In front of what looked liked a Super Nintendo rendition of country life, Brad Paisley put on quite possibly the best performance of RodeoHouston this year. The country singer knows how to bring a crowd to its feet and had no trouble connecting with his fans. Throughout his set list, Paisley switched up a few of his song lyrics, replacing them with references to Houston. In his first song, he exclaimed, "Live from Houston, Texas, it's Saturday night!" The crowd cheered, apparently unaware it was Thursday. Paisley's stage presence was amazing. We'll admit that much, but we couldn't help but noticing the singer's near-constant flat tone. Especially from the press box, where the sounds of the audience are all but muted, it was pretty clear that Brad was either having an off day, or the rumors are true and country artists abuse Auto-tune... at this point, we decided to walk around the stadium to see what the show sounded like to everyone else.
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We've mentioned the awkward setup of concerts at RodeoHouston before, which is primarily why we applaud Paisley's performance; he didn't spend much time on the stage. Instead, he walked the entire field, leaning into the crowd for guitar solos. Halfway through his third song, Paisley let his backup singer take the lead while he focused on guitar. We couldn't tell who was singing in place of Paisley at the time, but we learned late some of the songs featured pre-recorded aid from Andy Griffith. After almost every song, Paisley switched guitars. And at the South end of the stadium, after 'She's Everything,' we could hear the concrete below our feet rumble. After an impressive drum solo, Paisley continued venturing offstage, beginning another guitar riff near the faces of his screaming fans. While he entertained his fans, the security on the field trying (and failing) to keep up with Paisley entertained us.
Although he can't sing - or maybe he was just having an off day - the man can definitely play guitar. After almost every song, the musician ran around a different side of the feel, high-fiving fans, shaking hands and giving women heart attacks. "I'd like to see the other side of that Astros tattoo," he said, driving the crowd even wilder. And even we couldn't help but smile at his references to the city of Houston. Everyone enjoys being complimented, and we're no different. Paisley's frequent references to Houston didn't go unnoticed. He's not our type of music, but we can see his appeal more than most. His lyrics have more substance to them than most country music today, and his personality is one that onlookers are drawn to; yes, even us. By the time the show ended, we were ready to leave and make the long walk back to our car. As we left, we realized the best part of the show: He didn't fall down this time.