Headlining a huge Saturday night party at Bayou Country Superfest, Luke Bryan opened his 90 minute-plus show with a good-natured rhetorical question.
“What’s up, Tiger Stadium?” he asked. “Y’all ready to get down with it?”
Bryan answered his own question by launching his wildly received Superfest show with “That’s My Kind of Night.” It was his kind of night. His audience’s kind of night, too.
The massive crowd that came to hear Bryan’s rock- and hip-hop-inflected country music stood up, got down and sang along with Bryan’s rowdy party anthems in a stadiumwide Southern accent.
“I tell you what,” Bryan said later in the show. “I ain’t never seen so many country people in my life party like y’all.”
Making his second consecutive Superfest, Bryan played a better show this year than last. Promoted to headliner in 2014, the frisky Bryan proved he was the right man for the job. Even as he sang his many party songs, danced, swiveled his hips, threw his arms in the air and smiled that gleaming smile of his, he more often than not kept the show moving, knocking hit after hit into the stadium.
At 37, Bryan, wearing his backward baseball cap and skintight jeans, still has a frisky frat boy look. Cheers from the ladies in the crowd went up whenever he executed one of his pelvic thrusts or his backside was shown on the festival’s giant video screens.
Bryan milked crowd participation with the questions he frequently asked. “We got friends tonight in Louisiana?” he asked during the swaggering “All My Friends Say.”
“Where my country girls tonight?” he asked before “Country Man.”
On Memorial Day weekend, a member of the audience by the catwalk on the stadium floor handed the singer a small American flag during “Country Man.” Bryan waved it for everyone to see.
Sitting at an upright piano, Bryan sang a few lines from one of Friday’s Superfest performer’s songs, Reba McEntire’s “Fancy.” He and the band also took a stab at Mel McDaniel’s “Louisiana Saturday Night.” Thankfully, they were much more familiar with “My Kinda Party,” a more recent country song by Sunday Superfest headliner Jason Aldean.
Bryan’s piano interlude briefly slowed the show’s momentum. He instantly got back on track with the heartfelt ballad “Do I,” a song in which a man asks the woman he loves if she still loves him. “Do I,” rather than the piano interlude, was the shift in mood the show needed. Bryan mentioned that it was his first No. 1 hit.
Another tonal shift came with the Hank Williams Jr.-style survivalist sentiment of “Muckalee Creek Water.”
“We go’ call it ‘Muckalee Bayou’ tonight,” Bryan said. “Where all my deer hunters out there?” he asked. The “Muckalee Creek Water” lyrics during Saturday’s show included the line, “Sittin’ here waitin’ on a deer, drinking beer.” “Muckalee Creek Water” turned into a rather menacing heavy country-metal.
The mood, if not the politics, lightened up when “Duck Dynasty’s” Willie Robertson made a cameo appearance during Bryan’s ballad “Crash My Party.” Robertson not only crashed Bryan’s Superfest party, the reality TV star also entertained with good-natured, if minimal, dancing.
Shortly before an encore that included Bryan’s raunchy country-rock-hip mash-up “Country Girl (Shake It for Me),” the singer recounted his first visit to Tiger Stadium.
“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “When I was 14 years old I took a tour of this stadium. … I never imagined that one day I’d be playing country music in this big ass place.”