An audience of about 1,500 took in the penultimate date of Dan + Shay’s Obsessed Tour at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland on Friday. Fans were evenly divided between couples on date nights and giddy groups of women who screamed as if they were watching Nashville’s version of a boy band.
The hit-making duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney provided young fans with plenty of reasons to make noise during its celebratory 80-minute outing. Backed by a capable four-piece band, the men displayed winning personalities and expressed gratitude to supportive fans and music industry insiders.
The staffs of area country radio stations were repeatedly thanked by name, a gesture that was simultaneously sincere and surreal. Although songs from Dan + Shay’s two albums receive country radio airplay, most of the duo’s hits resemble the output of lite-rock groups of the 1970s like Air Supply. A bit bolder on Friday, the duo’s concert included note-perfect renditions of rock standards by Bon Jovi and the Killers.
Beginning with the use of Kanye West’s hip-hop anthem “All of the Lights” as entrance music, Dan + Shay displayed a refreshing disregard for country conventions. Much like Taylor Swift, Dan + Shay seems like a covert pop act that has elected to plant its flag in country territory out of expedience.
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A version of the recent Rascal Flatts hit “I Like the Sound of That” was telling. Mooney and Meghan Trainor co-wrote the song that alludes to a romantic encounter partly inspired by the music of the pop star Justin Timberlake. “Lately” and “Show You Off” were among the silly love songs on the set list that contained only faint traces of twang.
Readings of “When I Pray For You,” a tender ode to an unborn child, and “From the Ground Up,” a song about unwavering commitment to family, weren’t the only references to domestic bliss. Smyers proudly announced that his fiancée “was born and raised right here in Kansas City.”
The only thing that didn’t go according to plan on Friday was the response to Smyers’ plea for silence as Mooney displayed his burnished voice on the soul-steeped “Obsessed” during an acoustic segment. His request went unheeded by effusive carousers. (Working in a solo-acoustic format, opening act Jackie Lee was also roundly ignored by much of the audience.)
Intermittent inattentiveness aside, the audience’s adoration indicated that the duo’s lack of stylistic allegiance is an asset. The next time Dan + Shay are in Kansas City, they might be in a position to thank representations of pop radio stations.
DAN + SHAY SET LIST
Nothin' Like You
Stop, Drop + Roll
You Give Love a Bad Name
Show You Off
What You Do to Me
When I Pray For You
From the Ground Up
Can't Say No
I Like the Sound of That
How Not To
How Not To (acoustic version)
19 You + Me