Dierks Bentley concert rocks Diddle Arena Thursday

Dierks Bentley performs Friday night at the Diddle Arena.

Ella Burnside

Thursday night’s homecoming concert began with opening acts, Natalie Stovall and Ashley Ray in Diddle Arena. Both women warmed up the crowd performing original songs and covers of music by their favorite artists.

An hour and a half into the show, up-and-coming country music artist Jon Pardi, took the stage to perform original music and former tour-mate, Eric Church’s, hit “Drink in My Hand.” Pardi really got the crowd going when he introduced a song saying, “This one’s for all the mean girls!”

Dierks Bentley surprised the screaming crowd when he was lifted up onto the stage through a hole in the middle of the stage at 9:45 pm.

Bentley, who dressed simply in jeans, a white v-neck t-shirt and black “Stubbs” baseball cap, opened the show with his song “Country and Cold Cans” followed by several of his hit songs including “Feel That Fire,” “Am I The Only One,” “Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do,” “5-1-5-0” and “Up on the Ridge.”

Breckenridge County freshman Jacob Alexander said he enjoyed the concert.

“There’s a lot of drunk people, it’s fun, and it’s loud,” Alexander said.

Halfway through the concert, Bentley said he knew it was going to be a good night when he heard people were getting arrested for drinking too much before the concert even began. Bentley then debuted a new original song for the audience called “Cold Beer.” The crowd voiced its approval by chanting cold beer after the song was over.

Before an encore performance of “What Was I Thinkin’,” Bentley slowed things down with a performance of his 2012 country radio hit “Home,” during which he invited the audience to take out their cellphones and raise them in the air.

After three hours of music, concert goers left Diddle satisfied by the show, excited for the homecoming festivities left to come and perhaps as even bigger Dierks Bentley fans than they were when the night began.