Country music superstar Tim McGraw is returning to Minnesota for the first time since the hit Brothers of the Sun tour stop with Kenny Chesney at Target Field in 2012 to close out the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand series on Labor Day.
McGraw's gig at the Great Minnesota-Get Together is the first of only a handful of dates on his Two Roads to Freedom tour before he and wife-musical collaborator Faith Hill begin a month-long engagement at The Venetian in Las Vegas in late October.
Opening the State Fair show for McGraw is Brantley Gilbert.
McGraw earned high praise from the Salt Lake City Tribune during a Utah tour stop in June, mainly because his show was more about substance than flash.
"As country shows become pyrotechnics blowouts with a live soundtrack, McGraw has gone the other way," wrote Tribune critic, Bill Oram. "He had a band, a guitar (sometimes), a four-story video screen and whole lot of hits."
McGraw also impressed the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel critic Erik Ernst in his Summerfest show in July, and he was a huge hit with his audience, too.
"A seasoned performer who still has one of country music's most emotive voices, McGraw was playful and gregarious with the large crowd that filled all but a few sections of the bleachers," Ernst wrote.
Playing the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday is Mumford & Sons. On the road with their "Full English Tour, the hit London-based folk group is still riding high on the success of their album “Babel,” which made its debut at No. 1 on the Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.
The group resumed touring last Monday in Toronto after taking a break from the road when bassist Ted Dwane underwent brain surgery in June to remove a blood clot.
The band received a mixed put mostly positive review of the show from the Toronto Star, as critic Nick Krewen said the flow of the show was uneven until it kicked in at the 70-minute mark.
Krewen wrote that the end of the show was "exhilarating," and it was a "satisfying show" overall, noting the concert was a "reassurance that specialized acoustic music can still find a home with a mainstream success — if it’s the right music."
Country star Taylor Swift brings her "Red" tour to the Xcel Energy Center Saturday and Sunday, with Ed Sheeran and Casey James opening the shows.
Swift impressed The Hollywood Reporter music critic Rebecca Ford during her stop at Staples Center in Los Angeles last month, who wrote the singer-songwriter has grown stronger in on-stage presence and showmanship.
Ford said Swift also peppered with show with love stories, but noted that wasn't always an advantage.
"While the stories were an appropriate fit for the audience, they often went two minutes too long and brought down the energy of the show," Ford wrote.
Also coming this week in concert:
Classic rockers Foreigner play the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel Showroom Friday in Prior Lake.
Hit indie duo the Indigo Girls play the O'Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine University in St. Paul Saturday.
On the comedy stage, "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno plays Treasure Island Resort & Casino Saturday in Welch.