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.

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.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

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.