A few thoughts on day two of the Route 91 Harvest festival.
—The country crowd is like no other in a festival setting. A big portion of the audience brought their own folding camping chairs, which dominated the area in front of the main stage. With everyone sitting down much of the show, it created a different kind of energy — or lack thereof. Still, this was a crowd that came to party. Definitely the hardest drinking audience I’ve ever been around. They make the Punk Rock Bowling hordes look like a bunch of O’Douls sipping lightweights. Don’t have official attendance numbers yet, but the draw seems to be around 20,000, a solid number for the first year of an event like this. Considering that Sunday headliner Jason Aldean can sell out stadiums on his own though, clearly the fest has room to grow — and will likely need to do so.
Rhetorical question of the weekend: “Is there anyone out there who wants to have a cold beer?” Dierks Bentley. Shortly thereafter, he brought a dude on stage to see who could shotgun a beer faster. Bentley won. Took him all of four seconds to finish off a Bud Light. This is the way it went for much of Bentley’s 70-minute set, which was among the most fun and raucous of the fest thus far.
Top five drinking songs of the day:
5. “It Won’t Hurt,” Dwight Yoakam
4. “Am I the Only One?,” Dierks Bentley
3. “Smokin’ and Drinkin,’” Miranda Lambert
2. “Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley
1. “I Love You, Beer,” Charles Esten
Best cover: Dwight Yoakam, “Ring of Fire”: Yoakam made this Johnny Cash classic his own — so much so, that some members of the crowd didn’t even recognize it at first. He excavated Cash’s rockabilly roots with some peacocking guitar playing, turning the song into a honky tonk howler as heated as its titular flames.
Worst cover: Miranda Lambert, “Gimme Some Lovin’”: Lambert’s voice is a like candy-coated thumb tack: sweet, yet sharp. It lacked the oomph and she lacked the energy to pull off this Spencer Davis Group tune convincingly. Better was her take on Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band,” where her band compensated for her somewhat halting performance by knocking the stuffing out of the song.
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476. Follow on Twitter @JasonBracelin.