The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is right around the corner, and Rocks Off will be providing our loyal readers with more coverage than is healthy for anybody. This will include tons of concert reviews, starting with Alan Jackson on opening night and continuing throughout the festivities, which will culminate in a closing set by C&W powerhouse Justin Bieber.
Oh, pipe down. Bieber's inclusion among country luminaries such as Tim McGraw and...Mary J. Blige is perfectly in keeping with the HLSR's trend of sprinkling its predominantly good-ole-boy musical itinerary with the previous year's more successful unit shifters. Bored Woodlands soccer moms can't come *every* night, after all.
And besides, he's hardly the weirdest act to make a Rodeo appearance.
We're really curious if anybody in attendance 50 years ago remembers what it was that Ansara, who played "Cochise" in the TV seriesBroken Arrow
, actually did during his appearance. Did he offer cryptic Native American commentary on the proceedings? Bring out then-wife Barbara Eden for some painful improv? Practice his Mr. Freeze voice? Please, we're dying over here.
We're not sure which hallmark of early-'90s hip-hop pop make us more nostalgic: The ubiquitous black biker shorts or the fact that the song itself is a five-minute riff on an Arsenio Hall bit.
Rocks Off only vaguely remembers the early 1970s. And after watching the above clip, we're sorry we didn't do even more drugs in college to erase the decade entirely.
Paul Anka (1987)
Anka's last hit of note was over ten years prior to his one and only HLSR performance, so one assumes Rodeo organizers - trapped in pre-Garth Brooks C&W limbo - needed some non-country fare that would sound as innocuous as Reba and Larry Gatlin.
Someone with better research skills can tell Rocks Off is there are any other instances of brothers performing independently of each other at the Rodeo, and if any of them were able to do so without riding the coattails of their hit TV show (David,The Partridge Family
; Shaun,The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries
). Anyone still curious as to what led to the rise of punk rock should just watch that video clip.
This wasn't the mega-popular early 1980s version of the group, or the reasonably well-receivedWedding Album
incarnation, or even the well-intentioned but still ludicrous cover band of 1995'sThank You
(see above), but the re-re-vamped original lineup from 2001. Rocks Off is sure thousands of pairs of stirrup pants and Jellies were dragged out of storage that night nonetheless.
We guess Stryper was just too darn loud.
While Rocks Off isn't in the habit of making baseless assumptions, we're still willing to bet Mr. and Mrs. Joe Average Houstonian weren't aware that the people who sang that nice balloon song were, in fact, African-American when they settled in for a relaxing night of post-livestock auction entertainment.
We were all prepared to make some joke about rodeo dogfights and Lassie getting
her ass handed to her by some bad-ass Third Ward mutt when we discovered the damn show ran nearly20 years
on its initial run. That dumb dog had a longer career than half the bands on this list.
Like Anka, it's hard to understand why Manilow love was particularly sticky and seductive these particular years. In the later case, perhaps the HLSR organizers had a premonition about 9/11 and wanted to return America to wholesome values before it was too late.