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"Kicking the dust up in Saskatoon" - Country superstar Luke Bryan charms crowd at SaskTel Centre (April 24/2024)

by Scott Roos and Tracy Creighton

photos by Tracy Creighton/Copperblue Photography and Design

This past Wednesday, April 24th, country superstar Luke Bryan played to a capacity crowd at Saskatoon’s SaskTel Centre as part of a scheduled stop on his “Mind of a Country Boy” tour. Opening up the festivities were up-and-coming rising star Chayce Beckham and Weyburn, Saskatchewan expat Tenille Arts. Collectively each of these three performers were able to deliver highly entertaining sets in their own unique ways, making for a stellar night of music and, in general, good clean fun.

Arts took the stage first in front of the hometown crowd. As a performer she was very warm and gracious with the audience; truly humbled to be doing her thing in Saskatoon. She covered Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” which was a highlight. During “So Do I” she knelt down at the edge of the stage, connecting to the audience directly. Other times, she waved, high fived and shouted out to the crowd with enthusiasm and vigor. All in all, Arts was a fantastic start to the night. Her set was short but she made the most of it and continues to be one to watch on the international country music scene. 

By contrast, Beckham was more subdued in his approach, preferring to stick relatively close to his microphone for the majority of his set. Relying on his husky voice and a more old school  “outlaw” infused style, his time on stage was punctuated by southern hospitality-esque banter. He was genuine with the audience and they lapped up what he was laying down in terms of his melody and overall phrasing. It was a great night for the American Idol winner.  

Finally, backed by a six piece band, Bryan came out to “Kick the Dust Up” and the capacity crowd in the arena went crazy. Bryan’s  stage presence proved to be magnetic as his wide eyed grin and on point sense of humour was thoroughly charming. He enjoys himself on stage and it shows. And when he has fun, the audience does as well. There’s honesty in what he does. Despite the fact that Bryan may, in many country music circles, be considered as “legendary” in status, there’s no ego evident in his performances and that honesty is probably his most endearing quality as an artist.

Visually, Bryan and crew worked the room they had at SaskTel Centre to its fullest extent. The arena was punctuated by a large thrust style stage that jutted quite far into the crowd. During Bryan’s song “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day” there was a big jam session amongst the musicians that featured them walking to the end of the thrust for a big banjo extravaganza. For "Crash My Party," "Drink a Beer," and "Buy Dirt," they wheeled out a piano and a drum kit onto the end of the thrust and the whole band set up there, sitting on tall stools, giving it a super intimate feeling.

There were giant singalongs too. Essentially, everyone was really into what Bryan was doing on stage from the get go. Whatever he said, the crowd obeyed. Light it up? They lit it up. Drink a beer? Already a few steps ahead. The country girls even shook it for him as requested as soon as the opening notes of “Country Girl (Shake It For ME)” reverberated throughout the arena. The night ended with an encore of… wait for it… “That’s My Kind of Night” with Bryan fully decked out in a Saskatoon Blades jersey and everyone went home happy. It was a night that country music fans in Saskatoon won’t soon forget.

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