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August 30, 2014
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Star Struck

American Idol Phillip Phillips brought his fans to tears opening for John Mayer at Bethel Woods.


That said, his forte is clearly the music and once again, shrieking, weeping females were pressed as close to the stage as possible, pleading for a glance in their direction, behaving in ways I have not observed since the “British Invasion”(britishinvasionbands.com/the-bands/). At first, I didn’t get it, but the more photos I took, even I had to admit that Mayer deservedly comes by his “pretty boy” status. Good bone structure and a pouty mouth have clearly served him well and made him a poster boy of pop music for millions of fans all over the world. Not one to rely strictly on his looks, Mayer takes his music seriously and has received praise for collaborating with some heavy hitters in the industry (Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Herbie Hancock) which upped his street-cred substantially, elevating him beyond his Ken-doll status.

And then there’s Luke Bryan. The country singer’s rise to superstar status has been so swift and meteoric that much of the world is still catching up. Bryan last appeared in Sullivan County in 2012, as the opening act for Jason Aldean and (as of five days ago) has the No. one album and single on the Billboard 200 charts with “Crash My Party,” featured here last week during his “Dirt Road Diaries” tour. Again, sex seems to be a major component for this performer, and while I appreciate the appeal that drew the fastest sell-out in the history of the venue, I’m not sure that I need to be hit over the head with it. He’s clearly a showman of epic proportions, and the crowd was wildly enthusiastic, the screaming deafening and the hysteria (at times) a bit over the top. Bryan’s swagger, while possibly justified, wasn’t quite as humble as I would have liked, but it was clear that his fans had no complaints, and I don’t believe that I’m necessarily in the demographic that Luke is trying to reach. Was he entertaining? No doubt. Was the show explosive? Absolutely. Is the man himself sincere? I wonder. I have to give credit where credit is due and tip my hat to all of these performers, who are clearly giving their audience what they want. As for me, I once saw Frank Sinatra perform... and that show had me star struck. Just sayin’.