BANGOR, Maine — There’s a reason people like Luke Bryan, one of the hottest country stars in America, who performed Saturday night at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion on the Bangor Waterfront. Maybe it’s his songs about love, relationships and more than a little bit of lust. Maybe it’s his ability as a songwriter and as a guitarist. Or maybe it’s his smooth country voice and good looks.
Either way, Bryan, singer of such multiplatinum hits as “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” “I Don’t Want This Night To End” and “Drunk On You,” attracted a capacity crowd at the waterfront, who started screaming as soon as his outline appeared against the gigantic screens on the stage.
“I think he’s wicked sexy,” said Kimberly Gustin of Augusta, who was at the concert with her boyfriend, Aaron. “We were really lucky that we got tickets ’cause this sold out super fast. I just want to party and dance tonight. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer.”
Bryan brought with him a slick, high-production value set, with laser lights that shone into the audience and illuminated the intermittent light rain that fell throughout the night. Massive video screens flanked both sides of the stage, so everyone — from lawn seat holders to those watching from outside the venue — could see Bryan’s performance.
Bryan played an array of his hit songs, in a set that started just after 9 p.m. and lasted until nearly 11 p.m. Though his music is not unlike other country megastars of today — a blend of upbeat rock with country instrumentation and vocals — Bryan looks a little different from the rest of the pack. At Saturday night’s concert he wore skinny jeans and a baseball cap, instead of a cowboy hat and Levi’s.
Opening for Bryan was the up and coming country artist Kelleigh Bannen, as well as country duo Thompson Square, composed of the husband and wife team of Keifer and Shawna Thompson. Thompson Square played a mix of their own songs and a number of covers, including Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” and Rihanna and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie.”
The Luke Bryan concert is the second of three big concerts on the Waterfront over Labor Day weekend; Friday night brought pop star Ke$ha to the stage, while on Monday fellow country star Toby Keith will make his second Bangor appearance since the Waterfront Concert series began in 2010. The final two concerts are set for Sept. 13, with alt-folk favorites the Avett Brothers, and Sept. 14, with a Christian rock concert featuring Casting Crowns. For more information, visit waterfrontconcerts.com.