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Morgan Wallen sold more albums last year than Taylor Swift (or anyone else). He will sell more concert tickets in the Twin Cities this year than any musical act other than Metallica (which is offering a two-night pass for their in-the-round show). And he might sell more beer over two nights at U.S. Bank Stadium than Metallica.

The beer was certainly flowing Thursday at the Vikings coliseum. With three opening acts, there was plenty of time to pregame before Wallen hit the stage 4¾ hours after the doors opened. Booze fuels his fan base and his songs.

Wallen's mostly medium-tempo tunes are drink-inducing, and most of them mention imbibing, as the more obvious titles like "Man Made a Bar," "You Proof" and "Whiskey Glasses" attested on Thursday.

Between all the boozing, his ambitiously staged show felt like a modern Nashvillian version of good ol' arena rock. Fireworks, flamethrowers, fog shooters, blinding lights, a remote stage, a runway stage as video screen, a hi-def wraparound video screen over the stage, and, like Swift, those lighted wristbands that blink in sync with the music. Think Nickelback gone country. Look at them boots.

Like Nickelback two decades ago, Wallen is either loved or loathed. He's one of the most polarizing music artists of the moment.

Wallen, 29, is an unwoke, mostly unrepentant, rebounded-from-cancel-culture Tennessean with a nasally drawl of a voice, set to hip-hop beats and cadences who sings about heartsickness and drunkenness. He connects with the beer-swilling, backward-ballcap-wearing, truck-driving exurban and rural crowd. And he's proud of those small-town, redneck roots.

After an injury in high school derailed his baseball dreams, the Sneedville, Tenn., native competed on NBC's "The Voice" in 2014 and landed a record deal with Big Loud. "Whiskey Glasses," the third single by the mullet-wearing, mustachioed singer, landed at No. 1 in 2019. Boosted by social media, his second album, "Dangerous: The Double Album," was a blockbuster even though he got booted off "Saturday Night Live" for not following COVID-19 protocols and got temporarily ostracized by the music industry after being caught on a cellphone video in early 2021 uttering a racial slur.

Wallen bounced back even bigger in 2023 with the 36-song "One Thing at a Time," the biggest seller of the year. But then his reckless behavior resurfaced in April when he was arrested for tossing a chair off the rooftop of Eric Church's six-story Nashville bar. Those controversies might have worked in Wallen's favor. A bad boy who is not a true outlaw has a certain appeal.

On Thursday, Wallen, wearing a Western shirt, jeans and trucker cap, indirectly addressed some of those issues but in the context of the high school baseball coach who kept him on the team even though he'd messed up. "A lot of people stood up and believed in me when that wasn't the popular thing to do," the singer said. "A lot of you guys have been put in that same category."

Then, standing on a side stage in front of a bench of bleachers to represent baseball, Wallen delivered an acoustic rendition of "'98 Braves," about swingin' for the fences but striking out on the ballfield as well as in romance. It brought a personal touch and an intimacy seldom experienced in a stadium show. And he followed it with the similarly themed "7 Summers," about a girl who got away.

Those weren't the only intimate moments, because Wallen later walked to a remote stage at the bowl-end of the stadium for "Cover Me Up" and "Thought You Should Know," his most impassioned vocals of the night, though he was pitchy at times. That's the thing about Wallen: When he sings straightforward, his voice works. When he shifts into his hip-hop cadence, his drawl turns into a nasally whine that makes you think he might be the worst singer with the best songs.

Wallen's songs are a mix of modern country with hip-hop and electronica undertones as well as traditional country and a taste of bro country. His best traditional tunes Thursday were "Everything I Love," about an ex who "ruined damn near everything I love," and the classic "Whiskey Glasses," a clever, double-meaning lament from a heartbroken man ("I'mma need some whiskey glasses, 'cause I don't wanna see the truth").

To show his versatility in the two-hour performance, Wallen rocked out on the pyro-boosted "Up Down," which was punctuated with muscular metal guitar. And he demonstrated his sense of humor when he said he doesn't smoke cigarettes or have tattoos but he'd sing "I Had Some Help," his recent No. 1 duet with Post Malone, who appeared via video.

The country superstar, who has enjoyed pop success with a handful of songs, indirectly acknowledged all the criticism in his closing number, "The Way I Talk." As Wallen paraded around the stadium in a Randy Moss Vikings jersey, he led the crowd in a boisterous sing-along of "Man, it ain't my fault/ I just live the way I talk" adorned with fireworks, flames, stage fog and explosions all at the same time.

While there may be good reasons to dismiss Wallen, you wouldn't find any of the maybe 50,000 people at U.S. Bank Stadium feeling that way because they viewed a highly entertaining show through, um, beer glasses.