Dan + Shay find the right formula for concert success

Dan + Shay are obsessed with the plus sign.

Not only is it in the nickname for the hottest duo in country music, it’s their de facto logo, an icon across much of their merch (dig those socks covered in ++++), and the shape from their satellite stage Saturday night at Sold -Out Target Center in Minneapolis.

The plus sign can be used to explain Dan + Shay’s success as Grammy Award-winning recording artists: heartbreaking lyrics + lush harmonies + remarkable hair + dark-haired beauty.

The plus sign can also be used to explain the success of Dan + Shay’s performance at Target Center: incurable romance + boundless energy + eager enthusiasm to please + imaginative production.

With his luxury tenor, Shay Mooney has Nashville’s finest male voice since Vince Gill, but with more reach and depth. It almost sounded like Freddie Mercury on Saturday on “I Should Probably Go To Bed” and soared to the chorus of “Speechless,” Dan + Shay’s powerful ballad filled with lyrics about love, romance and devotion. .

Mooney was much more physical and demonstrative than during the duo’s 2019 performance at the Armory in Minneapolis. It was pretty obvious at Target Center that the lead singer, 29, had a lot of brotherly love for Dan Smyers, 34, the songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who provided the vocal harmonies and played the guitar and piano on stage.

On Saturday, the overly exuberant Smyers tried hard to play the laid back rock star, with skinny jeans, a Prince & the Revolution tee and a Robert Plant hairstyle circa 1974, puffed up by a fan on the floor as Beyonce uses in concert. .

A hypeman with plenty of energy, Smyers might have barely passed Mooney when it came to flattering comments on Saturday. How many times can you tell 14,000 fans that they are the loudest singers and craziest audience ever? Prince T was a cute nod to Minneapolis, but then switching to an intermission Vikings t-shirt and bragging about his next-door neighbor in Nashville, ex-Viking Jared Allen, felt smooth.

Speaking of the intermission, that was one of the only downsides to a perks show. Since there were two opening acts, the hour-long break in Dan + Shay’s set seemed unnecessary, especially since Act II – a nice balance of stripped-down tunes and big hits from the full band. – only lasted 40 minutes.

Otherwise, the production was impressively creative for the headlining couple’s first foray into the arena. Using the plus-shaped stage in the middle of the room for three different segments (including the opening) not only created more privacy but also more variety. The main stage was minimalist, with four back-up musicians on risers and a triptych video wall with lyrics, live video, and engaging graphics.

Even though their musical aesthetic is more Air Supply (the 1980s yacht rock duo) than Brooks & Dunn (the enduring country duo), Dan + Shay have the right instinct to entertain modern day country crowds. Give them another plus – a B + for their first arena tour.

Colorado-raised singer-songwriter Ingrid Andress delivered one of the most moving opening performances ever seen in an arena. “Thank you for making me cry for the first time on stage,” she said after her fifth and final song.

What happened was when she sang her hit song “More Hearts Than Mine” – about how romance involves relationships with her whole family – the crowd spontaneously waved lighted cell phones. And she cried with her parents, who live in Grand Marais, Minn., In attendance.

“This has never happened to me before,” Andress said at the end of the song. “It was quite beautiful. I think I will retire now.”

She probably shouldn’t. With his pop reminiscent of Sara Bareilles, Andress has a promising future in both country and pop.

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