When Dierks Bentley pulled the trigger on his “Locked & Loaded Tour” back in 2006, the country music star had a trailblazing newcomer from Texas warming up the crowds for him.
Her name was Miranda Lambert. She was touring in support of her debut album “Kerosene,” and she wasn't yet known as country's “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
“I respect her music so much, and we both do love country music,” Bentley said in a recent phone interview from Nashville, Tenn., where he makes his home. “You know, we love the old stuff a lot. We definitely like doing different things with our sounds and go for different things. I love her show. I think she's just really cutting her own path out there, and it's tough to do that for anybody in this business, definitely for girls. But she is, and I love watching her do that every night.”
These days, Lambert, now a multiplatinum-selling, Grammy-winning Tishomingo resident, and Bentley are reunited on their “Locked & Reloaded Tour.” Although it's a co-headlining trek, Lambert is closing out the shows this time.
And her tour mate is just fine with that.
“It's kind of a flip-flop and a full circle deal certainly for her and for us, too. Just to be back on the road with her is great. I love my slot. It's great,” Bentley said. “Love the show, love the after-show, love hanging out.”
The tour is pulling into Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday and will return to Lambert's adopted home state for an April 13 show at Tulsa's BOK Center.
For the trek, Bentley is bringing along the biggest set and most high-tech production of his touring career.
“We've kind of put everything into this tour. These fans have been coming out for a lot of years and some may have already been to the first tour, the first ‘Locked & Loaded' back in 2006, so we wanted to make this real special for 'em. So we really put a lot of time and money into the video content and the set piece itself. ... For the guys in the band, it's fun to get there every night and be on the stage and have the kind of show we've always dreamed of having,” he said, sniffling en route to a pharmacy to pick up some allergy medicine.
“The show just really feels like it's a new level for us. So that's exciting, and you kind of take that into the recording studio — that excitement, that momentum — and I think it helps when you're making a record to have a live platform to kind of take it from.”
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Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley's ‘Locked & Reloaded Tour'