And those who were there may never come down from that moment.
Bentley was mid-way through his 2019 Burning Man show in his adoptive hometown when the three friends turned the arena into an intimate honky-tonk delivering a stripped-down, acoustic medley of Hank Williams (“Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “The Bottle Let Me Down), Loretta Lynn (“Blue Kentucky Girl”) and Dixie Chicks (“Cowboy Take Me Away”) hits.
what can I say about these two and this moment here tonight at Bridgestone Arena, other than it’s just good to have pals. Someone like @keithurban, who I sent a text to two days ago that literally started with “I hate myself for even texting this, so ple… https://t.co/bep0JzQpZe pic.twitter.com/hsCV1efKnu
— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) February 23, 2019
“I like it when boys sing that song,” Lambert said onstage. It was Lambert’s first public performance since marrying Brendan McLoughlin. Bentley invited Lambert and her new husband to the show when he ran into them on a walk with his wife, Cassidy.
The medley was preceded by Urban joining Bentley on “The Mountain.”
The hometown crowd brought out the best in Bentley, whose performance made everyone in the hall feel like family. His 23-song set was a diverse mix of songs from The Mountain and his most enduring hits. Tenille Townes joined Bentley for the hit Elle King collaboration, “Different for Girls.” During “Am I the Only One,” a few security guards escorted Bentley as his high-fived his way through the audience on the floor level to a satellite stage to perform “Come a Little Closer” and “Say You Do.”
Bentley and his daughter Evie continued their live father-daughter tradition of performing a song together. Their pick for the night was “Travelin’ Light” from The Mountain.
And if anyone decided to miss the openers Hot Country Knights, Tenille Townes or Jon Pardi, they made a mistake.
Thomas Rhett joined Hot Country Knights onstage incognito to sing “That Ain’t My Truck,” a ‘90s hit by his father, Rhett Akins.
Townes and Pardi each brought a signature swagger that showed country music’s future is in good hands. Making a proper Nashville arena debut, Townes’ vivid lyrics came alive as her powerful and distinctive voice reverberated throughout the arena in a dynamic opening set that included her hit “Somebody’s Daughter.”
Friday night also showed that Pardi is an entertainer of the year of tomorrow. Performing hits from California Sunrise, he commanded the stage as he delivered an arsenal of irresistible country songs that had the packed audience singing along to his every word.