Dierks Bentley will headline Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena for the first time on Jan. 21. For many Nashvillians, that’s a pretty big deal. Since the 1990s, Bridgestone has become a bucket list venue for artists around town, similar to the Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry.
But before Dierks plays Bridgestone, he decided to play across the street. The country superstar put his band on the tiny stage at Legends Corner, which is catty-corner to the massive hockey arena and next door to Tootsie’s. Bentley dove into two hours of hits and classics, all for free. More than 300 people crammed into the bar to see the star go back to his roots. And many, many more hung around outside, hoping to peek through the glass facade.
The whole thing started pretty innocently. “You spend your whole life hoping to get on a bus and get on the road and then you think, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to go back and play a show on Lower Broadway?'” Dierks Bentley told the crowd from the stage.
He announced the show on social media earlier in the day. Most of his show featured classic covers, from Merle Haggard to George Jones to Hank Williams. Cole Swindell eventually joined Bentley on stage for a barrage of 90s country hits.
Finally, Bentley took a moment to walk around and collect tips for all the bartenders. Oh, and for the band that was supposed to play before graciously letting Bentley take their slot. He closed the show out with some of his own hits.
Don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to Bentley’s special show. He’s got a whole bunch of shows lined up for 2017 (including a big run through Canada). The Bridgestone Arena tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m.