Old Dominion and Dierks Bentley deliver a dream evening
The historic first evening of the very first country festival in Montreal ended in style with performances by Old Dominion and Dierks Bentley. The former had set the bar very high by chaining successes, but Bentley ensured just as much by also offering songs very well known by country fans in the province and further afield.
The big party with friends of Dierks Bentley
Main headliner of the first evening, the Arizonian delivered the goods, with a concert that looked like a big party with friends.
After opening a few minutes late with What Was I Thinkin', Burning Man and I Hold On, he addressed the audience by pointing out that this was the first edition of the event after three years of waiting. “Isn’t it wonderful?” he asked before Living.
Just before his hit Woman, Amen, he praised the performances of the female artists who had preceded him on stage during the day (Ashley McBride, Tenille Townes and others) and dedicated the title to the women in the audience.
After highlighting the presence of an irreducible admirer on crutches in the front rows, Bentley introduced the members of his team, including his stage technician PJ, who celebrated his birthday. It didn't take long for the crowd at Parc Jean-Drapeau to turn into a choir to perform the classic Happy Birthday.
This is where the evening took on the appearance of a big party since when it was time to resume the classic The Devil Went Down to Georgia the singer Ashley McBryde, who we had seen at the start of the evening, came back on stage to join him. Together they completed Charlie Daniels' smash hit, and then McBryde stayed on to perform Bad Angel as a duo.
This was not the only collaboration of the evening since at supper time, Bentley was invited to the program of the James Barker Band. He also invited Tenille Townes to join him on the boards a few minutes after McBryde's departure. Together, the Albertan and the American sang Different For Girls, a song that Bentley had launched in 2016 with Elle King.
Who says country, also says often beer. Dierks Bentley is no exception. At Beers On Me, he shared it with people in the audience. Then, at the end, he hinted that he would have liked to pay for a tour. Someone will have to tell him that Luke Combs did it at the encore of his concert on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec at the beginning of July. He had commissioned a traveling salesman to empty his cash register in exchange for $500.
Still in the same theme, the star invited a spectator, a certain Dave, on the stage during Am I The Only Oneto make a “shotgun” contest of beer. “A consolation prize” for the Dave in question since he had a poster with him asking to sing I Hold On with the interpreter. In the end, we never knew if Dave was able to push the note.
Before concluding the evening, the singer also offered Somewhere On A Beach, Free and Easy, 5-1-5-0, Drunk on a Plane. As a reminder, place for humor and nostalgia. Bentley and his musicians took to the stage in costume and paid homage to 90s country music, including blast covers of T-R-O-U-B-L-E, Should’ve Been A Cowboy, em>Cowboy Take Me Away, I Hope You Dance and Man! I Feel Like A Woman.
Canon-departure of Old Dominion
Photo: Pat Beaudry/Courtesy Evenko
The first headliner to tread the boards of Lasso was the American formation Old Dominion. From the first notes, we understood that the spectators who had gathered at Parc Jean-Drapeau were waiting for them. The crowd, which was rather easy to squeeze through to get to the front rows, quickly concentrated at the front of the two main stages.
Led by singer Matthew Ramsey , the line-up chained hits throughout the evening starting with Make It Sweet and Never Be Sorry during which he allowed himself to go down to the floor for the first time, even going up to the control room via the security corridor. Then, the spectators were invited to sing along with the formation on No Such Thing As A Broken Heart. It was during a well-placed three-quarters silence that we heard the first “Olé olé olé” of the evening, a classic normally reserved for encore requests.
On the fifth track of the program, No Hards Feeling, Ramsey even pulled out a small portable xylophone on which he had fun playing a few notes throughout the track. At Snapback, it was guitarist Brad Tursi's turn to feel the energy of the fans up close. An exercise he did again later that evening.
Hotel Key, Songs For Another Time, and Break Up With Him also allowed festival-goers to roar just before the band launched into covers of Wild Hearts — a song recorded by Keith Urban, but first composed by the band — and Learn To Fly by the Foo Fighters.
Before giving way to Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion concluded with One Man Band and I Was On A Boat That Day, while Trevor Rosen donned the uniform of Habs forward Cole Caufield behind his accordion. Matthew Ramsay added that the band's last show before the world went on hiatus in 2020 was in Canada (in Peterborough, Ontario) and that he was particularly happy to be back home.