Nelly performs at the 2022 Iowa State Stand in Concert

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Even before Nelly took the stage or hit a verse, the thousands of people gathered to see him were already singing as the return track of a Ludacris song blared behind an announcement that Nelly was about to appear.

When Nelly, wearing an Iowa State Fair t-shirt, and her half-brother City Spud took the stage – awash in primary colors – the audience was quick to sing along to classics like “EI” and “Put Your Hands Up “, from the catalog of the hip-hop artist.

“I want to thank each and every one of you who are coming out here tonight,” Nelly told the crowd, one of many statements of appreciation for her fans throughout the night.

“Whatever drew you to Nelly, I want to thank all of Iowa one more time!”

On Saturday night, Nelly – the artist responsible for classic hip-hop “Country Grammar” as well as songs such as “Hot in Herre” and “Just a Dream” – performed her first show at the Iowa State Fair in front of a crowd. of 13,231 people.

Nelly performs to a standing-only crowd at the Grandstand at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 13, 2022 in Des Moines.

After:What are the best-selling musical performances at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand so far?

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, this wasn’t the artist’s first time performing in Hawkeye State. Nelly brought his sound and style to Iowa just last year when he performed at Horizon Events Center in Clive, where local artist B. Well opened for him.

Ginuwine – an R&B artist with an even longer solo performance career than Nelly – opened.

Although the grandstand was still filling when Ginuwine took the stage performing “Hell Yeah”, red rose in hand, it was quick to energize the crowd.

“Thank you all for coming to see your boy, Ginuwine! … All these people who have been following me since 1996, I’m going to see if you know this song here. Let’s go!” Ginuwine told a cheering crowd as he moved in and out of the stage to perform “I Need A Girl (Pt. 2).”

Nelly performs to a standing-only crowd at the Grandstand at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 13, 2022 in Des Moines.

Ginuwine, whose debut album “Ginuwine…the Bachelor” turns 26 in October, is also a member of TGT along with fellow performers Tyrese Gibson and Tank.

For her final song on stage, Ginuwine performed “Pony,” tossing handfuls of red roses to audience members during the song before leaving the stage in a blaze of red and white lights.

A standing-only crowd shows up for Nelly's grandstand performance at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Des Moines.

After:“Fast & Furious” star Ludacris is hosting a summer show in Iowa. Find out how to see the hip-hop star

Nelly paid tribute to late hip-hop artists, including the late Gregory “Shock G” Jacobs of Digital Underground and the late Biz Markie.

“Now listen, I really think that….that we can spend 2022 together,” Nelly said. “We’re crossing the same horse s — that you’re all crossing and we’ve lost people along the way who can’t be here today.”

A standing-only crowd shows up for Nelly's grandstand performance at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Des Moines.

Keeping their memory in mind, Nelly performed Markie’s “Just a Friend” and Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance”. He cited both Markie and Jacobs as artists who “inspired Nelly to be Nelly.”

For the final grandstand performance that evening, Nelly and City Spud treated the audience to “Just a Dream”.

Nelly performs to a standing-only crowd at the Grandstand at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 13, 2022 in Des Moines.

As the song ended, Nelly threw her hat into the audience as red and yellow lights mixed with purple lightning and the rappers left the stage as the night’s fireworks began.

After:Off-peak hours: some of the coolest things to see and do at the Iowa State Fair

Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture at the Des Moines Register. Join it at my hamlet @gannett.com or 319-600-2124, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.

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