What you need to know before seeing Blake Shelton in Des Moines this week
Blake Shelton performed at surprise show at Ole Red, his bar on Lower Broadway. Nashville Tennessean
The year’s arena concert season kicks off Thursday in Des Moines with a night hosted by country megastar Blake Shelton.
“The Voice” judge and “Ol’ Red” singer returns to the Hawkeye State as part of his “Friends and Heroes” tour, a run of spring dates with support from familiar names to dedicated country radio fans.
The show stops one-night only at Wells Fargo Arena, turning Iowa’s largest indoor venue into an arena-sized honky tonk. Headed to the show? Here’s what you need to know.
The 'Friends and Heroes' tour
Who’re these friends and heroes Shelton’s boasting? Rising country pop singer Lauren Alaina opens the bill. Known for No. 1 Billboard country airplay singles “What Ifs” (a Kane Brown duet) and “Road Less Traveled,” Alaina returns to the arena following a slot supporting Jason Aldean in 2018.
But that’s not all. In previous stops, Shelton integrates childhood country idols Trace Adkins (“Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”) the Bellamy Brothers (“Let Your Love Flow") and John Anderson ("Swingin'") into the set. The group shares the stage throughout the show.
Still, you’ll hear Shelton hits. “Ol’ Red,” “Some Beach,” “Boys 'Round Here” and “Honey Bee” — the Oklahoma native dues his duty in delivering fan-favorite singalongs.
What critics are saying
The tour’s earned positive reviews from critics in Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Buffalo.
Playing to a snowy Sprint Center crowd in Kansas City last month, the Kansas City Star wrote: “Shelton pledged that he’d “never forget” the determination of fans who made the treacherous trek to Friday’s concert. The presence of Shelton’s auspicious friends and heroes made their efforts worthwhile.”
Kicking off the tour in his home state, The Oklahoman praised Shelton’s “mysterious” night: “(He) promised ‘a celebration of country music,’ and for 2½ hours, he delivered, with some delightful help.”
And, in New York, one writer said Shelton captivated audiences for nearly three hours: “He took the crowd through it all with high energy, easy-going banter and good humor.”
Last time in Iowa
Shelton last played the Hawkeye State in 2016, at the first-ever Kinnick Stadium concert in Iowa City. The show, put on by Dallas Clark and Ashton Kutcher to benefit local nonprofit The Native Fund, brought 45,000 to the Iowa stadium.
In Des Moines, Shelton appeared at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand in 2008 alongside Tracy Lawrence.
All who plan to attend the show pass through a full-body metal detector prior to entering the arena. Arena officials suggest show-goers plan for additional time to enter the building. Music begins at 7 p.m., the events center website says.
Iowa Events Center security protocol prohibits items such as drugs and illegal substances, weapons of any type, and outside food or drink to enter the arena for shows. A full breakdown of what can and can’t be brought in is listed at iowaeventscenter.com.
Parking and tickets
Tickets cost $49, $89 or $129 before fees and are still available at the time of publication. Tickets can be purchased via Hy-VeeTix.com, at the Wells Fargo Arena box office or at participating Des Moines and Ames Hy-Vee locations.
The Iowa Events Center offers event parking lots north of Wells Fargo Arena for $10 per vehicle on a first-come, first-served basis. Metered street parking, and ramps, varying in cost, can be found throughout downtown. A full list of parking options can be found at downtowndesmoines.com.
Blake Shelton's 'Friends and Heroes' tour
Who: Blake Shelton, Lauren Alaina, Trace Adkins, the Bellamy Brothers and John Anderson
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Wells Fargo Arena, 233 Center St.