Your guide to this summer's Iowa State Fair Grandstand concerts
The Iowa State Fair Grandstand lineups are ranked from worst to best … according to Register music reporter Matthew Leimkuehler and Iowa columnist Kyle Munson.
Casting Crowns (Aug. 9)
Following a more recent Iowa State Fair tradition, Christian rock opens the Grandstand in 2018. A four-time Grandstand alum, Casting Crowns, returns for round five on the planned-to-be-renovated stage in support of 2016’s album “The Very Next Thing.” Matthew West opens the show. Tickets cost $30, $35 or $40.
Reba McEntire (Aug. 10)
A country music icon and Iowa State Fair regular, Reba McEntire returns for the first Friday of the 2018 fair. Announced nearly a year ago, McEntire returns to one of Iowa’s biggest stages in support of her 2017 album “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope.” It’ll be the “Does He Love You” and “Fancy” singer’s seventh time performing at the Grandstand, first appearing in 1989. Chase Bryant opens. Tickets cost $50, $55 or $60.
Daughtry (Aug. 11)
“American Idol” alum Chris Daughtry and his band plan to bring a batch of new tunes to the Grandstand this year; the group dropped its fifth studio album, “Cage to Rattle,” in July. Two tracks were released in anticipation of the album, “Deep End” and “Backbone.” The group’s known also for cuts such as “It’s Not Over,” “Home” and “Waiting for Superman.” Ben Rector opens. Tickets cost $25, $30 or $35.
Old Dominion (Aug. 12)
The 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards “New Group of the Year” winner, five-piece group Old Dominion brings its “Happy Endings” world tour to east side of Des Moines on a Sunday night. The band performs notable singles such as “Song For Another Time,” “No Such Thing As A Broken Heart” and “Break Up With Him.” High Valley opens the show. Tickets cost $21, $31 or $51.
Papa Roach (Aug. 13)
This Jacoby Maddox-fronted California rock band broke out in 2000 behind the three-time Platinum selling album “Infest.” The group’s penned a number of radio rock hits, including “Last Resort,” “Scar” and “Getting Away With Murder.” The band performed in the Des Moines area earlier this year, an April show at Seven Flags Event Center. Chevelle and Bad Authority open. Ticket cost $27, $32 or $42.
Jim Gaffigan (Aug. 14)
Take a break from the tunes for a night and laugh with celebrated funny guy Jim Gaffigan. The “CBS Sunday Morning” contributor and “Jim Gaffigan Show” co-creator earned a Grammy Award nomination earlier this year for his Netflix stand-up special “Cinco.” He entertainer returns to Des Moines following a 2016 appearance at Wells Fargo Arena. Tickets cost $32, $37 or $45.
Thomas Rhett (Aug. 15)
Award-winning country pop hotshot and one-time Ashton Kutcher collaborator Thomas Rhett plays the Grandstand in support of his 2017 third studio album. "Life Changes.” Chart-topping songs from Rhett include "Crash and Burn," "It Goes Like This," "Make Me Wanna" and "Star of the Show." Son of Nashville songwriter Rhett Atkins, he’s an alumnus of some of Iowa’s biggest stages: Tree Town Music Festival in 2017, Kinnick Stadium in 2016 and, in 2013, the Iowa State Fair. Danielle Bradbery opens. Tickets cost $43, $53 or $60.
Earth, Wind & Fire (Aug. 16)
The fair welcomes a taste of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame soul on its second Thursday this year. Earth, Wind & Fire rose to international prominence in the 1970s with funk and pop-rock hits such as “Boogie Wonderland,” “September,” “Shining Star” and “After the Love Has Gone.” The group has released 23 albums, selling an estimated 100 million records worldwide. The band’s 2018 lineup features core members Philip Bailey, Verdine White and Ralph Johnson. The group’s founder, Maurice White, died in 2016 at age 74 following a battle with Parkinson's disease. 1990s celebrity Sinbad opens the show. Tickets cost $37, $42 or $47.
Sugarland (Aug. 17)
One of country’s most buzzed-about comebacks heads to Iowa’s capital city for one night at the Grandstand. A reunited Sugarland plays the fair’s premier stage in support of “Bigger,” a record dropped by the duo earlier this summer. The album features comeback single “Still The Same” and Taylor Swift collaboration “Babe.” Frankie Ballard and Lindsay Ell open the show. Tickets cost $52, $57 or $67.
Peter Cetera (Aug. 18)
A piece of famed rock group Chicago takes his solo show to the Grandstand. This marks Cetera's first solo Grandstand show, with Chicago appearing previously in the 1970s and '80s. The singer led Chicago numbers such as "Hard To Say I'm Sorry" and "If You Leave Me Now," as well as popular solo cuts like "Glory of Love" and "Forever Tonight." Blood, Sweat & Tears opens the show. Tickets cost $27, $32 or $37.
Florida Georgia Line (Aug. 19)
The Iowa State Fair closes with a night of A-list bro country in award-winning duo Florida Georgia Line. The group peaked at No. 2 earlier this year on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for Bebe Rexha collaboration “Meant To Be.” The group released its third studio album, “Dig Your Roots,” in 2016; the album features top-charting Billboard Country Airplay singles “H.O.L.Y.,” “May We All” and “God, Your Mama, and Me.” Jillian Jacqueline opens the show. Tickets cost $70, $75 or $80.
All Grandstand shows start at 8 p.m. Purchase tickets at etix.com and find more information on each artist at iowastatefair.org.