I was looking especially forward to this luncheon knowing Dierks Bentley was to perform. So like everyone else, I hurried along to the tables up front and as close to the stage as I could get. I was pleasantly surprised several times throughout the two hours of this event. The first surprise was getting so close to the stage. I had a great spot for taking pictures.
The room was actually just a curtained off section of the huge convention center. It was very elegantly decorated with the luncheon tables and center pieces. Having such incredible food served at the prior two lunches I anxiously awaited to see what was on the menu for that day. Discovering we were being served vegetable lasagna I hesitantly took a small portion of lasagna, garlic bread, and salad and returned to my seat. But like everything else associated with this seminar its participants are treated first class all the way including the menu and today's was no exception. It was absolutely delicious.
The next surprise was the reaction from the crowd being shown the world premier of Keith Urban's new video for "Tonight I Wanna Cry." Although it was only a video being shown, the crowd applauded loudly at the end for yet another very promising release from Urban's third solo release, Be Here.
Up first was a newcomer named Eric Church. Eric took the stage with a song that demanded your attention right off the bat with the first few notes hitting hard and fast and lyrics that stated, "I believe that gas is too damn high." His next song, "Sinners Like Me" was equally as impressive, but "How 'Bout You," which is the first single to be released was a show stealer. Eric and his band reminded me of a modern day Waylon Jennings. His sound is a little outlawish country rock with roots firmly planted in a country sound. His last song was one he wrote after watching the movie, "The Green Mile." Just Eric and his guitar, "Lightning" was performed with great passion telling the story of a sorrowful death row inmate who was about to ride the lighting. Eric was a wonderful surprise for me. Although he is unheard of now, it won't be long till everyone is talking about this guy. Look for his first CD to be released in July.
After a very brief intermission, Dierks Bentley took the stage and started his set off with "Lot of Leavin' Left To Do" from his current CD, Modern Day Drifter. Performing even more cuts from the same CD, he continued on giving us some fantastic performances of "Cab of My Truck," and his current single "Settle For a Slowdown." Stating that although it was kinda early in the day, he walked back to his own beer tap at the rear of the stage, poured two beers, one for himself and one for a lady near the front that had been singing every word to every song he had sang, made a toast and went right into "Domestic, Light and Cold." The crowd loved him and it set up a partying mood for everyone for the rest of his show. Dierks is really coming into his own now and I really enjoyed seeing him work the crowd that afternoon. He loves what he does and it really shows.