Three years ago, it was clear that country-pop duo Dan + Shay would one day headline the Fiserv Forum. Then the duo opened for Chris Young at the Milwaukee Bucks Arena’s debut country concert, and fans were apparently more excited to hear Dan + Shay’s new hits “Speechless” and “Tequila” than anything on it. in Young’s list.
Almost 18 months later than expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dan + Shay finally headlined the Fiserv Forum on Friday, as part of “The Arena Tour”.
They didn’t get to this point in their careers being daring like tequila. In reality, moon-eyed singer-songwriters Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney are more like wine coolers – sweet, refreshing, barely intoxicating.
But it’s hard to deliver a solid arena show on the energy of wine coolers. So on Friday, Dan + Shay dubbed the drama behind their love songs, buttering the crowd, and borrowing nifty production elements from their pop-star contemporaries. (Their manager, Scooter Braun, also guides the careers of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.)
A band who are traditionally comfortable with medium to slow tempo ballad, Dan + Shay didn’t even dare to incorporate tropical sound elements into their 2018 track “Island Time”, which made the set list of Friday. But the simple, straightforward arrangements ensure that the pop hooks and song lyrics stand out, especially live.
And there are dozens of open-hearted, heavy lines that the nearly full crowd gleefully devoured on Friday, and which the duo (lead singer Mooney in particular) delivered with gusto. For “From the Ground Up” he sang about a baby with 10 tiny toes that looked like mom, and about grandma and grandpa living a sweet life in the same little house for 65 years. For “Glad You Exist,” he sang how, among the billions of people on Earth, he defied the odds and ended up with the right one.
This latest song appears on Dan + Shay’s new album “Good Things”, and the band takes a small step out of their sonic comfort zone. And that made the live show more engaging in the process. “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” the band’s most daring song to date, draws its power from Mooney’s springy vocals and Smyers’ grand piano melodies.
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On Friday, however, this song took on even more power due to a deafening chant from the crowd. Smyers was so struck by the vocal power of the crowd that he made them repeat a verse again under the glow of bright lights.
And that was the only element to becoming an arena-filling act Dan + Shay cherished the most on Friday after years of opening up for other acts in Milwaukee.
A neat show helped to ignite the crowd. After a ridiculous opening video that showed lightning bolts, blooming flowers and Smyers in silhouette with curly hair fluttering in the breeze, the duo appeared on a cross-shaped stage in the middle of the arena floor for their Justin Bieber’s loving collaboration “10,000 Hours.”
And while most bands use the secondary stage in the middle of the crowd for a few songs, Dan + Shay has returned there several times, singing eight of the night’s 23 songs surrounded by enthusiastic fans and singers.
Each song was also accompanied by sharp video elements, and the group released cross-shaped confetti for the grand finale “Tequila”.
Smyers and Mooney appeared to be moved by the audience’s adoration on Friday, seemingly wiping away tears, slapping their chests and hugging each other. They pointed out at least a dozen times that this audience was the loudest they had ever had and that it was the happiest night of their lives.
Do they say that to all the crowds? Probably. But like a good tequila (or wine cooler), Dan + Shay’s Milwaukee fans couldn’t get enough.
The Camino group and Ingrid Andress open the show
Dan + Shay brought two other bands from Tennessee on this tour, and like the duo, they’re not outright country either.
The Band Camino isn’t country at all, more sonically aligned with The 1975 and other electro-pop rock bands infatuated with the ’80s.
But lyrically, they’re trapped in an unhappy state of mind; Jeffrey Jordan literally sang that he never gets what he wants for the first song in the set. The whining, the lack of sharp hooks or lyrical details that got to the heart of the misery, got tedious pretty quickly on a 30-minute set on Friday.
That said, the band performed a song from their self-titled two-week-long debut album – “1 Last Cigarette” – which ditched the intrigues of the lover who did me wrong in favor of introspective and interesting lyrics that take stock. on some self-destructive behavior.
“On the piano for sadder songs,” Ingrid Andress said sarcastically and bravely in the middle of her 20-minute set. “This is exactly what you want on a Friday night.”
It turned out to be the case. Reminiscent of Sara Bareilles a bit, Andress generally has more at stake in her lyrics than the male songwriters on the poster, especially for her latest issue “Lady Like,” a sneaky subversion that defies society’s expectations of her gender. , and felt radical juxtaposed with all the other songs of the night. But based on the vocals, the young, predominantly female crowd could clearly identify with each other.
- Dan + Shay made sure to say hello to the Bucks on Friday, with Shay Mooney wearing a Bucks jacket for the first hour, Dan Smyers wearing a Bucks shirt for the final half hour and Smyers at one point giving the crowd the floor for conduct a “Bucks in six” chant.
- They weren’t the only ones in the group who winked at Milwaukee with their wardrobes. Touring guitarist Justin Richards wore a Harley-Davidson shirt.
- About an hour into filming, a 10-minute intermission stopped the momentum, followed by a Siri-like voice (with a British accent) that half-jokingly encourages people to use the break to buy some merchandise.
- Dan + Shay mentioned “10,000 hours” twice in their hour and 40 minute streak. But judging by the loud vocals from the second time around, the crowd rather enjoyed the recovery.
- If you do the math, 10,000 hours is a little over 416 days. But to finally see Dan + Shay on the delayed Friday show, fans ended up waiting 12,744 hours, the Fiserv Forum marketing team calculated.
The list of sets
1. “10,000 hours”
2. “Alone together”
3. “Everything for me”
4. “What keeps you from sleeping at night”
5. “Make or break”
6. “Nothing like you”
7. “Keep the score”
8. “From the base”
11. “Lean On Me” (Bill Withers cover) / “Lying”
12. “Good things”
13. “Steal my love”
14. “How not to do”
15. “Island time”
16. “Give in to you”
17. “Glad you exist”
18. “My side of the fence”
19. “10,000 hours”
20. “I should probably go to bed”
22. “19 You + Me”
Piet also talks about concerts, local music and more on “TAP’d In” with Evan Rytlewski. Listen to it at 8 p.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9) or wherever you get your podcasts.