John Legend Shines on Perfect RodeoHouston Date Night
Photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo

John Legend Shines on Perfect RodeoHouston Date Night

John Legend NRG Stadium March 6, 2015

Clad in a gray suit and a black bow tie, John Legend strutted onto the RodeoHouston stage Friday night looking like the James Bond of Rush Limbaugh's nightmares.

But unlike Limbaugh, Legend exuded class during his performance. From the onset of the evening to its finale, he kept the crowd in a frenzied state with the slightest of hip movements and a voice like butter. Ever gracious, he broke into a smile every few minutes as the crowd sang along and screamed in adoration.

To be honest, I didn't want to see Legend's performance Friday night. I'm a fan, but I was still basking in the glory of his stripped-down set at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion last July, and I didn't want to ruin it.

John Legend Shines on Perfect RodeoHouston Date Night

But Friday night served as proof of Legend's versatility. While I was concerned with botching a perfectly good memory, the Ohio native created a new one, unique in its own right as he commanded the stage in rock-star fashion, unlike his intimate performance in 2014.

Legend began his set with "Made to Love," as steamy an intro as the fireworks show that preceded it, with his voice echoing about the stadium above the audience's shrieks.

On the 10th anniversary of Get Lifted, his debut album, Legend enjoyed a singalong from the crowd as he reached back into his catalog and performed older cuts such as "Get Lifted" and "Used to Love U." His newer hits, including "All of Me," were the best-received, but his classic songs still shone bright.

Near the end of the evening, he reminded the nearly 70,000 people in attendance of the importance of date nights, no matter how busy our schedules become. His father, he told the crowd, would take his mother out to Red Lobster for all-you-can-eat shrimp. Every couple has its own customs.

John Legend Shines on Perfect RodeoHouston Date Night

"Some of you all are having a date night right now," he said. "Now I'm not making any promises, but I'm setting you guys up for a good night."

An artist can only do so much, but Legend surely helped plenty of us out this weekend. And for that, we thank him.

Personal Bias: Legend is becoming one of my favorite live acts. If he's going to be in town, I plan to be there. His performances are beyond impressive.

Overheard In the Crowd: A lot of screaming and cooing. The mind wanders.

Announced Attendance: 69,583

Random Notebook Dump: I've been attending RodeoHouston for years, yet I still find myself making rookie mistakes. On Friday, when given the option between a "biggie" or a "small" sausage, I chose the "biggie." Eighteen dollars later, I found myself walking around the carnival holding a 2-foot-long sausage. The first half tasted delicious; the second half tasted like regret.

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