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Live Review: Luke Bryan Brought the Party to Citi Card Event in New York City

by Carolyn Menyes   Aug 10, 2015 11:00 AM EDT

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Luke Bryan turned Irving Plaza into a party on Friday night (Aug. 7). On the very same day that his fifth studio album Kill the Lights dropped, the biggest name in modern country stopped by the intimate 1000 person New York City venue to play an exclusive concert presented by Citi for its card members. And despite a smaller crowd than he's used to, Bryan brought out his biggest hits and new cuts with plenty of kick and energy.

From the start, it was clear that Bryan's version of a country show was going to be different from something offered up by the old school crooners or the outlaw country singers of today - he came out to Flo Rida's "GDFR," for goodness' sake. However, the energy of the hip-hop hit helped concertgoers to prep for the balance of a Bryan show, which blended together the party feel of hip-hop with the down home vibes of his country world.

The hype built by "GDFR" was carried through the evening by Bryan's own set, which spanned 12 tracks over a single hour. Smartly, Bryan opened up with his Kill the Lights lead single "Kick the Dust Up," which quickly brought in a feel good vibe to the night.

 We turn this cornfield in to a party. @lukebryan #killthelights

A video posted by Music Times (@themusictimes) on Aug 7, 2015 at 6:07pm PDT

Despite Kill the Lights being mere hours old when Bryan took to the NYC stage, the new songs sounded crisp and fresh and received rave rounds of applause from the audience. "Kill the Lights" oozed of sexuality with a grooving bassline, "Move" (which Bryan announced as his next single) hit hard with bombastic drums and enthusiastic vocals and even the slow burning "Strip It Down" sizzled, thanks to an illuminated disco ball that gave Irving Plaze a sensibility of a much cooler, more exclusive Southern prom.

Though this show started off like an album release party, with posters of Bryan filling the venue, glowsticks with his new record title handed out and buzz about the new release filling the air, Bryan knew how to please the dedicated fans in attendance by showing up with the hits.

After tackling "Kick the Dust Up" at the start of the show, Bryan launched in to "Play It Again" and "Roller Coaster," much to the audience's delight. He also brought out classics such as "Drink a Beer" and "I Don't Want this Night to End," which got the biggest reactions from the crowd. In particular, Bryan turned the mic to the audience for "Drink a Beer," and those in attendance carried the melody without accompaniment, creating a moment that was as intimate as it was memorable and even touching, given the song's subject matter.

After covering the seemingly unlikely tracks "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz and "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, Bryan returned to the stage for a two-song encore, comprised of his smash hits "That's My Kind of Night" and "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)."

Say what you will about Bryan or the state of country music in 2015, but this guy knows how to put on a show. From the first notes of the night to the chants of "USA" to the turn of his signature baseball hat from forward to backward to the final moments when Bryan bowed and said his goodbyes, it was a big hoedown in New York City. And that's anyone's kind of night.

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