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Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show wows the Twin Cities yet again

Chris Stapleton performed at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Chris Stapleton performed at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6, 2024.Tony Nelson

by Joel Swenson and Tony Nelson

April 08, 2024

Most musicians try their best to avoid complete silence during their performances. Chris Stapleton isn’t like most musicians. Saturday’s sold-out U.S. Bank Stadium show included several extended moments of absolute quiet between songs – save the occasional “woo” from the crowd. You’d think that these pauses would immediately grind the show's momentum to a halt. Instead, they built up anticipation. Which crowd-pleasing hit would he pull out next? When a few sudden notes or chords revealed the answer, the stadium shook with cheers.

Saturday’s show marked the fourth time Stapleton’s All-American Road Show tour swept the Twin Cities by soulful storm. The lengthy tour began in May of 2017 and is scheduled to continue through the end of this year. Stapleton has released four albums and won countless awards since the tour’s first show. He has also brought nearly two dozen artists along for the ride, including Saturday’s openers Marcus King and Lainey Wilson.

Marcus King, the night’s first opener, blends soul, blues, and southern rock into a unique sound all his own. As a fourth-generation musician and son of a well-respected blues guitarist, King has natural talent coursing through his veins. His pained, rough-hewn voice carries with it every dark moment of his life, and his sorrowful, bluesy guitar licks would surely make Stevie Ray Vaughan proud. The wildly talented Marcus King Band features a horn section, drummer, guitarist, bassist, and piano player. King and Co’s. live performances are nothing short of spectacular.

Marcus King performs on stage-02
Marcus King performed at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Tony Nelson

Unfortunately, through no fault of King or his band, the mix for Saturday’s performance fell very short of spectacular. Like many opening acts before him, King fell victim to the U.S. Bank Stadium opener’s curse. With the crowd still arriving, King’s full-bodied blues licks and vibrato-soaked voice bounced off thousands of empty plastic seats, which made most of his set unintelligible. The extended bluesy jam sessions clashed into one chaotic wall of sound, and his banter was even more difficult to understand. If you have the chance to witness King’s immense talent and showmanship in a smaller venue, take it.

Thankfully, more seats were filled in when Lainey Wilson took the stage. While the sound still wasn’t ideal, it was a vast improvement. Back in November, Wilson beat out Stapleton to win the coveted Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award. By a few minutes into her set, it was clear why. Her affable and personable demeanor made the massive stadium feel more intimate, but her charisma and exceptional vocal talent deserved U.S. Bank’s scale. She made full use of the stage, constantly running from end to end while wearing a sly smile the whole show.

Lainey Wilson performs at U.S. Bank Stadium
Lainey Wilson performed at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Tony Nelson

Nearly all the songs in Wilson’s 45-minute set were from her critically acclaimed, Grammy-winning 2022 album, Bell Bottom Country. She balanced fan favorites like "Watermelon Moonshine," "Heart Like a Truck," and "Wildflowers and Wild Horses" with musical interludes of Johnny Cash's "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky," Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine," and the Rolling Stones' "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" mixed in. Wilson’s voice was flawless, and her no-frills band of a drummer, guitarist, guitarist/pianist, and bassist was tight, with each member getting their moments to shine.

As Chris Stapleton’s set time drew near, the place was packed. He wasted no time taking to the stage and immediately launched into a song co-written with Semisonic’s Dan Wilson – “White Horse,” the lead single off of 2023’s Higher. Stapleton and his band sounded great, and most issues with the mix were gone. Next, they kept the momentum going with “Parachute” and “Second to Know” before Stapleton addressed the crowd.

Chris Stapleton performs at U.S. Bank Stadium
Chris Stapleton performed at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Tony Nelson

“Hello, Minneapolis,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of you here tonight. Thanks for showing up for us. Those of you that’ve been with us before know that I’m not going to do a lot of talkin’. We’re gonna play as much music as we can in the time that we have.”

True to his word, Stapleton spoke sparingly for the rest of his two-hour set. Instead, he packed that time with 21 more songs, each more emotionally devastating than the last. Stapleton’s lived-in lyrics sung through his anguished, whiskey-soaked tenor left many fans misty-eyed at times, full-on sobbing at others, and tipsily dancing throughout. I heard a concessions worker say that the entire stadium was out of Coors Light — if that’s any indication of how much fun people were having.

Stapleton’s soulful voice really needs to be experienced live to feel its full effect. There’s an added vulnerability in person. His emotional vocal runs bring extra depth to his already oft-tragic lyrics. When he roared about “Hard Livin,’” you could almost taste hard liquor. “Whiskey and You,” left us hanging on every heartbreaking syllable. “Cold” brought out the heaviness of a relationship stalling out. Stapleton’s voice was rarely alone, though. Nearly every song featured thousands of voices from the crowd, adding their struggles to his.

About midway through his set, Stapleton “fired the band” and played a few songs by himself with just an acoustic guitar. Before “What Are You Listening To?” he fondly recalled it being the first song he ever had on the radio. (“It shot all the way up to number 46!”) “Mountains of My Mind” and “Whiskey and You” completed his acoustic set before the band returned for “Arkansas.” As soon as Stapleton played the first few notes, the crowd raucously came back to life.

Chris Stapleton sings into a microphone and strums a guitar
Chris Stapleton performed at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Saturday, April 6, 2024.
Tony Nelson

Stapleton has covered many songs, making each one his own in the process. Saturday’s set included Kevin Welch’s “Millionaire” and Guy Clark’s “Worry B Gone” Of course, there was David Allan Coe’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” one of Stapleton’s biggest hits of his career. His vocal runs in those grandiose five minutes alone could win a marathon. 

“Tennessee Whiskey” also served as Stapleton’s victory lap for the night. During an extended intro, he thanked everyone for being there, and introduced the band: JT Cure on bass, Derek Mixon on drums, Paul Franklin on pedal steel, Mike Eli LoPinto on guitar, Lee Pardini on keys, and Mickey Raphael on harmonica. Stapleton noted that Raphael has been Willie Nelson’s harmonica player for 51 years. These few minutes were the most talking he did all night, and he wasn’t actually talking. Instead, he sang the band introductions along with the song's melody, keeping his promise to keep the music going with all the time that he had.


White Horse


Second One to Know

Starting Over

Millionaires (Kevin Welch cover)


Might as Well Get Stoned

Hard Livin'

Worry B Gone (Guy Clark cover)

What Are You Listening To?

Mountains of My Mind

Whiskey and You


Midnight Train to Memphis (The SteelDrivers cover)

Think I'm in Love With You

You Should Probably Leave

Nobody to Blame


Free Bird / The Devil Named Music


Fire Away

Broken Halos

Tennessee Whiskey (David Allan Coe cover)


Outlaw State of Mind