Luke Bryan performed in Bangor in 2012 and the girls are still talking about it. 2013′s performance will undoubtedly be of legendary status as well. Bryan thrills the crowd with his mix of traditional country elements, songs with clever lyrics spun to tell stories that only can be told by a country artist, and a big old country boy grin that makes hearts go, yes, I have to say it, boom, boom. This is happy, feel good music able to get the crowd grooving and always wanting more.
Starting his performance with a string of party style hits, Bryan had the crowd going immediately. They know what to expect – nonstop hits and fun – and Bryan obliges. While there is some gratuitous ass shaking, this is good natured fun for all and family friendly entertainment. Bryan connects with the crowd and makes each fan feel wanted and special. While this is pretty typical for country performers, Luke Bryan is especially generous with his smile and his attention, at one point sitting on the edge of the stage, feet dangling over the edge. No wonder this was a sold out show – he’s loved for both his music and his hospitality.
Bryan’s set list included hits “Someone Else is Calling You Baby,” “Suntan City,” and “Crash My Party,” but I must admit that the somewhat silly “Rain is a Good Thing” is my favorite Luke Bryan song. This song embodies the one thing that country lyrics must do well that other music styles can not compete against. The lyrics are built on a simple, fun hook that tells a simple story – “rain makes corn and corn makes whiskey. Whiskey makes my baby be a little frisky…” No, this isn’t Shakespeare. It is country. I was also very happy to see his line up include the bluesy redneck style anthem “Muckalee Creek Water,” s song about identity and tradition, and the stage fog and catfish story was a nice touch as well.
After slowing things down with a trio of songs, including the tour’s namesake, “Dirt Road Diaries,” Bryan brought the party back to the stage with “The Only Way I Know” and kept the throttle wide open straight through the encore and “Country Girl.”
This show was everything Bangor expects from a country show – great music, generous performers, and booming beer tent business. Thank you, Mr. Bryan and all the performers, for a rip roaring night.