Luke Bryan at Reliant Stadium, 3/17/2014
Photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
Luke Bryan Reliant Stadium March 17, 2014
Luke Bryan knows a lot of things.
For example, Luke knows the value of a good drinking reference. He'll "Drink a Beer." He'll get "Drunk on You." If you need to crash a night out of drinking with the boys, it's cool. Hell, even the rain is a good thing because through a series of events it eventually leads to whiskey, which is also a good thing.
It's a familiar country trope to be sure, but there's something comforting about that. It's not so gung-ho country to be alienating -- beer is slightly more universal than John Deere -- but it feels just right at the rodeo, which would explain why 75,078 people packed Reliant Stadium to see him.
Or maybe it's just because he knows the value of a bit of ass-shaking.
His biggest show of the year featured plenty of it, in addition to ample hip wiggling and whatever you call that move that white guys who can't dance do where they flail their arm out awkwardly to the beat. OK, so not all of his moves are winners, but the things he does with his hips were enough to get the crowd screaming every time he did it.
You would think after so many shows he'd have the moves of a country star with a touch of hip-hop in his step down, but there's something almost aloof about the way he moves onstage. It's never quite perfect, and that's OK because he's plenty charming; it's just interesting that the second he straps on a guitar he's instantly more comfortable onstage.
Moves aside, Bryan also knows his way around a modern country tune. His ass-shakers are fun and his ballads are top-notch. It might not work for country purists -- at least one person in the crowd was real mad he had the audacity to cover George Strait's "Unwound" -- but if you're one of the many who love the current sounds of Nashville then you know Bryan has some chops.
Of course, he's also the type of guy that randomly throws in the hook to Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" into one of his songs as well, so maybe that country purist has a point.
Review continues on the next page.
Just kidding. "Dynamite" rules, and the fact that country musicians are becoming more comfortable with the fact that their audiences also love hip-hop is rad. Sure, it's often goofy, or in the case of Miley Cyrus just plain weird, but in the hands of Luke Bryan it's a pretty fun time.
He shakes. The country girls shake. High art it may not be, but it works. After all, Luke Bryan knows a thing or two about getting 75,000 people to come hang out on a Monday night.
Personal Bias: I'm still not much of a country person, but when I'm in the mood for it Luke Bryan is who I put on.
The Crowd: Massive. Frisky. Not quite a sea of green and cowboy hats, but there was some of both.
Overheard In the Crowd: "I wouldn't mind for some of them," said one lady to another, on the subject of cleaning up cowboys.
Random Notebook Dump: Did you know there are still tickets available to the Robin Thicke show? The rodeo really wants you to know there are still tickets available to the Robin Thicke show. Robin Thicke. Great seats. Still available. Thicke. Seats. Available. Great.
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