you guys so much. They’re going to take the rest of the show,” Bentley joked at the close of the song as he began to walk off stage. He wasn’t gone for too long before the band launched into the intro of Dixie Chicks‘ “Cowboy Take Me Away.”
As the song came to a close, Lambert was visibly proud of her singing partners. “I love it when boys sing girl songs,” she remarked before the trio ended their four-song set with a group hug.
Additional appearances from his children, including a duet with 10-year-old daughter Evie on “Travelin’ Light” and young son Knox, Rhett and Miller during the Hot Country Knights’ set, as well as openers Tenille Townes and Jon Pardi fleshed out the memorable evening. A night of surprises, heartfelt ballads and sing-along anthems, Bentley’s headlining show further cemented his future entertainer of the year status.