MOOSIC — The last time Luke Bryan was in the area, he sold out the Mohegan Sun Arena in a matter of minutes, drawing a crowd of nearly 8,000.
And despite not releasing a new album since that February 2014 appearance, he drew one of the largest crowds in the history of The Pavilion at Montage Mountain on Thursday night, with roughly 19,000 rowdy country music fans showing up to “Kick the Dust Up.”
The reigning Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music (ACM) Entertainer of the Year was lowered onto the stage from an elevated platform at about 9:10 p.m., wearing a white T-shirt, black jeans and a backwards, black baseball cap as he opened with “Kick the Dust Up.”
Bryan’s latest chart-topper, which lends its name to the tour, will be featured on his new album, “Kill the Lights,” set to drop on Aug. 7. The only other new song performed on Thursday was “Huntin,’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day,” as everything else was one of the 39-year-old bro-country superstar’s hits.
Bryan and his crack six-piece band continued with his first chart success, 2007’s “All My Friends Say” and 2012’s chart-topping “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” They then kept the massive sing-along going with “Roller Coaster” and “Play It Again,” a pair of hits from the 2013 album “Crash My Party.”
Support acts Dustin Lynch and Randy Houser joined Bryan on stage for some shots of tequila and a fun version of Maroon 5’s “Sugar,” backed by the beats supplied by Bryan’s cell phone.
Bryan saluted one of his influences with a fairly faithful rendition of Alabama’s “Mountain Music” before returning to his hits with “Crash My Party” and “Games.”
Following the No. 1 hits, “Someone Else Calling You Baby” and “This Is How We Roll” (recorded with Florida Georgia Line), Bryan saluted the troops and their families.
“Without you, I couldn’t stand up here and do this on a beautiful Thursday night in Scranton, Pennsylvania,” he said. Then he said of his fans, “Because of you spending your hard-earned money for tickets and buying my records, I am the ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year, and I love you for it. Thank you so much.”
Another big hit, “Do I,” followed, and it was quite a sight as thousands of cell phones lit up during “Drink a Beer.”
Bryan finished up the main set with four more No. 1 hits: “Drunk on You,” “Rain is a Good Thing,” “I See You” and “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” which also contained snippets of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.”
The two-song encore consisted of “That’s My Kind of Night,” complete with two massive open flames on either side of the stage (probably to cook the song’s catfish dinner), and the party anthem “Country Girl (Shake it For Me).”
Apparently Thursday’s opening acts were Lynch and Houser. I say “apparently” as many of us were stuck in the worst traffic jam of the concert season. It took more than two hours to slowly climb the mountain, even with the aid of parking at PNC Field (or at the employee lot on Glenmaura National Boulevard) and taking the final portion of the journey on school buses.
Thankfully, Bryan made all the effort and frustration worthwhile.
Brad Patton has been reviewing concerts and writing about music for the Times Leader and Weekender for more than five years. He also hosts a two-hour radio show on 88.5 FM-WRKC (Radio King’s College) every Tuesday at 7 p.m.