After 10 days holed up at Nashville’s Steel Mill rehearsal space, Dierks Bentley invited members of the media to preview his upcoming tour yesterday (Jan. 15). His 2013 Locked & Reloaded Tour with Miranda Lambert opens tomorrow in Columbia, S.C.
A major highlight of the arena run will be Bentley’s use of video and lighting effects for the first time. Yesterday, his brief set included “Tip It On Back,” during which the room swam with icy blue lights sure to be impactful in a large space. Bentley said he and his team strove to keep the “raw” feel of his show while mixing in video. “If this was the last tour we were ever going to do, what would we do?” Bentley and company mused while coming up with ideas. One result was a giant new stage he enthusiastically called a “jungle gym for adults.”
Band members huddled close together to perform “Up On The Ridge,” creating a sense of intimacy among the musicians that will translate to the arena audience. On the video screen behind them, a campfire danced under a full moon. Bentley also added personal elements to the videos, with one montage including a photograph of his father.
“’Home’ is one of my favorite songs to sing onstage every night,” he continued. “This song has so many different meanings for me.” He also referenced members of the military and their families in conjunction with the song that will vie for a Grammy at the Feb. 10 awards.
This week, the song’s meaning includes the homecoming of his beloved companion, Jake. The white dog happily wandered among rehearsal visitors as Bentley recounted the story of Jake’s escape and return, and the “overwhelming” outreach from friends and fans during the ordeal.
The father of two misses his family when he’s away from home, but said the sacrifice pushes him, his band and crew to make every show completely worthwhile.
After a hectic 2012 on the road, which included legs in the U.S., Canada and Australia—and notching the one millionth mile on his faithful tour bus “Goldie”—Bentley admitted he is looking forward to the consistency of an arena outing.
It’s not the first time Lambert and Bentley have hit the road together. She was one of his supporting acts on the 2006-2007 Locked and Loaded Tour. In upcoming shows, he said, they will team onstage for “some things fans expect, but will also throw in some things they might not expect.” Overall, he summed, he’s just plain excited.
Bentley has dates scheduled through July.
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