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The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

South Dakota State University's Independent Student-Run Newspaper Since 1885

The Collegian

Area’s concert scene offers decent choices

Christian Larson
Country music artist Carly Pearce performs at the South Dakota State Fair grandstand on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Huron.

South Dakota’s music scene is often overlooked.

You might not live near Sioux Falls or Rapid City, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t live music near you. There’s a wide variety of local, regional, and national acts that come to South Dakota each year and a lot of them you can see for cheap or sometimes free. 

Over Labor Day weekend, I saw two country artists in concert: The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks) at the Denny Sanford Center in Sioux Falls, and Carly Pearce at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron. This was my second time seeing The Chicks, and my first time seeing Pearce. 

The Chicks, who are best known for their chart-topping hits, “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Goodbye Earl” and “Wide Open Spaces,” are the most successful all-female group in country music history. Their stop in Sioux Falls on Sept. 3 marked the group’s first solo headlining concert in South Dakota. 

During their hour-and-a-half performance, the group played a 22-song set that consisted of songs from their 1998 major-label debut album, Wide Open Spaces, all the way to their most recent album, Gaslighter, which was released in 2020. The group didn’t get to tour Gaslighter when it was released due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so a majority of the setlist consisted of songs from that project. 

The Chicks were at their strongest when performing their signature songs. A lot of those songs offered a more high-energy instrumentation and familiarity which created a stronger audience-to-artist connection in comparison to their newer songs. The setlist could’ve benefited from some older songs that fans would recognize like “There’s Your Trouble,” and “You Were Mine.” 

The following night, I saw Pearce, who is one of the biggest female acts in country music at the moment. Pearce, best known for her chart-topping hits, “Every Little Thing,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now” and “What He Didn’t Do,” headlined the grandstand at the State Fair in Huron. This marked Pearce’s first solo headlining concert in South Dakota. 

During her hour-and-a-half performance, Pearce played a 17-song set that consisted of her biggest hits, fan-favorite deep cuts and new music that will appear on her upcoming fourth studio album (release date TBA). 

Kicking off the show was, “Diamondback,” which was the opening song to Pearce’s most recent album, 29. From there the audience went on a journey through Pearce’s musical career. The crowd was engaged the entire performance and Pearce interacted with multiple fans by signing merchandise and taking selfies. 

The highlights of the show were seeing Pearce perform her four country radio No. 1 singles: “Every Little Thing,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” “Never Wanted to Be That Girl” and “What He Didn’t Do.” which the crowd knew all the words to.

Before playing her final song of the evening, Pearce said, “All I ever wanted to do was sing country music and have people sing my words back to me,” which she achieved during her perfor-mance, but specifically during those songs.

If you enjoy going to concerts like I do, I highly recommend frequently checking social media pages for venues across the state. A lot of concerts I’ve attended in South Dakota weren’t heavily promoted or advertised, so I was able to secure tickets for an affordable price without having to worry about the concert selling out.

Since a lot of these shows are smaller or don’t always draw the biggest crowd, I’ve found that there’s a lot of good opportunities to see these artists up close, and even have a chance of meeting them.

If you’re looking for any events to attend in the Brookings and Sioux Falls area, I’ve created a list of upcoming events for the remainder of 2023 at various venues.

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    BrovoldSep 14, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Is the list not available online?