Bayou City

What a Perfect Post-Harvey Benefit Concert Might Look Like

It's been four years since George Strait played NRG Stadium. Four years too long.
It's been four years since George Strait played NRG Stadium. Four years too long. Bede735 via Wikimedia Commons
The music community is mobilizing to take care of those affected by Hurricane Harvey with impressive speed. Many Houston streets were still underwater when these efforts began; less than a week removed from Harvey’s landfall, they are proliferating like mushrooms in the damp Southeast Texas climate. Several are already taking place across town this weekend. From faraway NYC, Vinyl Ranch honcho Dave Wrangler has partnered up with Brooklyn Brewery to organize a “NY <3 HOU” fundraiser tonight at Williamsburg bar Skinny Dennis. Central Texas's Old Settler’s Music Festival chipped in $5K. Bun B’s Trill telethon we told you about yesterday. Beyoncé is right there with her BeyGOOD Houston foundation; sister Solange is too.

Elsewhere, local shoegazers A Sundae Drive say all merch sales through the end of 2017 will go toward Harvey relief; super-likable MC Kyle Hubbard will donate the proceeds from his forthcoming album, All Good Things Come (order here). Still, there’s an inescapable feeling that all of these efforts, welcome as they are, are but a prelude to something really big on the horizon. Once the logistics are settled, Houston could be in for the kind of benefit concert that comes along less than once in a generation. It’s just a matter of time. But who’s gonna play it?

Beyoncé is from Houston. Beyoncé is also married to Jay Z. Why not have pop music’s ultimate power couple team up for a benefit that would most assuredly fill up NRG Stadium and raise millions for Harvey relief. Beyoncé is not shy in expressing her love for Houston, and Jay Z is actually making a run through town later this year as part of his 4:44 tour. But, for one night only, let’s have the first couple of pop music stand onstage, hand in hand, in the name of something special. CLINT HALE

Photo by Violeta Alvarez
Brooks is already opening and closing next year’s Rodeo Houston festivities. Why not have proceeds from one, or both, of those concerts go toward Harvey relief? Better yet, perhaps Garth could carve out some time in his schedule to visit Houston later this year for a separate concert dedicated to Harvey relief. CLINT HALE

Because Houston needs joy. And because the most joyful song in America is not "Wild Thoughts" by Rihanna and Bryson Tiller. It's not "Despacito," arguably the biggest song a summer has seen in decades. Instead, the one immediate "light up a room and watch it turn out" record belongs to a Bronx personality who simply cannot lose. "Bodak Yellow" being the No. 3 song in America, the highest-charting rap song of the moment, means this is Cardi's time. And nothing screams defiance more than overcoming something big (in Cardi's case, fixing her teeth and her mom in poverty) and doing something even bigger. Isn't that what Houston is about? BRANDON CALDWELL

This one makes too much sense not to happen. Coldplay was supposed to play NRG Stadium last week, just as Harvey was making its way into Texas. That concert, understandably so, was postponed, as the Texas coast faced one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. Let’s have Chris Martin and crew back for a sold-out show but one with proceeds going to fund Harvey relief efforts. Set up donation stands, have a portion of concessions and merchandise go to relief efforts, anything helps. Plus, Coldplay seem like pretty good dudes anyway. CLINT HALE

The longest fight about a benefit show will be getting the best acts to show up. Not only that, but getting the acts who genuinely love the city and this state. Though Houston Appreciation Weekend always feels like a minor donation to the city, Drake has already contributed $200,000 to JJ Watt's Harvey relief fund. Would it be enough to have him physically at the telethon or benefit show with proceeds going to the city's various charities? Maybe. He may not land as a top pick for a Super Bowl halftime performance, but this is bigger than any single night for the NFL. It's about Houston. BRANDON CALDWELL

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
The Houston Press is a nationally award-winning, 32-year-old publication ruled by endless curiosity, a certain amount of irreverence, the desire to get to the truth and to point out the absurd as well as the glorious.
Contact: Houston Press