Usher – Minnesota State Fair – St. Paul MN – August 31st

Usher last played the Twin Cities back in 2014.  For those who were at that show, they know if paled in comparison to last night’s show at the State Fair.  Considering the whole buy one, get one, sale for this concert, there was a lot of doubt circling how this was going to go.  Not to mention the fact that the ticket prices were popping up at $97 a piece.  But this show was nothing like his last appearance in Minnesota.

The Fair was smart in making the whole ground general admission and throwing in an ego ramp, as it appeared much more full and gave the show a more intimate and fun feel.  It felt like a party.  The choreographing was insane.  I must have mentioned at least ten times how well everyone on stage could dance.  If you didn’t know any of the music, you simply could have watched the show for the dancing alone.  It was really a sight to behold.
One of my main upsides (and overall smart moves) of this concert was Lil’ Jon.  I don’t think the show would have been as successful as it was without him.  He was a good contrast to Usher.  They shared the stage so well together, but were different enough that it brought a lot to the audience.  Usher opened strong with “U Don’t Have to Call”, “OMG” and “Love in This Club”.  It was then that Lil’ Jon came onstage, dressed in a MN Twins sweatshirt with the well known, “Get Low” and LMFAO’s “Shots”.  The energy of the audience increased tenfold at the point and the party really got started.
Usher than filled the remainder of the show with a mix of slower tunes and the more upbeat (“My Boo”, “I Need a Girl”), including the shirtless, “Confessions Part II”.  There was a great point where Lil’ Jon yelled, “Now, that’s REAL singing!” which we found so funny, considering the source.  I loved that.  Love Lil’ Jon.
The 75 minute set ended with the hit, “Yeah” which had incredibly high energy on behalf of those onstage and in the audience.  Lil Jon included a small segment of “Turn Down for What” within it, which I wanted him to play SO badly.  It was a fantastic end to a very high energy show.  There was an encore of David Guetta’s “Without You”, however.  Although it was good and sent a very positive message, I have never been a fan of quieter encores.  I just like leaving on a high energy or louder note.
In the end, I wish the show had been a little longer.  Even 90 minutes would have been better, but in all honestly, I can’t complain too much.  Dancing the way everyone onstage did for that long, I’d be off in 75 minutes too.  I was also watching and hoping he would do one of his Prince covers, because hey, Minnesota.  Everyone that comes here seems to do a Prince cover and it would have been a great addition to the show.  I’ve seen him do an amazing cover of “Adore” and that would have fit well into the slower part of the show.  Usher certainly redeemed himself with this show though.  It was truly a lot of fun.
Review Tracy Hansen – photos Kyle Hansen