Alan Jackson Reliant Stadium March 18, 2011
Friday night was Alan Jackson's 19th performance at RodeoHouston. For two decades, he's managed to maintain his status as a country music icon, and last night's performance only furthered his image, if that's even possible. Jackson is genuine and all about the simple joys in life, and his music is a perfect representation of that.
Appropriately, his performance began with "Gone Country," a lively ditty about the appeal of a trouble-free lifestyle. By the song's end, at least by Jackson's account, the whole world goes country. And if that means we get to eat Rodeo food year-round, we're all for it.
"I know we've got some country boys down here in Houston," Jackson said just before he and his band began to play "Country Boy," a celebration of small-towns, big trucks and, you guessed it, country boys. "Country girls, too!"
Jackson's soft, low singing voice isn't as strong as it once was, but that's not such a bad thing, really. In fact, as it has begun to waver with age, it sounds as genuine as ever, if not more so.
"My daddy passed away about 10 years ago, and I wanted to write a song about him," Jackson said, five songs into the show. Someone unfamiliar with his music might assume that something slow and sad would follow, but that just isn't his style. "I didn't want to write something real sad."
Instead, Jackson's tribute to his father commemorates the first time his father let him drive the family's boat and car and how it made him feel like the kind of the road and ocean, respectively. Growing up, all Jackson ever wanted to do was drive something, and by the songs end, he also references first time he let his daughters drive, and how it felt to be in his father's shoes.
"Hey Houston, how y'all holding up out there? Still awake?" Jacskon asked the crowd after eight songs. "Thank y'all for coming to the Rodeo. I've always been real proud to be a part of it, so thanks."
Before "Don't Rock the Jukebox," fans were treated to a bluesy guitar solo, compliments of Jackson's backup band, The Strayhorns, specifically guitarist Danny Groh and steel guitarist Robbie Flint.
And at the end of "Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning," the crowd cheered wildly as the screen lit up with the iconic photo of three New York firefighters raising the American flag with the rubble that was once the World Trade Center Towers.
For the most part, Jackson praises a simple sort of existence - appreciating the little things, keeping a positive attitude and loving the United States of America. As far as we're concerned, he can visit the Rodeo another 19 times, and we'll still be in attendance. And we would bet that plenty of other Houstonians would be there, too.
Personal Bias: We grew up listening to his music and knew the words to every song performed Friday night... except for one.
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Seen In the Crowd: Two girls wearing Sailor Moon outfits. Was there a contest we didn't know about?
Random Notebook Dump: We heard a few bros complaining for what felt like a good hour, so we decided to pose a question for our readers: What is it about a bartender carding you that makes him a dick? Dude, he's just doing his job. And if he didn't card people, Reliant Stadium would have a lawsuit on its hands and would more than likely lose its liquor license. So familiarize yourself with the law before you bitch and moan like a seven-year-old who didn't get his way quick enough. Unless, of course, that is the most interesting thing you can think of to discuss with your friends, in which case, carry on.