In 2018, rock gets the slight upper hand with a couple of shows. Instead of a second country artist, a comedian will be featured in one of the four grandstand slots.
▪ Poison frontman Bret Michaels will kick off the grandstand lineup Tuesday, Aug. 21. Michaels is touring with Poison this spring, and that band's songs will dominate his solo-show setlist at the fair. Michaels is virtually guaranteed to sing hair-band standouts such as "Talk Dirty to Me," "Something to Believe In," "Unskinny Bop" and "Every Rose Has its Thorn."
▪ Classic rockers Styx will perform Wednesday, Aug. 22. The theatrical pop-rock group hasn't visited Boise since 2014. If the grand illusion is that Pronto Pups are health food and that hits such as "Renegade" and "Mr. Roboto" still rule the FM airwaves, there will be no better place to "Come Sail Away." Wear your mullet wig, kids.
▪ Comedian Gabriel "Fluffy" Iglesias will fill the grandstand with laughs on Thursday, Aug. 23. Yes, "fill." Iglesias is a popular dude. He played two consecutive nights at the 2,000-capacity Morrison Center three years ago. Iglesias' brand of comedy is tailor-made for a fair audience. He's not edgy. He's just Fluffy. "I don't get really dirty," he told me in 2015. "I don't get political. I don't get preachy. I just go out and have a good time, tell some stories, do some voices."
▪ Single grandstand show or not, country isn't playing second fiddle at the fair. Singer Randy Houser headlines the prime Friday-night slot on Aug. 24. He'll have fairgoers dancing in the aisles to party anthem "Boots On." Houser might be a country boy, but he cranks the amps. Songs such as "How Country Feels" and "Runnin' Out of Moonlight" are fueled by molten guitar solos.
Grandstand concerts are free with paid fair admission. The shows start at 7:30 p.m., but gates open an hour earlier. (Get in line!) Advance tickets go on sale today at idahofair.com for $7 adult, $4 senior 62 and older, $4 child ages 6 to 11. Kids 5 and under get in free. You can also purchase package deals to save a few bucks on admission and carnival wristbands.