Country star Luke Bryan will come swaggering into town this weekend as part of his “That’s My Kind of Party Tour.”
Bryan, who performs with openers Lee Brice and Cole Swindell 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, has plenty of reasons to feel confident.
The Georgia native’s 2013 release “Crash My Party” (Capitol Nashville) went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sent three of its singles to the top of the country charts, including the title track “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Drink a Beer.” Bryan also occupied the top spot last year for his “Spring Break ... Here to Party” album compilation.
Those hits will figure mightily in Bryan’s arena-style show, which features major set pieces such as a black 4x4 truck seeming to go up in flames for “That’s My Kind of Night” and stunts such as Bryan spraying the audience with a Bud Light during a medley of songs about spring break. But the show generates most of its heat from its star’s outsized personality.
Bryan apparently sees himself as a contemporary Elvis, who’s got plenty of hip-gyrating moves of his own.
“He’s a goofball, but he’s The People’s Goofball, gleefully stealing stadium-sized moves from hard rock and hip-hop alike,” Columbus Dispatch music critic Rob Harvilla writes of the tour opener last month in Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
“So what if the blaring guitars drowned out the fiddle and pedal steel and banjo most of the time? Nothing he does is subtle — he has a song called ‘Rain Is a Good Thing’ and a chorus that goes ‘Girl, you make my speakers go boom-boom’ — but nothing he does is boring, either. George Jones wouldn’t have approved, but AC/DC might.”
As big as the show gets, though, it also gives Bryan the chance to shine in some quieter moments, according to New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica.
“Several of his best songs are his most emotionally naked,” Caramanica writes of Bryan’s sold-out performance last month at Madison Square Garden in New York. “Near the end of his set he strung a few of them together: the uncommonly tender ‘Crash My Party’; ‘Drink a Beer,’ which has a gauche chorus undermining a vivid lyric, and which Mr. Bryan sang sitting at the end of a fake pier; and ‘Drunk on You,’ a love song.”
Ultimately, though, Bryan personifies the party-hearty, good-time guy, as his final encore reminds.
“He closed out with ‘Country Girl (Shake It for Me),’ which requires no explanation — but none of it does,” Harvilla writes. “Cheesy? Undoubtedly. But cheese can be a good thing, too.”
Opening for Bryan are Lee Brice, a country singer-songwriter with two albums on Curb Records, including 2012’s “Hard 2 Love,” and Nashville newcomer Cole Swindell.
The latter, who once sold merchandise for Bryan, scored his first hit single with last year’s “Chillin’ It,” and will make his major label album debut on Feb. 18 with his self-titled release on Warner Bros.
Luke Bryan setlist
Here’s what you can expect to hear at Luke Bryan’s show:
“That’s My Kind of Night”
“Rain Is a Good Thing”
“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”
“All My Friends Say”
“Someone Else Calling You Baby”
“Play It Again”
“Muckalee Creek Water”/ “Drinkin’ Beer Wastin’ Bullets”
“If You Ain’t Here to Party”
“Can’t Hold Us” (Macklemore cover)
“Crash My Party”
“Drink a Beer”
“Drunk On You”
“I Don’t Want This Night to End”
“The Only Way I Know”
“Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”