Brad Paisley RodeoHouston, Reliant Stadium March 17, 2012
Brad Paisley is an easy guy to hate. He is talented in a way that seems effortless: Whether it's writing catchy hooks, laying down solid guitar solos, or making silly jokes, everything he does seems to come easy.
It would make me sick if he wasn't so damn likeable.
Saturday was Championship Day at the Rodeo and St. Patrick's Day across the world. If there were a performer better suited to merge those two things together, he wasn't at Reliant Stadium. And if such a performer did exist, I imagine the crowd still would have rather seen Paisley's brand of country-rock.
Things started off appropriately enough with "Camouflage." That combination of colors was well represented in the audience and on stage. Paisley even pointed out at one point that everything green he owns is camouflage.
From there the rest of the show was a light-hearted affair and tribute to all things country with a crowd that was completely on board.
While I don't doubt that Paisley knows how to be serious or write a heartbreaking song, none of that was evident in his 13-song set. The show was full of laughs, from a song about wanting to check a girl for ticks (to get her naked), to a joke about competing in mutton-busting, to complimenting a member of the production crew who ended up playing human mike stand for him as he made his way toward the crowd.
It was a refreshing change after watching a montage of highlights from previous performances at the rodeo that played as the crowd entered Reliant Stadium. While there's certainly a place for melodrama in music it's nice to see a performer who isn't afraid to be carefree.
That carefree spirit extended to the band as well. There were no sparkly shirts or $200 haircuts among Paisley or his band. In fact, it looked like his steel guitar player was wearing a Beavis and Butt-Head T-shirt.
Paisley is also confident enough to allow his band their time to shine. During multiple songs he allowed his fiddle player to take the spotlight and venture off the stage toward the crowd. The interplay made it seem less like a solo star with a backing band and more like a guy and his friends just having fun and tearing through songs.
At times the mix might have been a little sloppy and Paisley might not always have been able to hit the high notes, but if the crowd noticed they didn't seem to care. And if you didn't really know his songs or see what the difference was between "She's Everything" and "Then" you could look past that because at least your date was having a good time.
"Alcohol" ended the set and for many of the people in attendance it would probably also end the night. Whether it was at The Hideout, a neighborhood bar, or dancing with a loved one to Alabama at home, it was still Saturday night and it was still St. Patrick's Day.
Brad Paisley just wanted to make sure everyone started off the night on the right foot.
Personal Bias: Not a country fan, but I've always liked the video for "Online."
The Crowd: Pretty much every stereotypical country fan group was well represented, with a healthy dose of green and camo.
Overheard In The Crowd: "I want to know what happened to the girl who was in the stall before me, because I don't think what she did in there was humanly possible."
Random Notebook Dump: The rodeo is the only place it's ever acceptable to utter the phrase "Do you know how much his semen is going to be worth in a couple of years? Thousands."
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Camouflage Ticks American Saturday Night This Is Country Music Celebrity She's Everything Jaws-Water Still A Guy Then Mud On The Tires I'm Gonna Miss Her Old Alabama Alcohol