Keith Urban – Minnesota State Fair Grandstand – August 26th, 2023

Lens on Music at the Fair 2023 by Patrick Dunn

The weather may have shifted towards cooler temperatures for Day 3 at the Minnesota State Fair, but the country heat from last night’s show by The Chicks remained intact with a first rate headlining performance on the grandstand stage by Keith Urban. There was a noticeable uptick in the amount of people throughout the fairgrounds, which is partly due to it being the first Saturday of the fair, but I believe Urban was a solid draw that contributed nicely. Supporting act Lindsay Ell was a wonderful match being a standout guitarist in her own right.

It’s great to see the exceptional grandstand lineup for this year getting the attention it deserves and I couldn’t be more excited to be getting a chance to document some of the great moments that have already been taking place. I do have to put in my annual plug for all of the other great music happening on the “free” stages throughout the fairgrounds. Some of my favorite moments every year happen on some random day sometime in the afternoon usually at the Leinie Lodge stage, which is just completely unexpected by nature.

That moment for this season happened today thanks to a thrilling and inspired performance by Mychael Gabriel. Please scroll down and check out the gallery for this show and I think you’ll agree that this man knows how to entertain! He absolutely should be the next big success story to emerge from our famed “Minneapolis Sound”. The impact Prince had on this artist is unmistakable and there are plenty of other easily identifiable influences from the area including The Time, but there are also some less direct nuances that can lead you to think of other performers like Bruno Mars. As if the show itself wasn’t exciting enough, one of our scene’s best known musicians Sheila E. made her way to the front of the stage and grabbed a microphone to callout what a great moment we had all just witnessed. She praised Gabriel’s efforts and talent, encouraging us to spread the word in support of what he’s set out to accomplish. We also learned that his most direct influence was standing right there speaking through that microphone as Gabriel also happens to be her Godchild.

Keith Urban

Lindsay Ell

Mychael Gabriel