Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley - Desert Sky Pavilion - May 16, 2013
Dierks Bentley has a band. He doesn't act like a solo act, and they work together musically to achieve a superior sound. With Miranda Lambert, it's just her; the backing musicians are irrelevant other than to carry a tune. Lambert has a cocky, badass attitude that even shows in the way she walks. She controls the stage and the crowd.
If there is one thing I learned from my hour-and-a-half with Miranda Lambert it's that she's a force to be reckoned with -- and that, as a man, I do not want to ever piss her off. Hell hath no fury like a 5-foot-3 time bomb of sass with thick blond curls and a Southern drawl. She drinks, she smokes, she doesn't take any shit, and she goes on stage with one intention: to kick some ass. She has no qualms about letting everyone know it.
"I still shop at Walmart, eat chicken-fried steak, and drink Bud Light," she said during a thank you to all of her fans, in the process of encouraging them to follow their dreams.
Lambert knows how to entertain. She kept a satisfying pace throughout her performance, starting off fast and then settling into the more heartfelt tunes before picking it up again toward the end. About two-thirds of the way through the set, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley seemingly appeared out of thin air next to Miranda Lambert and the three women delivered back-to-back songs from their group, Pistol Annies.
As quickly as the two women came, they disappeared, and it was Miranda's stage once again.
"Maybe you don't take 'redneck' as a compliment, but I sure mean it as one," she said, before telling the crowd how her shotgun-shooting skills and men mix together. Any apprehension left in the crowd was unloaded like the shotgun Lambert sings about when she dove into the song "Gunpowder & Lead" as everybody shouted and screamed the lyrics.
The encore was unimpressive and short-lived as Lambert re-emerged to sing one more song -- the real closer was that raucous performance of "Gunpowder & Lead."
Am I the Only One
Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)
Every Mile a Memory
Lot of Leavin' Left to Do
Feel That Fire
Tip it on Back
Up on the Ridge
Settle for a Slowdown
Come a Little Closer
What Was I Thinkin'
Fastest Girl in Town
That's the Way That the World Goes 'Round
Heart Like Mine
Mamma's Broken Heart
Famous in a Small Town
All Kinds of Kinds
Hell on Heels
The House That Built Me
Gunpowder & Lead
Last Night: Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley at Desert Sky Pavilion
The Crowd: An even mixture of the young and old, and a lot of sun-kissed girls in Daisy Dukes leading their boyfriends around by the hand. Also: An abundance of denim shirts, camouflage, cowboy hats, and shit-kicking boots of various sizes and colors.
Overheard in the Crowd: When Miranda Lambert was building up the guitar intro to "Gunpowder & Lead," a girl directly in front of me told her boyfriend, "this is my song for you!" She then laughed hysterically and proceeded to sing every word with a big smile on her face while turned toward him. I hope I didn't just witness the prelude to Jodi Arias part II (too soon?).
Personal Bias: The parking lot had a lot of lifted 4x4 pickup trucks. Being from the country myself, I can usually spot the imposter trucks that, like their owners, have only lived the big-city life and sadly never taken their tires off the smooth pavement.