LINCOLN — An acoustic guitar-≠wielding, backward hat-≠wearing Dierks Bentley marched to center stage asking if he was the only one who wanted to have fun.
He was not.
More than 7,000 at Pinnacle Bank Arena cheered while he sang “Am I the Only One” on Thursday night.
“Y'all, give us all you got tonight and we won't let you down,” Bentley told his adoring audience.
The country star stuck to the stuff I've always loved him for: fun-times, up-tempo tunes such as “Sideways” and “5-1-5-0” that get people to raise their plastic beer cups in the air and forget they have to go to work tomorrow.
Bentley, who shared headlining duties with Miranda Lambert, included a few ballads such as “Come a Little Closer” and “Home,” but his best stuff was the singalong rock anthems that he fills with just enough pedal steel and vocal twang to get them on country radio.
Very few artists are as engaging as Bentley, who brought fans onstage, signed items and handed a guitar to one energetic fan. His buzzing enthusiasm fed into songs such as “What Was I Thinking” and “Sideways,” which made his set more fun than any other country show.
The ladies loved Bentley almost as much as they did Lambert later in the show, and several threw bras onto the stage, one of which Bentley scooped up with the neck of his guitar.
The day before, Bentley's wife, Cassidy, had the couple's third baby, Knox, and the singer still wore his hospital wristband. Some fans threw baby clothes onstage, too.
“What a crazy 24 hours for me personally,” Bentley said. “If you don't think I'm partying tonight ... you're out of your mind. I'll never forget this night.”
Lambert, in a black tank top and carrying a pink guitar, began her set with weak versions of “Fastest Girl in Town” and “Only Prettier,” to which she forgot some of the words. Lambert looked a little lost at first, but her set and her voice got better the longer it went.
Near the middle of the show, Lambert was dancing to “Baggage Claim” and belted the chorus to “Mama's Broken Heart.”
By the end of the concert, Lambert's enthusiasm spread to the audience — most of them women — who stood on their seats, danced with their arms in the air and shouted the lyrics to her broken-hearted revenge songs.
“Gunpowder and Lead,” “Kerosene” and “White Liar” were all echoed by thousands of women shouting all the words.
Lambert did a quartet of entertaining and surprising cover songs: John Prine's “That's the Way That the World Goes Round,” the Band's “Up on Cripple Creek,” the Beatles' “Get Back” and the Spencer Davis Group's “Gimme Some Lovin.”
Most of her set was fun and strummy stuff such as “Me and Charlie Talking” or “Famous in a Small Town,” but her naturally powerful and practically effortless voice was best in “The House That Built Me.”
With a wide smile, Lambert practically apologized for her early missteps after thanking her fans for coming.
“I'm as usual as you can get, good or bad,” she said. “I forget the words. I still shop at Walmart.”