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Review: Luke Bryan Needs To ‘Shake It’ Up More Next Time

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Country singer brings What Makes You Country Tour to the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Luke Bryan is good at what he does. Every year he hits the road to perform his now vast catalog of radio country hits. He fills everything from amphitheaters to arenas to even stadiums. He has found the perfect formula that works. He is releasing music fans like. The music goes up in radio play and charts. People are buying tickets to his shows. And everyone is happy.

The problem is that his show is getting old. I understand that country artists are very limited to what they can do on stage. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes just grabbing a guitar and singing the tune does the job with thousands of people that are sipping on beer and having a good time. However, Thursday’s night show as part of the What Makes You Country Tour at the AT&T Center was basically the same show I watched last year in Austin during the Huntin’, Fishin’, And Lovin’ Every Day Tour. The only difference was a more disengaged and exhausted Luke and a weirdly put together set list.

I’m not sure if he has just been very busy lately, but the man did not look like he was having a good time tonight. His vibe made it seem as if he was just there to do his job and sing the songs. His energy lacked throughout the show compared to how he was in last year’s trek. There were times when he seemed over it – this was clear as early as during ‘This Is How We Roll’ and as late in the set as during ‘Play It Again.’

There were few times during the show that his smiles and fan-connection seemed genuine. He seemed to be into his acoustic segment halfway through the show when he performed ‘Do I’ and ‘Drink A Beer.’ He was testing a few chords on the guitar and even laughingly said ‘Give me a second, I’m trying to learn my own song here.’

The set list was a messy mess. When I saw him last year, the songs flowed perfectly. In a contrast from the last tour, he actually performed the two closing songs to open the show: ‘Country Girl (Shake It For Me)’ and ‘I Don’t Want This Night To End.’ The latter is one of my favorite from Luke, but it just didn’t feel right so early in the night. It’s so upbeat and I would think the literal words ‘I don’t want this night to end’ would fit better when the show was about to wrap.

On the other hand, he closed with the songs he opened the show with last year: ‘Move’ and ‘That’s My Kinda Night.’ The first one is another one of my favorites from Bryan, and it fits just about right anywhere on the set list. The latter is a monumental hit that probably garnered him a lot of fans at some point. It just feels like that works better at some other place in the set list. The song is tired and overdone.

Personal note – I’m sad ‘Roller Coaster’ was not performed. He has been putting it on the set list randomly at certain dates on the tour. It was a bit disappointing to not hear that amazing song live.

Again, the show wasn’t bad. It just didn’t feel as good as in previous years. It was just a modified show from last year with more material from his latest album. (By the way, the highlight of the night was definitely his latest hit ‘Most People Are Good’ – beautiful song and he seemed into it too).

Luke, give us something more next time. Change your stage a bit. Try new arrangements. Connect more with the fans. But don’t stop delighting fans and keep putting out good country music.

Carly Pearce and Jon Pardi opened up the show. They were exceptionally good. I hope to see them continue to grow as artists in the next few years.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Residing in San Antonio, Peter is the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog. He is currently pursuing degrees in Journalism and Business & Event Management. He is a news junkie, pop culture aficionado, and live-music obsessed.

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