Tim McGraw NRG Stadium March 10, 2015
It was near the end of their performance that Tim McGraw and his band hit their stride. McGraw's vocals had finally been adjusted and underlined with harmonies, and the guitars had been turned way up. Coupled with the grit of some of the later songs and the flair with which they were performed, the end of the band's set at RodeoHouston Tuesday night was respectable. Up until that point, it had been hit-or-miss.
While performing his older songs, McGraw displayed a tenacity that was absent from his newer cuts. Solely as a vocalist, his delivery wasn't all too convincing. (To be fair, he was rumored to be suffering from a cold.) But as a performer, a nostalgic one at that, the merits of his set were innumerable.
Hearing the likes of "Indian Outlaw," "I Like It, I Love It" and "Something Like That" transported me back to my morning commutes to school with my mom and sister. In the backseat of our Chevrolet Suburban, I would plead for a change of musical pace only to be outnumbered, overruled and subjected to country music for the entire drive.
These memories, sentimental and humorous in hindsight, reminded me that McGraw's long and storied career has plenty of redeeming qualities. Tuesday night's performance showcased many of them as nearly 70,000 adoring fans mended the singer's vocal shortcomings with the assistance of their own voices, likely recalling their own fond memories from years past as McGraw played the hits. Tuesday was also proof that the Louisiana native should stick to the classics.
Beginning his set with "One of Those Nights," the swaggering cowboy informed the crowd that Tuesday evening would be a night to remember. He followed the boastful tune with "Real Good Man," reminding audience members that it's possible to be both a cavalier troublemaker and a gentleman. Near the end of the show, when he picked up the tempo before closing with "Live Like You Were Dying," it all came together.
His solid opening and even stronger finish were bookends to a mediocre in-between, save for a beautiful duet with his cousin Catherine Dunn, and his set lasted a little too long for a singer whose voice was strained from the beginning of his performance.
McGraw's stage-boots still have some miles left in them, and new albums are to be expected if he hopes to remain relevant. His live performances, however, should focus on his greatest hits, of which he has many.
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Personal Bias: McGraw was an integral part of my musical experience as a young boy (even if it was partially against my will), and it's always nice catching up with an old friend to see how he's doing.
Seen In the Crowd: A lot of young girls didn't even see McGraw walking in front of them with their own eyes because they were so busy trying to take a selfie with the artist as he walked around the stadium. If the pictures came out blurry, would that become a passable anecdote?
Random Notebook Dump: I bit off more than I could chew during my last rodeo with that 24-inch sausage, so I only ate one corn dog this time around...And it wasn't enough food. So I'm still searching for that happy medium, and am open to suggestions.
SET LIST One of Those Nights Real Good Man I Like It, I Love It Southern Voice Shotgun Rider Down on the Farm Southern Girl Diamond Rings & Old Barstools (featuring Catherine Dunn) Where the Green Grass Grows Indian Outlaw Truck Yeah Something Like That Felt Good on My Lips The Cowboy in Me Live Like You Were Dying
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