Aftermath: Jason Aldean, Impossible Not To Like At RodeoHouston
Photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™
Saturday night, Jason Aldean performed in front of over 70,000 screaming RodeoHouston fans. While his performance caught most attendants' attention, we were focused on the impressive mustaches many patrons were rocking. Every year we attend the rodeo, we see even more glorious mustaches; it's as if there's an unofficial competition going on. The manliness of a person's mustache is determined (of course) by how disgusted women are by it; the more disgusting, the manlier. "The best part of the Rodeo is the cowboys in Wranglers," our sister told us. "Tight-fitting Wranglers," she specified, as if we needed her to. While waiting for Aldean to take the stage, a thought crossed our mind: how drunk did the cowboys of rodeos past have to be to come up with these games? Steer wrestling, for those unaware, is when a competitor jumps from his horse onto the neck of a steer and - you guessed it - wrassles it to the ground. What the fuck? It sounds like something we would have done when we were drinking way too much our first semester of college. Aldean hit the stage a little before 6 p.m., opening with "Crazy Town," a song in which he refers to an unspecified city as "Hollywood with a touch of twang." We think might be Houston or Nashville, and didn't really notice when his second song started because it sounded so similar to the first... at least to our ears. Our sister was singing along and moving to the beat, so there had to be some redeemable quality. Maybe we're tone-deaf, or maybe we're just biased against twangy country music. Aldean's music had a hint of redneck to it, but we recognize that it's part of his appeal - hell, he even performed a song called "Hick Town." We realized at this moment why we don't enjoy this kind of music. To us, it sounds like every other country song we've ever heard. But after the songs ended, the crowd went crazy, and even the press box was cheering, so we decided to keep our mouth shut. During his ninth song, "Asphalt Cowboy," Aldean let his band members take a break. He pulled out his acoustic guitar, and his many loyal fans whined along with him. Then he gave a shout-out to Johnny Cash, which we thought was really fucking cool. Aldean put on a good performance, and his fans ate it up in spite of what we consider to be a poor setup. The stage, at midfield, is far from even the closest fans, making it difficult for a musician to connect. But the singer still managed to bring most of the crowd to its feet. Real country music, in our opinion, has a rough edge to it. And while Aldean isn't quite as rough as the likes of Cash and Willie Nelson, he's certainly closer than many of his peers. He's also polite and genuine, which we liked. Aldean thanked the crowd for being there. He had never played at RodeoHouston before, and said it was a dream come true. At this point, we realized Aldean was a human being just like us, and we scribbled through half of our notes that bashed the current state of country music. He was so happy to be playing (and yes, it showed) that we decided it was impossible not to like the guy. While his music may not be our cup of tea, the guy's got fans, so he must be doing something right. And from where we were sitting, the performance was professional, fun and well done overall. So who are we to say it's not what country music should sound like? After his 16th song, Jason Aldean finally hopped into the back of a Ford pickup truck. "Thank you so much. We'll see you next time. God bless ya!" Then the fireworks went off, the lights turned back on and we left.
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