It Appears We Are in Fact Stuck With Florida Georgia Line

It Appears We Are in Fact Stuck With Florida Georgia Line
Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
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Florida Georgia Line
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
March 20, 2017

I believe the world needs more empathy. Unless someone believes something truly toxic – think people like racists, flat-earthers and people who don’t know how to orient their toilet paper – I don’t think that it’s the worst thing in the world to try to put yourself in other people’s shoes now and then. So yeah, music is subjective and all that, but I’ve never understood why some people pretend they don’t understand why something is popular.

So yeah, I get it: Florida Georgia Line are a pair of attractive-ish dudes with a catalog of songs filled to the brim with modern country buzzwords – trucks, God, love, weed, hip-hop, etc. – that celebrate the changing demographics of mainstream country consumption. I get why they’re attractive to the Rodeo and how they’ve managed to build a career in spite of their obvious flaws. There is nothing about Florida Georgia Line that baffles me.

Well, nothing that baffles me except for the part where two guys who travel the world together performing songs in front of paying audiences still, somehow, don’t know how to complement each other vocally. It is jarring how not together they are as singers for most of the show. Yes, sometimes they come together and that whole “Florida Georgia Line are a band that people genuinely like” doesn’t seem like a weird joke, but those moments felt few and far between.

For the sake of honesty, I also don’t understand why they start certain songs playing guitars, then get bored with them halfway through and hand them off to their roadies. It’s like, 90 more seconds, guys, just finish out the song.

It Appears We Are in Fact Stuck With Florida Georgia Line (2)
Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

But here’s the thing: Florida Georgia Line really understand the mechanics of playing the Rodeo, and if I were watching the show with the sound off, I might have been impressed with their showmanship. There were some really solid moments – riding in the back of the truck while “This Is How We Roll” played at the start of the show, the thousands of cellphone lights popping up during “Shine,” encouraging the crowd to sing during “Holy” – that show they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to stagecraft, minus that whole ability to sound-good-when-singing thing.

Listen, I would never be one to suggest that people should lip-sync live. Let me repeat: I would never suggest that you lip-sync live when people have paid money to see you. Use backing tracks all day, but never, ever, ever lip-sync. Yet I couldn’t help but think how much more bearable this set would have been if they'd lip-synced.

In the end, this was not the worst Rodeo show I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t the most boring, either. It was competent, which when you can pull the crowd they do is all you really need to be. I have no doubt they’ll make good on their threat to play the Rodeo again next year. I’m not going to be there, but you do you. I get it.

Personal Bias: As a noted fan of critically uncool acts like Nickelback, Luke Bryan and nu-metal, you’d think I’d have a soft spot for Florida Georgia Line, but other than thinking that “Cruise” is a decent enough song, I’m pretty much ambivalent toward them. Sometimes you just go to a show to see if it’s going to be the disaster so many have claimed.

The Crowd: At some point in the night, the group mentioned how it was cool to do something or other with 75,000 fans. I’m probably the only one who cares, because I’m a stats dork, but the reported attendance was 60,645. Not a bad number at all, of course.

Overheard In the Crowd: “Control your bitch! Control your bitch!” I was trying to follow along with the story being told, but this girl seemed really proud of herself that she told someone else that.

Random Notebook Dump: Nothing to write home about with mutton bustin’ tonight, so instead I’ll talk about my favorite thing of the night: One of the bulls completely ran out of [insert your favorite curse word] to give. The bull went hard, spinning in a circle the full eight seconds, so much so that when the cowboy jumped off, the bull stumbled around for a bit, clearly dizzy. Then it decided it didn’t want to head for the exit. Then, when the cowboys in charge of getting the bulls out of the arena roped one of his horns, he just decided to lie down right in the middle of the stadium and chill. I admire his moxie.

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