An estimated 12,000 people crowded into a newly cleaned-up and mostly de-smellified Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion on Friday evening to party to the sounds of two of the biggest stars in country music — Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley, with opening artist Kix Brooks.
Both musicians meld the sound of classic country with a rock-based sensibility, with Lambert’s beautiful voice, superb songwriting skills and refreshingly honest lyrics making her one of the most vital country stars today. She played an array of her many hits to wild applause from her many fans.
Bentley, with his good looks and baritone vocals, commands a party attitude — an attitude that pervaded most of Friday’s concert.
“You guys must live in one of the prettiest places in America,” said Bentley from the stage. “You guys are really lucky. We’re so glad to be here.”
Most people were there simply to enjoy a concert on a mercifully rain-free night — the thunderstorms earlier in the day left the area before the music began. But repeat visitors to the waterfront undoubtedly wondered if odor problems because of waterlogged organic loam had been resolved by the gravel hurriedly laid down by city workers over the past 48 hours.
Not that odor concerns appeared to bother some of Lambert’s more die-hard fans, who drove hours to see her live.
“We’ve never seen her live, but we sure have listened to her a lot,” said Liz McHatten, was sporting a pink Miranda Lambert T-shirt, who came down the interstate from Chapman with her friend Jeff Clark to see the show. “I just love her music … we heard about the smell issues, but I don’t smell a thing. We’re used to it anyway. We live in The County. We’re around farms.”
It appeared that the quick work by the city to fix the problem was mostly successful. The seated and pit areas of the stage were smell-free, but a slight odor lingered in the upper area of the pavilion, where grass remained.
“I haven’t been to a show here where it was smelly, but it’s not that bad,” said Mindy Morse of Bangor. “I guess if it was really bad all the time it would be a problem, but this is OK. I’m just here to see Dierks and Miranda.”
The next concert set for the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion is another country superstar — multiplatinum singer-songwriter Kenny Chesney, set for Wednesday, Aug. 7. The weekend of Aug. 9-10 will bring the annual KahBang Festival, which will be held on the Bangor Waterfront.