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Music review

Luke Bryan delivers a bash studded by ballads

MANSFIELD — If you attempted to compress the stereotypical spring break experience into just a few hours it would probably feel something like Luke Bryan’s show Sunday at the Comcast Center complete with steamy temperatures, loud music, sprayed beer, wet T-shirts, sunburns, and regret.

That last bit came in a clutch of rueful piano ballads the Georgia native managed to shoehorn into what was otherwise an all-party, all-the-time 95 minute set that delighted the sold-out crowd. Bryan shimmied, shook, and slithered his way across the stage, belting out his biggest hits as well as those of some other folks.

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In fact, for someone who has several albums to his own credit, Bryan mixed in a lot of snippets of pop (Maroon 5), hip-hop (Diddy, Nelly), and hard rock (Metallica) covers into what was nominally a country show. (And one helping celebrate Boston country station WKLB’s 20th year on the air.) As the lights flashed, the video screens flickered, and his charismatic six-man band went toe-to-toe with him, Bryan worked hard but wore it lightly. He spent most of “Suntan City” taking pictures with fans’ cellphones — there were so many onstage a roadie had to come out and toss them all back. When Bryan wasn’t slapping hands he was flashing a congenial smile and doing his best to enliven programmatic tunes like “Country Man” and “Drunk On You.”

Florida Georgia Line, who drew huge cheers in their early set and a massive sing-along to their crossover smash “Cruise,” joined Bryan for a medley of tunes including “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot, and “The Joker” by Steve Miller.

The night’s best moments came during the swampy “Muckalee Creek Water” and in the aforementioned ballads when Bryan took a breath, sat at the piano, and dug into songs like “Too Damn Young.”

Toward the end of the night Bryan doffed his cap and took a moment to remember the Boston Marathon tragedy and sported a “Boston Strong” T-shirt during his encore.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman.
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