Following the Twins' 9-2 series opener loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, the team hosted country music artist Cole Swindell. The vast majority of the game’s sellout crowd stuck around for the show, free for fans who had a ticket to the game. Fans who bought a special ticket package watched the concert from the infield dirt directly in front of the stage, located in the grass behind second base. Target Field staff set up flooring so that fans walking onto the field from the third baseline did not trample the grass, and fencing kept the fans off the infield and outfield grass.
To pull this concert off, staff had to spring into action moments after the last out. The Twins said the concert would start 15 minutes after the game.
Almost immediately after the last pitch, the left field gate opened up, and out rolled a readymade stage. The Blue Jays bullpen was still walking across the field to leave when a grounds crew cart and a team of staff members began to move the stage across the field.
Though the stage was pre-assembled and instruments like the drum set and keyboard were already sitting on top, stagehands had some more setup to do once the stage was actually in place. By the time the show started, it was 10:45 p.m., about 30 minutes after the game ended. The fans did not seem to mind.
Just as the Twins promised, Swindell played a 75-minute set, mixing in his older hits with newer ones from his most recent album “Stereotype,” which came out in April. He also played several songs he wrote for other artists, like Florida Georgia Line's "This Is How We Roll," which he co-wrote with country music artist Luke Bryan. Fans swayed and put their cell phone lights in the air when Swindell performed "You Should Be Here." Perhaps the biggest cheers of the night came when he played "Chillin' It," one of his top hits.
Swindell joked to the crowd that even though he didn’t “make it in baseball,” he can "still play at baseball stadiums." He noted that this was his first time back at Target Field since he opened for country music star Kenny Chesney in 2015.
Swindell's keyboard player, a Minneapolis-native according to Swindell, performed in a baby blue Kent Hrbek jersey.
Twins Daily writer David Youngs watched the concert from the stands above the first baseline and appreciated the Twins' desire to bring new fans to the stadium.
"I think it's great to see the Twins incorporate things outside of baseball to draw people to Target Field," Youngs said. “There is a historic relationship between baseball and country music, and it's great to see the Twins incorporate it."
The postgame concert brought a couple of changes to the Twins game. The Twins kept the beer flowing for the entire game rather than ceasing alcohol sales in the 7th inning like a normal night. Fans erupted with cheers when the public address announcer relayed this to the crowd. Sales continued during the concert as well. Another noted change was that the Twins almost exclusively played country music during the game.
Even though the game itself did not turn out in Twins fans’ favor, those who stuck around felt the concert more than made up for it.
'I thought: 'there is going to be a save situation tonight: Cole Swindell is going to save the day and put on a great show for Twins Territory," Twins fan Jared Saue said.
Several fans remarked that they hoped the Twins would host more postgame concerts in the future. They did not seem to mind that the concert took place on what for many is a work night. Though some fans trickled out during the show, most of the crowd stayed until end.
After the show ended at the stroke of midnight, fans mingled in the concourse and took group pictures in the stands before dancing off into the Minneapolis summer night.
Did you stick around for the postgame concert? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.