GRAND FORKS – Country music superstar Thomas Rhett turned the Alerus Center into the biggest bar in town on Thursday evening, Sept. 29, with his “Bring the Bar to You Tour.” Thousands of fans filled the floor of the Alerus to see the “Slow Down Summer” singer.
“Grand Forks, you feeling good?” he asked the large and loud audience.
The show marked Rhett’s fourth appearance at the Alerus Center.
Rhett is a five-time Grammy Award nominee. His six studio albums have produced 19 hit singles. His most recent album, “Where We Started,” was released in April and debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
The last time Rhett was in Grand Forks was 2018. Jasmine Welke, at Thursday night’s show, remembers it well. In 2018, she and her friend Libby Koerber — eighth-graders at the time — saw Rhett perform. This time around, they are freshmen at UND and tickets to the show were Welke’s 18th birthday present.
At the concert with her family and Koerber, Welke was buzzing with excitement before Rhett took the stage.
“I love hearing about his family and his life story,” said Welke. “He’s a good performer.”
“And she thinks he’s cute,” said Welke’s mom, Kara Welke.
Rhett has four daughters and often shares photos of his family on social media. His most recent album was inspired by his family, friends and his love of the outdoors.
The audience filled in during openers Conner Smith and Parker McCollum, two rising stars in country music. Each played for about a half hour, singing original songs and covers of classic country hits to raise the energy in the room. After Smith’s set, he set up camp near the merchandise table and a line of giddy fans waited to meet him.
By the time Rhett took the stage just after 9 p.m., the floor of the Alerus Center was packed with people ready to sing and dance. Early in his show, Rhett promised the audience he would play a selection of songs from his six albums, which span a period of 10 years.
“New songs, old songs, all the songs,” he said.
And he delivered. During his set, Rhett played songs from his new album, like “Half of Me” and “Church Boots,” as well as older fan favorites like “Life Changes” and “Get Me Some Of That.”
Rhett matched his high-energy songs with an equally energetic performance, and when he was not playing his guitar, he was interacting with fans — signing cowboy hats, taking selfies on audience members’ phones and giving high fives.
Smith and McCollum returned to the stage during Rhett’s set to help sing “Beer Can’t Fix.”
Rhett’s “Bring the Bar to You Tour” is a 30-plus run of shows produced by Live Nation and presented by Dos Primos, a tequila brand of which Rhett is co-founder.
Along with five Grammy nominations, Rhett has eight Academy of Country Music awards, two Country Music Association awards and trophies from the Country Music Television Awards and Billboard Awards.
The next concert at the Alerus Center is Chris Stapelton’s All American Roadshow on Oct. 6. Tickets are on sale now.