Adventures in babysitting – or I finally got to see Dierks Bentley

Dierks - taken by Mary Strowmatt because her cell phone takes better pictures than mine.

I’m a huge Dierks Bentley fan. Huge. So when I went to review his concert at the Great Jones County Fair in Monticello two years ago and left after two hours of torrential rainfall, I was more than disappointed to learn the next day that he took the stage when the rain stopped at midnight.

Hearing that he was going to be in concert at the University of Iowa, I didn’t miss a beat. I made plans to go to the concert with two friends and we spent more than a month waiting for the day to arrive.

Dierks was, of course, fantastic. Energy simply emanated from the stage into the crowd as he jumped around, ran from corner to corner and urged the audience to not only sing along but to take over some of the songs. I was mesmerized – I spent the week with Dierks’ “Greatest Hits” CD in my car, belting out the lyrics to “So Long,” “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do” and “What Was I Thinking,” so seeing my favorites come to life before me left me awe-struck.

I’ve been to plenty of concerts but few – very few – have played to my emotions. That’s reserved for big favorites: U2, Journey, Bob Seger – and now Dierks Bentley.

It was set up to be a perfect evening. Too bad I didn’t count on the crowd.

I should have realized that when a concert is held in the Field House on the university campus, it would be filled with college students. And not just college students, but those who either had their fill of alcohol before the concert, snuck it into the facility (I was standing by a group pulling cans of Busch Light from the back of their pants) or both.

When Emerson Drive, the band that opened for Bentley, was on stage a highly intoxicated young woman fell into Cara, one of my friends, moved away and then immediately fell into her again. Because Cara reached out to help her stand, they became – in the young woman’s eyes – instant best friends. She talked through the remainder of the concert, either to Cara or to our friend Mary, and at one point we thought she was going to be ill. Nice.

We were able to enjoy hte last few songs Emerson Drive played before they finished and the lights came up as Bentley’s crew got the stage ready for him. The crowd was lively, singing along to the recorded music playing over the speakers. Then the crowd got even more lively as a giant hulk of a young man started throwing punches and what I first saw as one man punching another turned into a group of arms flying and bodies landing on each other.

The hulk was carried off by security officers just as Dierks Bentley took the stage.

Perfect timing. I let  rain storm get in the way of seeing Bentley two years ago. I wasn’t about to let a bunch of rowdy students ruin it for me again.

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