A packed house at Ralph Engelstad Arena heard country music star Kane Brown play chart-topping songs, but also heard a message about a hard life the singer said taught him valuable lessons.
Brown played The Ralph Sunday night, along with opening acts Jimmie Allen and Granger Smith.
A native of Georgia, Brown told a hushed audience about growing up in an atmosphere of racism and violence, and also about an abusive step-father. He then offered an inspirational footnote.
"I've been through so much," he said. "But you can do whatever you want. It's your life."
Brown then powered through a series of his hit songs. That the concert - part of Brown's "Live Forever" tour - was held on a Sunday night didn't seem to bother the crowd. The tour made a stop Saturday in Brookings, S.D., and now heads east, with the next show scheduled for Thursday in Manchester, N.H.
Brown, just 25, has come on the national scene with a flurry, with numerous high-ranking singles and albums. Late last year, his album "Experiment" debuted No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. Also in 2018, his single "Lose It" reached No. 1. He had two No. 1 singles prior to that.
Allen opened the night with a quick set, followed by a longer set by Smith. All three artists interacted with the crowd, and especially noted the weather.
"Texans are not quite used to this weather, but I understand this is like a spring day (in North Dakota)," Smith said. "But we enjoyed it. There are good people in North Dakota."