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Luke Bryan Opens Vegas Residency With Tons of Hits, Jokes About Masks, and Lots of Ass Shaking

Luke Bryan showed Las Vegas his kind of night when the country star kicked off his residency at Resorts World on Friday. It was a spectacle that featured top-end technology, pyrotechnics, a slew of No. 1 songs, and a whole lot of ass-shaking.

In a press conference prior to the concert, Bryan promised a “high energy” show with “big hits.”

“I need to really, really knock it out of the park and compete with the biggest entertainers in the world,” Bryan told reporters. “When you come to Vegas you can be a big, big country star, but you get thrown in the pot with everybody, all forms of music, all genres.”

During the 100-minute production, Bryan proved he can hang on the Strip, channeling his inner Vegas entertainer — more in line with his fellow American Idol judge Katy Perry, who opened her residency last year, than the Seventies schmaltz of Wayne Newton. He shook his derrière during “Knockin’ Boots,” popped open a cold one during “Drink a Beer” (his still stunning ballad written by Chris Stapleton), and leaned into a lounge vibe for a pair of piano numbers, “Strip It Down” and “Do I.” For a performance of his 2021 single “Waves,” Bryan dialed up the production, activating a three-tiered moving stage, smoke machines, and water visuals on oversized screens.

For his finale, he and his band performed from a catwalk lifted 45 feet into the air, offering guests in higher levels of the theater the best seats in the house.

Luke Bryan performs at Resorts World in Las Vegas on Friday, Feb. 11.

John Shearer*

But more than any outsized set pieces, Bryan’s ace card remained his vast catalog of instantly recognizable songs. He belted out hits like “One Margarita,” “Play It Again,” and “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset,” and, aware that he couldn’t play all of his 28 Number Ones, mixed a few into a medley: “Drunk on Summertime,” “Crash My Party,” “Down to One,” “Someone Else Calling You Baby,” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.”

Compared to other Las Vegas residencies that have premiered over the past two years, Bryan’s opening lacked one thing: a masked crowd. On Thursday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak lifted the state’s mask mandate, making face coverings almost nonexistent among the 5,000 fans in the Resorts World Theatre.

“I’d like to take some personal credit getting rid of the mask mandate,” Bryan told the crowd. “I feel like the governor saw that we’re all coming here and he was just like, ‘Ah fuck it.’”

Bryan’s residency continues tonight, with additional shows slated through February. He’ll return to Vegas this summer for performances in June, August, and September.

Setlist:
“That’s My Kind of Night”
“All My Friends Say”
“One Margarita”
“Knockin’ Boots”
“Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset”
“Roller Coaster”
“Waves”
“What Makes you Country”
“Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”
“Kick the Dust Up”
“Rain Is a Good Thing”
“Drunk on You/Crash My Party”
“Down to One”
“Calling you Baby/Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”
“Strip It Down”
“Do I”
“Drink a Beer”
“Move”
“Play It Again”
“Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”
“I Don’t Want This Night to End”


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