Fans should arrive early if they want to see his ’90s cover band Hot Country Knights
Dierks Bentley kicks off his new tour in Hamilton
There’s something about the kickoff concert of an extended tour, an air of anticipation — the band probably has a few new tricks to try out, perhaps some new songs, and not all the bugs have necessarily been ironed out.
You get the feeling anything might happen.
So it was for American country star Dierks Bentley when he kicked off his “Mountain” tour last May in Maryland.
Bentley was trying out a new stage rig for his megahit “Drunk on a Plane,” when the unexpected occurred courtesy of a wayward beach ball.
“I was flying through the air for ‘Drunk on a Plane’ pretending I was a pilot and lifting off the ground on top of a lighting truss,” Bentley recalls in a phone interview from his home in Nashville.
“Then someone threw a beach ball up on stage, hit the space bar on the motors and shut the whole thing down. All of a sudden my plane got stuck half way up. Luckily they were able to put it in emergency mode and lower me back down.”
Bentley is confident, his show will be glitch-free on Jan. 17 when he kicks off his three-month North American “Burning Man” tour at Hamilton’s FirstOntario Centre.
“Burning Man,” named after the opening song on his album “Mountain,” is an extended version of his 2018 tour.
“I’m just tweaking the show,” Bentley says. “There’s some added content. I’ve changed the set list up a little, adding some new songs and new components which makes it exciting for us.”
One of the key changes to the tour, will be the official addition of opening act Hot Country Knights, a band led by frontman Douglas “Big Rhythm Doug” Douglason that specializes in covering country hits from the ‘90s.
The band may sound more than a little goofy, but it’s an act Dierks Bentley fans won’t want to miss. Big Rhythm Doug is, in fact, Bentley’s alter ego. He may look kind of different under a mullet wig.
“It should be illegal it’s so much fun,” Bentley, 42, says about Hot Country Knights. “All country fans love that country music from the ‘90s. We come offstage dying with laughter.”
Also joining Bentley on the Canadian portion of the tour are American country singer Jon Pardi, a familiar face to Bentley fans, and Alberta rising star Tenille Townes, who is getting a lot of
airplay for her song “Somebody’s Daughter.”
Despite being born in Arizona and living in Nashville, Bentley is no stranger to Hamilton, having performed here several times both as a headliner and an opening act.
Bentley is a big hockey fan, following both the Phoenix Coyotes and the Nashville Predators. Through the years, he’s also followed the Hamilton Bulldogs and has skated with them at practice before concerts at FirstOntario Centre. He’s particularly pleased that former Bulldog P.K. Subban is now playing for his Predators.
“Thanks for loaning P.K. to us, we really appreciate it,” Bentley laughs.
Bentley often tours with his hockey gear, hoping to get ice time before a concert. This time, however, he appears to have traded in his skates for a broom. Bentley and his band has discovered Canada’s other winter pastime — curling.
“We love curling,” he says. “We always take one day, band and crew, for curling. We have tuques, we have sweaters, we have a trophy. It’s the Dude Curling Championship, the DCC. That’s going to take place in either Calgary or Vancouver where we have two days off.”
American country music star Dierks Bentley performs at FirstOntario Centre on Jan. 17.