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Country Fans Shake It As Luke Bryan Dazzles BJC

Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan brought an upbeat show to the Bryce Jordan Center as a great start to Blue-White Weekend along with notable opening acts Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town. Bryan’s “Kill the Lights Tour” was a spectacle to behold with fantastic music, a lively crowd, and enthusiastic entertainers.

After entering the country music scene in 2014 with his lead hit “Where It’s At,” Dustin Lynch serenaded the crowd with other singles from his album “Where It’s At.” Even though Lynch is considered to be in the infancy of his fame with time with country music, he proved that he belongs with the best with his stellar vocals and crowd interaction. Most concerts I’ve been to in the BJC are very standard with the performer singing their songs on the stage without much movement, but Lynch broke the mold to this trend. Taking pictures with fans while singing on stage, emphatically jumping around, and even taking one lucky fan’s phone and singing into it showed his natural passion for performing. Lynch had the crows singing along with his second single “Where It’s At”, “Cowboys and Angels,” and his new hit “Mind Reader.”

For any true country music fan, arguably one of the best performances of the night comes from storied quartet Little Big Town. For me, this was one of the best vocal performances of the night. The “Pontoon” singers also performed their notable hits throughout the years, starting off with Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and classic favorite “Little White Church.”

As their performance of hits from the album “Painkiller” continued, I found myself captivated by the group’s vocals. I’ve always been a fan of Little Big Town, but if my voice this morning was any indication of how big my fandom is, then let’s just say it’s a good thing I’m typing instead of verbally reviewing the tour. Hits like “Tornado,” “Day Drinking,” and “Sober,” paled in comparison to the stunning vocal performance of Karen Fairchild in “Girl Crush.” Popularized in the past year, “Girl Crush” was clearly the crowd favorite, and for good reason. I could see Little Big Town headlining their own tour, as their fun personalities emanated from the stage.

As the lights dimmed and the crowd became anxious, Luke Bryan finally kicked off his “Kill The Lights Tour” with fan favorite “Rain Is a Good Thing.” Bryan brought his antics to the stage with contagious energy and the usual (and lady-fan favorite) hip skaking. Working the stage, Bryan pulled the crowd in with not only popular songs, but also his unparalleled stage presence. CMA Entertainer of Year was well-deserved after this performance.

Bryan’s set list took the crowd back in time rather than showcasing the latter fame-studded period of his career. With the majority of songs from “Tailgates and Tanlines” and “Crash My Party,” true country music fans reveled in basicity of the strumming of a acoustic guitar and the well and meaningful lyrics of past albums. “Drunk on You” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” got the crowd rambunctious with past favorites, but more upbeat songs like “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” and “Kick the Dust Up” brought noise to an all-time high.

In the middle of his set, Bryan paid homage to lost friend in “Drink a Beer.” Lights dimmed and crowd singing along, the BJC dazzled under the amount of cell phone flashlights turned on. After thanking the crowd for making “Drink a Beer” one of his first big hits, Bryan brought Little Big Town back on stage for a remix of “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye. Dustin Lynch also returned to throw some beers to the crowd and perform a duet with Bryan to Brooks and Dunn classic, “Play Something Country.”

Ultimately, this tour proved why Bryan is lauded as a stellar performer. With incredible vocals and an even better performance, the show was a country music spectacle to behold. For any non-believer who thought country music artists couldn’t sing or weren’t entertaining, this concert surely proved this untrue.

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About the Author

Drew Klingenberg

As well as being a staff writer for Onward State, Drew is a self-proclaimed Pittsburgh expert and traveling enthusiast. When he is not hiking some strange yet secluded area of the United States, you can see him either standing entirely too long in the State College Chipotle line, or at the gym acting like he's doing something productive. If you appreciate sub-par humor or overly-saturated photography, follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@dmklingenberg). For inquiries please email Drew at [email protected]

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