Garth Brooks' record-breaking 11-night residency at the Target Center in 2014 proved the huge appetite there is for country in Minnesota, and Keith Urban reaped the rewards Saturday night.
The Australian star is a regular visitor to the Twin Cities and he played to a sold-out, 13,000-capacity crowd as his Ripcord World Tour made a stop in Minneapolis.
Kicking off a sprawling set with "Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)," from this year's more pop-rock oriented album Ripcord, and ending 20 songs later with "Raise 'Em Up," the 49-year-old was a hit at Target Center.
The Star Tribune called him a "consistent crowd pleaser" in Middle America, saying: "He sings good, looks even better, has catchy tunes full of optimism, love and good vibes, and he’s even a pretty mean shredder on guitar."
Noting that Urban's flirtation with the pop-rock genre made it almost feel like a Bon Jovi or Journey concert, reviewer Chris Riemenschneider said: "It was just hard to see why he’s still classified as a country artist."
The Pioneer Press' Ross Raihala was effusive in his praise, declaring the show "his finest local arena gig to date," saying Urban and his band "were having a blast."
"An arena headliner for a dozen years now, Urban only seems to get better with each tour," he wrote.
Duluth is the next city to get their taste of Urban's sprawling back catalog, when he plays the AMSOIL Arena on the shores of Lake Superior Sunday evening.
Here's what fans had to say about Saturday's performance, and look ahead to Sunday's.