Luke Combs Takes His Place Atop Country Music

Luke Combs wowed a sold-out crowd on Saturday night at Toyota Center.
Luke Combs wowed a sold-out crowd on Saturday night at Toyota Center. Photo by Clint Hale
A year ago, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and with the world essentially upside down, Luke Combs penned a tune called “Six Feet Apart.” The song was about as topical as one could get, a hope that normalcy would one day be restored after all we endured in 2020.

‘I miss my mom, I miss my dad, I miss the road, I miss my band, giving hugs and shaking hands,” Combs opined.

Didn’t we all?

Saturday night, before a sold-out crowd that had been waiting almost two years for this show, Combs blared through a 100-minute, 25-song set at the Toyota Center that was both long on hits and a callback to what gave Combs prominence in the first place.

Country music is in a weird place right now. Party guys like Luke Bryan are a little long in the tooth, so it’s pretty much Combs and Chris Stapleton carrying the water for the genre. This is a good thing, as both Combs and Stapleton are about as talented as one can be in their respective quests to conquer country music.

Combs proved as much on Saturday, blaring through hits like “1, 2 Many,” “Cold as You” and “Never Met You,” before treating the crowd to tracks like “This One’s For You” and “South on Ya” later in the set.

By the time Combs emerged with an encore that included the show-closing “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” the point had already been made. Luke Combs is the present and future of country music, and both are in more than capable hands.
click to enlarge At the top of his game. - PHOTO BY CLINT HALE
At the top of his game.
Photo by Clint Hale
Overheard in the Crowd: A whole lotta “let’s go Astros” chants, which makes sense, given the hometown team had locked down a World Series berth the previous day. I was there for that as well; it was quite a scene. Go ‘Stros! Four more!

Random Notebook Dump:
It’s really nice to have concerts back … Luke Combs seems like a genuine, humble human being … Early odds for CMT’s 2020s Entertainer of the Decade are fully in Combs’ favor … I’m here for a Combs/Brooks & Dunn/Travis Tritt tour.
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Clint Hale enjoys music and writing, so that kinda works out. He likes small dogs and the Dallas Cowboys, as you can probably tell. Clint has been writing for the Houston Press since April 2016.
Contact: Clint Hale