Dierks Bentley’s Blast From The Past  

Words and Photos by Carmen Macri 


Dierks Bentley has ruled every country radio station since the early 2000s. So, unsurprisingly, his “Gravel and Gold” show at Daily’s Place was sold out.


Before his performance, I was thoroughly impressed by the two opening acts. Caylee Hammack and Jordan Davis. Hammack exuded a reminiscent aura of Dolly Parton, encompassing all the best qualities, including her powerhouse vocals and stunning voluminous hair. She had the whole arena on its feet.


Next up was the “Song of the Summer” artist Jordan Davis. The man knows how to write a catchy tune that makes you want to roll your windows down and sing along. His stage presence was that of a tipsy frat boy. Swinging his bottle of Casamigos while singing hit songs like “A Little Lime” and “Take It From Me.” He knew exactly how to captivate the crowd, closing his set with the song that got him to where he is now, “Buy Dirt.”


Now for the main act: Dierks Bentley. This was a true blast from the past as I remember growing up listening to his music with my dad. As we welcomed Dierks to the stage, he opened with the title track “Gold” from his newest album “Gravel & Gold.” As one would expect, the crowd roared with excitement. He flawlessly transitioned from a new track to one of his older bangers “Am I The Only One.” The moment was so electrifying that I couldn’t resist putting my camera down to join in the jumping and dancing along with the crowd.


His set featured a power medley of his newer tracks which blended seamlessly with the beloved staple songs that played a significant role in propelling Bentley to where he stands today. Unlike most concerts I have attended, he also had multiple costume changes. Yes. A male country artist had costume changes, and boy, were they something special. 


During his performance of “Drunk On A Plane,” Bentley took the stage by storm. He disappeared momentarily and returned donning a pilot’s outfit, clutching a full, red Solo cup (obviously). Stumbling around the stage, he sang passionately, “Buying drinks for everybody but the pilot, it’s a party.” Mid-song, he playfully removed the costume to reveal a bra taped in his side jacket pocket, adding a touch of hilarious spontaneity.


Toward the end of his set, Bentley and his band surprised the crowd with an unexpected encore. When they reappeared, they were decked out in all things ’90s, complete with mullets, Pit Vipers sunglasses, bright bomber jackets, even emerging from a ’90s Volkswagen van. They dubbed themselves “Hot Country Knights” and treated the audience to a nostalgia-filled journey through the early and late ’90s, covering hits like “I Like It, I Love It,” “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.” It was an epic blast from the past that had the entire crowd singing and dancing along.


But before I get ahead of myself, let’s backtrack to the middle of his set. When it was time for Bentley to perform his best track (in my opinion) “What Was I Thinking,” he welcomed back Davis to the stage. The two were sharing the infamous bottle of Casamigos Reposado while going verse for verse on stage, even playing what looked like a game of tag. The two looked like childhood friends and made the stage their own personal playground. 


Later on throughout the night, as Dierks was introducing the band, he welcomed back Caylee Hammack to sing “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, which suits Hammack so well you would’ve thought it was her own song. The band treated us to a mesmerizing strings-only melody, where each member went head-to-head, striving to outshine the other. However, it was banjo player, Charlie Worsham, who managed to captivate the hearts of everyone in the arena with his electrifying and awe-inspiring skills.


Bentley had the crowd completely enthralled from start to finish. Engaging with the audience at every turn, he effortlessly cracked jokes and performed with a contagious energy that made it feel like the rent was due at any moment. Each song seemed to outshine the previous one, taking us on a rollercoaster of emotions. Whether he serenaded us with soulful ballads like “Say You Do” or had us dancing to the beats of party anthems like “5-1-5-0,” he kept us on our toes, making the entire performance an unforgettable experience.


I used to say I wasn’t a country fan anymore, but this concert may have me jumping back on the bandwagon. 


About Carmen Macri

Since a young age, Carmen Macri knew she wanted to be a writer. She started as our student intern and has advanced to Multi-media Journalist/Creative. She graduated from the University of North Florida and quickly found her home with Folio Weekly. She juggles writing, photography and running Folio’s social media accounts.