Live: Dierks Bentley Brings Out "Will Ferrell" in Long Island
The Jägermeister Tour featuring Dierks Bentley, Josh Thompson, and Sean Patrick McGraw
Long Island Community Bank Theatre at Westbury
Sunday, March 27
Better than: Staving off the Sunday night blues with a screening of Talladega Nights.
For much of his show on at the former Westbury Music Fair, Dierks Bentley couldn't believe that the throng in front of him was a Sunday-night crowd. "Is this Sunday night?" he asked after being hailed for his opening number "Feel That Fire." The rapturous response was both an affirmation and a signal that most people in the crowd weren't going to worry about Monday morning until they'd reached the Long Island Expressway.
Bentley's music is well-suited to a party atmosphere, even when it's focused on matters of the heart; it's fairly straightforward rock-and-roll with just enough twang to cause people to add cowboy hats to their outfits before they walk out the door. He's an incredibly gracious performer even when singing about liking cars more than women (as he did on the new track "'69 Mustang"), thanking his fans over and over and giving them a peek into his bus with a medley of "busgrass" tracks--songs that he and his co-workers jam on when they can't sleep, including the theme to The Dukes of Hazzard, Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" (which got a very convincing country makeover), and Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive," on which vocal duties were (quite ably) handled by bassist Cassady Feasby.
Bentley has weathered-teen-idol looks and an easy rapport with his band--some of the show's best moments came when he and his fellow musicians would jam out with one another, eyes locked--and his giving the crowd an OK to sit down at one point further proved his sensitive-dude bona fides. (Plus, you know, it's important to conserve energy for the big finish.) He played both sides of the gender aisle expertly; the new track "Diamonds Make Babies" was a sort of warning to anyone in the audience thinking that getting engaged wouldn't slow down their partying, while the midtempo ode to satisfying a lover "I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes" made many of the women in the audience swoon.
There was even a celebrity in the house--kind of. Bentley took a break at one point to introduce Will Ferrell, who was sitting a few rows from the stage, clad in his Wonder Bread-logo-spangled Ricky Bobby gear from Talladega Nights. He waved to the crowd and after that was bothered by a constant stream of people who wanted an autograph, or a photo, or just a kind word or two; he was then invited onstage for the final song of the night, the rave-up "What Was I Thinkin'."