Review: Blake Shelton eclipsed by his wife Gwen Stefani at the very country TC Summer Jam

After more diverse releases in its first two years, Twin Cities Summer Jam shifted to an almost all-male, all-country lineup for its third annual at Canterbury Park in Shakopee last weekend.

How ironic, then, that the person who ended up stealing the show at three day festival this year was a female rocker.

Gwen Stefani trotted halfway through her husband Blake Shelton’s headliner on Saturday night, and finally it felt like the gig was off to the races. Many of the 15,000 fans reacted as if they had won the Pick Six bet at the racecourse which again hosted the ambitious music festival.

The former No Doubt singer and Shelton’s “The Voice” co-star stepped out to the tune of her former band’s 1995 hit “Don’t Speak.” She stuck around for two of her recent romantic duets with Shelton, “Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere.”

The title of that last song certainly rang true given that the Californian singer had hit a horse trail in Shakopee, Minn., to be with Shelton on Saturday.

“You’re welcome, Minnesota,” her husband said after she left the stage, then deadpan self-mockery, “Now comes the part of the show where Gwen finished and I’m still here.”

Things didn’t exactly stop, but attendees who left after that to avoid traffic – made worse by road construction near Canterbury – certainly saw the best times. Shelton was also joined by his opener and pal Trace Adkins for two songs earlier in the set, although they each took hits when the other wasn’t on stage.

“The reason I drove all the way here to play is because I thought you deserved way better than Trace Adkins,” Shelton said. Adkins, meanwhile, called the headliner “Ol’ Stupid”; a name Shelton didn’t exactly disown with a few Saturday song selections (“Honey Bee” and “Boys’ Round Here”).

Due to stormy mid-afternoon weather, classic Southern rockers 38 Special — the third best-known band on Saturday’s lineup (at least for those over 58) — didn’t could occur. It made the day a twang fest, with Kentucky singer Elvie Shane outside and inside a teddy bear rounding out the main stage, while local cover band Mason Dixon Line impressively hammered hammered anthems such as “Drink in Ma Main” on the small stage.

The weather turned golden on Saturday night, but it looked like TC Summer Jam organizers were still waiting for the clouds to part after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled their 2019 plans to become the biggest show ever. the city in 2020 and 2021.

Friday’s lineup with new country star Kane Brown drew a smaller crowd of around 12,500, and only around 4,500 watched Thursday’s headlining metal tribute Hairball.

The festival still lacked non-musical entertainment (only one cornhole game at a country festival?!) and in the concessions department (not much variety or local flavor in food or alcohol). The stage, sound, and video are perhaps the only attributes of Summer Jam that are top notch.

Toya J. Bell