Trace Adkins Reliant Stadium March 2, 2011
Aftermath admits that before Wednesday night, we were by no means experts on the bellowing country crooner known as Trace Adkins. After the show was over, however, we felt like buying every album he's ever put out.
Not only did the man lose one of his fingers working on an oil rig, he got shot in the chest by one of his ex-wives and never pressed charges. If that doesn't make him the most authentically American country act going, we're not sure what the other requirements are.
Wednesday was Armed Forces Appreciation Night at the Rodeo, and as we walked around in search of fried M&M's - which we found, and don't recommend - we noticed that the majority of the patrons were in uniform, and most of them had those huge stuffed-animal prizes won from those impossible carnival games.
It made Aftermath reconsider our future for three seconds, until we realized that we could buy the same size stuffed animal for ten dollars cheaper and not have to go overseas. Anyways, this is all beside the point.
When we got to our seats after a considerable amount of confusion with the Rodeo staff, they were announcing Officer Mike Thornton, a Navy SEAL who won the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1982 for his actions in Vietnam. He received a standing ovation, and then the most patriotic act we've ever seen occurred.
A huge American flag came down from the ceiling, but that's not all; there were Army men riding down with it. They rapelled from the ceiling with the American flag, a first in Reliant Stadium history.
After the fireworks and light show, Adkins came onstage without much to say. He jumped right into "Hillbilly Bone," which the crowd sang word for word, and "Swing," a baseball-love song.
We'll describe ol' Trace for you. He has a long, grey ponytail, the lowest voice we've ever heard, and he was wearing a dark denim jacket with worn light-wash jeans. He might be a little grimy, but the ladies love him. He has so much old-man country swag that he doesn't even have to move much, just a few times onto the runway to coax the women in the audience.
Speaking of women, he's been married quite a few times, and we think that may have inspired the song he played next, "Marry For Money." Perhaps getting shot in the chest by that ex-wife led him to decide against falling in love again.
Before he played "You're Gonna Miss This," an ode to the times in life you wish you could skip, he said, "One of my most profound memories was when my dad used to take my to the rodeo. One day I'm going to miss doing this." It almost made our heart melt when he said that last part. Almost.
Then came the military tribute. Adkins spoke briefly about how he had met some wounded soldiers before the show and how thankful he is for the men and women who serve the country, duh. He told the audience that he had only played the song he was about to play, "Til The Last Shot's Fired," half a dozen times, but it was a special occasion.
He finally took his jacket off for "Hot Mama," a song about how moms don't think they're as hot as they were in the past. Adkins is a silver fox, and Wednesday night we even had a dream about him.
We won't go into it too much, just know that we woke up very disoriented and in need of a shower.
Personal Bias: Adkins' song "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" is the country version of Juvenile's "Back That Azz Up," and for that, we respect the hell out of him.
The Crowd: Army men and women, too many children who punked out and fell asleep by 9 p.m., and a dude wearing a Hawaiian button-up shirt with a mullet and cigar in his mouth.
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Overheard In the Crowd: "He's so hot." We agreed. It was the dude in the button-up.
Random Notebook Dump: Word of advice: Don't show up in a sleeveless shirt to an event you're covering for work if you have tattoos, even if it's cool at work.