Country duo Dan + Shay perform high energy evening of hits at a sold-out Target Center

A big takeaway from Dan + Shay’s sold out Saturday night concert at Minneapolis’ Target Center is that they’re thrilled to be back on the road.

At several points during the evening, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney stopped the action to thank the crowd, reminisce about past local shows at Mill City Nights and the Armory, thank the crowd more and give each other seemingly spontaneous hugs.

When the country shut down in March 2020, the duo had just released one of the biggest hits of their career, “10,000 Hours,” and played a mere three shows on their first-ever arena tour, which went on to be postponed twice.

While the tour finally restarted earlier this month, Saturday’s show surged with pent-up energy, both on stage and in the crowd.

Dan + Shay have found huge success on country radio, but they’re really more of a straight-up pop group, sort of like a modern Hall and Oates with the slightest hint of a twang. And the aforementioned “10,000 Hours” is a collaboration with pop superstar Justin Bieber.

Various non-Nashville elements inform their songs like “What Keeps You Up at Night” (soulful rocker), “Make or Break” (boy band smash), “Keeping Score” (power ballad), “Steal My Love” (reggae) and “Lying” (elements of hip-hop).

The pair opened the show on a small plus sign-shaped stage at the back of the fenced-off, general admission pit. They opened with “10,000 Hours,” “Alone Together” and “All to Myself” and made their way up to the main stage, which featured the backing band on two platforms and a massive screen behind them.

After tearing through seven hits, they returned to the second stage for a quick cover of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” and “Lying.” Then they went back to the main stage for a few more songs before taking a 10-minute intermission (a rarity for most arena tours).

The second half of the show opened with Dan + Shay back on the small stage, this time with a piano and acoustic guitar. They played a handful of stripped-down versions of “Give in to You,” “Glad You Exist” and “My Side of the Fence.” (Smyers changed into a Vikings T-shirt and told the crowd he’s a big fan, in part because Jared Allen is his neighbor in Nashville.)

The main set wrapped with “I Should Probably Go to Bed” followed by a three-song encore of “Speechless,” “19 You + Me” and “Tequila.” While some of the duo’s songs are a bit suspect, Mooney’s got a big, impressive voice and they both proved they have the energy and charisma to headline arenas.

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