Music News & Reviews

Luke Bryan shook it, gave Fresno fans his kind of Saturday night

Luke Bryan shakes it during his concert Saturday, April 30, at Frseno’s Save Mart Center.
Luke Bryan shakes it during his concert Saturday, April 30, at Frseno’s Save Mart Center. kmahan@fresnobee.com

With three words, “Hit the Lights,” Luke Bryan kicked off his 90-minute set Saturday night at Save Mart Center. He should have added two more – “Let’s party!”

That’s what his sold-out concert felt like, a big party.

From the time he rose up from below the stage at 9:52 p.m., until the last note at 11:25 p.m., he danced across the stage, grinding and shaking his hips to the delight of the female-heavy crowd (at one point, Bryan even commented that he thought the ratio was 6-1, girls to guys). It took Bryan less than two-minutes to do his signature hip thrust (Yes, I timed it!). And with that, the party was on.

This is the kind of concert where everyone there knows every word to every song and sings along. It’s impressive. And it creates a low-key, kick-back and hang-out vibe. Bryan’s every-guy charm and flirtatiousness reinforces the party vibe every step of the way, including bringing out opening acts Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch to join him on stage – tequila shots and beer tossing included.

It’s a good thing that Bryan is so successful at putting out catchy pop-country tunes that have memorable hooks that people want to sing along to, though. Because his live singing is nowhere near as sharp as on the radio. To his credit, he doesn’t shy away from the less-than-perfect live voice. He goes all out, and he doesn’t add back-up singers to the band to cover the gaps – and there were many times Saturday night where you could hear the gaps.

But the gaps didn’t matter. Because this was a party and Bryan played the perfect, fun-loving host.

He was aided by a creative stage design that expanded the platforms into a square-shaped stage in the center of the arena floor. It made the arena feel more intimate and gave fans at the back of the arena a closer look.

The two opening acts started the night on a good note, too. Dustin Lynch’s short 30-minute set got people out of their pre-show lull. And Little Big Town really delivered with its sharp, stunning harmonies. It’s easy to see why they’ve cleaned up at awards shows for the song “Girl Crush.”

After three hours of solid country music, it’s doubtful anyone walked away disappointed Saturday night.

Fans arrive as Luke Bryan brings his Kill The Lights Tour to Save Mart Center Saturday night, April 30, 2016 in Fresno.

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