He arrived in Nashville at age 19 and began the journey towards his country stardom, and it took a little bit to get it off the ground. Dierks Bentley eventually scored a Nashville record deal, but even after many massive hits, he was still just an opening act.
"I've spent a lot of nights playing for free beer," Bentley said Saturday in Omaha, NE. But no longer.
Now, the full-on country star has more than a dozen No. 1 country radio hits. And he's not just on arena stages, Bentley's headlining, brining more than 11,000 people together to sing songs like "What Was I Thinkin,'" obsessing over "Drunk On A Plane" and an arena full of stars (aka phones) for "I Hold On."
Saturday's show at the CHI Health Center was a huge night for Bentley even with special guests Hot Country Nights, Tenille Townes, and Jon Pardi.
"It's a really big deal to play here. In Nashville, we all talk about this place. It used to be the Qwest Center. We love this place," he explained. "Everyone talks about playing the big room in Omaha, Nebraska, because we all start off playing the College World Series.... This is an unbelievable feeling. Thank you so much!"
Adding to the night was Bentley's goofy country covers set fronting the living-in-the-'90's band Hot Country Knights, the moment when he shotgunned a beer with a fan and when he went through a series of old country songs with opener Tenille Townes.
It was a amazing performance for an artists who has been working his way up for a long time.
"I feel like I'm still trying to climb that mountain," he said. "Thank youm Omaha, for holdin on to us for all these years."