As a feat of State Fair endurance, this year I'm attending all 12 Grandstand shows. My interest in these shows ranges from mild to nonexistent. Make sure to check in each day as I lose more and more of myself to this misguided task.
Day 7: Old Dominion
9:08—Old Dominion take the stage to a full Grandstand.
9:09—It took me 56 minutes to get to the fair today— a brisk trip, actually.
9:11—The crowd is engaging in a real hootenanny. Old Dominion fans are by far the most enthusiastic crowd at the Grandstand thus far.
9:22—I had my third Pronto Pup of the fair today. I’ve had cheese curds, fried pickles, an egg roll on a stick, tacos, crab cakes, a pork chop, fried pepperoni chips, spicy shaved ice—I’m killing myself with food. This is a cry for help.
9:26—Old Dominion have a habit of extending the ends of their three-minute country songs into tedious, unnecessary jams. These guys need a shot clock.
9:32—The music is becoming deadly redundant. Every song sounds like it was designed to be a radio single, which doesn’t do the live experience any favors.
9:40—This year’s fattest boar is named Johnathan. He weighs 1,040 lbs.
9:45—I’m longing for the days when country singers dressed the part. Rhinestone sequin suits and bolo ties, that sort of thing. Old Dominion are dressed like yuppies that work at an ad agency.
9:54—This song is about love, freedom, and irresponsible drinking. It’s got the full pallete of Old Dominion’s repertoire.
10:10—I’m so hopelessly bored, I’ve been scrolling through Facebook for the last 10 minutes.
10:28—Old Dominion end their set with a nondescript, formless honky-tonk jam. People are dancing in the aisles. I envy them all.
Day 8: Impractical Jokers
Television’s Impractical Jokers came to the Grandstand on Thursday night for a live performance. It was an odd, rarely funny night that had me wondering why they decided to bring the performance to the stage.
In advance of their performance City Pages spoke with the Impractical Jokers James Murry about fairs, boredom killers, and attending bad concerts.
City Pages: What do you think about state fairs?
James Murray: I’m a sucker for a great fair. The rides, the families, the food. They fry everything. You can’t go wrong.
CP: Have you eaten a cheese curd before?
JM: I have not, no. Should I?
CP: You should. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Minnesota?
JM: The Twin Cities is the thing that I think everybody thinks of. What should I think of?
CP: Usually people mention the cold.
JM: It’s hard to say that because it’s 72 degrees and gorgeous right now.
CP: So, I’m at the fair for 12 days reviewing the Grandstand. Have you ever felt stuck in a professional situation you wished you considered a little longer before taking on?
JM: Yeah, I’ve been on a show called Impractical Jokers for eight years. Wish I would’ve put a little more thought into that. It’s fun but of course we’ve all been in jobs before where we thought, I shouldn’t be doing this.
CP: What do you do when you’re bored on tour?
JM: The guys and I go see movies or we get dinner or we play video games. It’s a lot of eating. We eat a lot. When were on a bus tour we get in a day early so we have a whole day to explore a town.
CP: What’s the worst concert you’ve ever been to? I saw Jason Mraz this week and it was a nightmare.
JM: There’s a music festival in New York that’s a summer jam sort of thing. The problem has been that two years in a row they had to shut the concert down because some dummy wanted to get into a fight. Everyone had to leave. That was bad.
CP: What’s it like touring with your friends?
JM: It’s the best. It’s got to be hard if you’re like a stand-up comic and you have to do it alone for months and months at a time. When you’re with your best friends it’s so much easier because it would be who I were hanging out with if I were at home.
This is Ryan’s fourth dispatch from the fair. Check out his earlier reviews here, here, and here. He's entering the home stretch this weekend. Check back in on Tuesday for his final report.