Rascal Flatts Reliant Stadium March 10, 2011
"We've been together for 10 years, but I don't look a day over 'Fast Cars and Freedom,'" giggled bassist/pianist Jay Demarcus of Rascal Flatts last night at the Rodeo. The band, consisting of DeMarcus, singer Gary LeVox, and guitarist Joe Don Rooney, was at the Rodeo for the sixth time.
While they may have maintained their youthful appearance since that 2005 single, the group seems to have lost a bit of its stamina. We remember seeing Rascal Flatts at the Rodeo for the first time back in 2005 as seniors in high school and as unconvinced as we were back then, we still dug it.
Throughout the years, though, it seems that LeVox may have misplaced some of his LeVocal power. He both looked and sounded tired only four songs into the set; but damn, was he sparkling. The excessive glitter made him look like a round, country disco ball.
The group brought out a much younger crowd; they have an "uncommon" youth demographic for country music. As the juvies screamed, Flatts opened with "Bob That Head" from their 2007 release Still Feels Good, followed by "Prayin For Daylight" and "Every Day Love" from their 2000 self-titled debut. LeVox seemed bored and almost mumbled through the verses of "Prayin For Daylight."
They pitched their new single, "I Won't Let Go," which was piano-heavy and helped showcase LeVox's voice. After the song was over, we heard the introduction to one of our old favorites, "Mayberry" and got a little excited because we're a sucker for Andy Griffith and banjos in the same song. If LeVox hadn't changed the melody up so much, we might have even joined in.
We forgave him by the end of the song, however, when we got to hear a banjo solo.
After they played "Fast Cars and Freedom" the band took a quick break while Demarcus took center stage and delivered a respectable comedy set. He talked about the band's days of singing at their local church and their subsequent excommunication after Rooney showed his "ass"- yes, they dropped a curse word on their young, impressionable fans - in a video.
Demarcus urged the crowd not to encourage Rooney, who at this point was shakin' it for the camera, adding, "it's all fun and games 'til someone gets excommunicated." He then asked the stadium if it would be okay for the group to revisit their gospel roots and, after vociferous approval, began to harmonize to a ditty called "Oh, the Blood of Jesus."
Before they continued their set, DeMarcus added that to celebrate their ten years together, Rascal Flatts would be playing all of the fans' favorite hits. He mentioned that they frequently got hateful messages from newlyweds and graduates who boycott their shows because the group occasionally leaves out a personally pivotal song or two.
Our first thought: How many newlyweds walked down the aisle to "Life Is a Highway"? Could we be the first to do that?
After the ten-minute repartee between the gang, Rascal Flatts continued with two of their biggest hits, "God Bless the Broken Road" and "What Hurts the Most." They finished with "Life Is a Highway" and a mash-up of a few additional covers. Yawn.
Personal Bias: We're going to skip this one today.
The Crowd: Middle schoolers on dates-we saluted them, of course. Only middle school girls have the power to get a boy to attend a concert he doesn't really want to go to.
Overheard In the Crowd: "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" texttexttexttext, "WOOOO!"
Random Notebook Dump: Actually in our enotebook: "Kick yourself for paying thirteen bucks for a margarita-daiquiri fusion."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.