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Concert Reviews:
Luke Bryan celebrates end of tour in style at Ford Field
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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DETROIT -- On some tours, the last night is a time for melancholy, reflection and sentimentality.

Not so with Luke Bryan and his gang.

Rowdy on a normal night, Bryan and company -- including opening acts Dierks Bentley, Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch -- treated a sold-out Ford Field crowd to an even more spirited Halloween's eve party on Friday, Oct. 30. The preferred treat of the night was tequila, and while there were no tricks, as in last-show pranks, there was a loose exuberance to the night, the sense of enjoying a few just rewards for a job well-done.

Most of the celebration took place about a third of the way into Bryan's nearly two-hour set. Houser and Lynch, carting out a bottle of Patron and some red Solo shot glasses -- as well as some mixed drinks in Houser's custom mugs -- joined Bryan center stage for some toasts and genial goofing before launching into a trio version of Maroon5's "Sugar," which led into a snippet of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" and then back into "Sugar."

Houser and Lynch then left, leaving the tequila behind, and Bryan brought on Bentley -- who joined the tour as a one-night-only special guest on Friday -- for a duet on the latter's "Lots of Leavin' To Do," complete with bro hugs and back slaps.

Lynch briefly hopped on stage again to add backing vocals to a rendition of Florida Georgia Line's "This Is How We Roll," which Bryan co-wrote, and the night ended with the whole company back on stage, smashing guitars while fireworks shot into the air from either side of the stage.

It should be noted, however, that Friday's show would probably have just as much fun if it was a standard-issue Bryan night.

Five albums into his career, the Georgia native and ranking CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year has grown comfortably into his stadium headliner status, blending an personable, functionally buzzed everyman persona with the requisite visual pizzazz -- including plus-size video screens, pyrotechnics, lasers, hydraulic lifts and ramps that carried Bryan and his band members well into and across the Ford Field floor. The only (largely unnoticed) faux pax may have been that the truck he stood atop during the first encore of "That's My Kind of Night" was a 4x4 from Ford competitor Chevy.

The show wasn't all full-throttle, of course. Bryan dialed things down effectively at various points, including the richly melodic "Play It Again," "Strip It Down," "Crash My Party" and a rootsy "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day" extended to spotlight his band members. And he sang "Drink a Beer" sitting on a faux fishing pier (part of the song lyrics) and dedicated a final verse to the dear departed.

But the Ford Field crowd never had to wait too long to party, from the opening "Kick the Dust Up" through the slinky show-closer "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)." Bryan busted his best "Magic Mike" moves throughout the night and early on even brought one fan on stage to shotgun a beer with him. And he placed himself nicely inside the country-pop crossover world by sandwiching his own "I Don't Want This Night To End" inside a medley that also included the Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face," Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and Taio Cruz's "Dynamite.

Before leaving the stage, Bryan asked the crowd if "Y'all want to make this the end of the tour party every year?" to a not surprisingly affirmative response. Let's just hope that wasn't the tequila talking.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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