Robin Thicke at Reliant Stadium, 3/18/2014

Robin Thicke Reliant Stadium March 18, 2014

Robin Thicke finishes strong. Down on his knees, on top of a piano, arms raised to the sky as fireworks go off, he looks like a champ. The crowd is roaring, as it comes down from the high of "Blurred Lines," and as he and his band take a last bow and he heads over to the pickup truck that will take him out of the arena, it's easy to feel as if his first RodeoHouston performance was a triumph. And if you judge the show just by its end, maybe it was.

Of course, there's the little matter of the rest of his set, which was hardly inspiring, and a strong ending does not make a show good. That's not to say that Thicke didn't try to put on a good show; he really looked like he was giving it his all out there.

Unfortunately, his all wasn't particularly memorable.

Now, not every rodeo performance needs motorcycle stunts or copious amounts of ass-shaking. There are many ways to approach a show, and different things work for different people. The issue here was not one of talent; no, the problem here was that Thicke approached this performance as just another show.

Because of this, the giant confines of Reliant Stadium just sort of swallowed him up whole. His moves and his calls to action may work in an arena where you're not separated by a whole bunch of dirt from the audience, but many times on Tuesday night it looked more like he was talking to himself.

That's a shame, because Thicke is clearly a high-energy performer, and in the right circumstance his show could totally feel like a retro-soul revival with people dancing in the aisles. It just didn't feel that way at the rodeo.

Technical issues didn't help matters. While on the whole things sounded OK, there were plenty of moments where a guitar was too low in the mix or a keyboard too high; we all know that synth bit in the hook to Michael Jackson's "Rock with You" is awesome, but the King of Pop would never let himself be outshined by a keyboard sound. That said, it was a pretty solid choice for a cover.

Review continues on the next page.

It's safe to say that we as a society are stuck with "Blurred Lines" for the foreseeable future. Some hits are temporary -- I assume I'm the only person that still has "Harlem Shake" on his MP3 player -- but some just get stuck into the fabric of pop culture. And judging by the way the crowd exploded when the song started, "Blurred Lines" is one of those songs.

It helped that he finally approached the crowd during the song, stopping to take selfies with a few of those folks lucky enough to be up front. Of course, he also didn't make it all the way around the arena, so there's probably a metaphor to be made there about trying hard but not hard enough.

Sometimes all you need to finish strong is the right song and a few hand slaps. It's a shame you have to do the rest of the show too.

Personal Bias: Is it possible to not have an opinion on someone? Before "Blurred Lines" I knew Thicke existed, but I was never particularly motivated to check out his music.

The Crowd: While plenty of great seats were still available, it was a solid showing for a Tuesday night.

Overheard in the Crowd: "I love fireworks. Sometimes I come just for the fireworks." #Truth

Random Notebook Dump: I'm naming my new band I Root for the Calves, because that's what I do during the calf scramble.

Mutton Busting Update: I haven't written about this much because, while fun, there hasn't really been anything to write home about at any of the nights I've been. Tonight however saw 3 kids make it into the 90s and another kid hit 88. Well done, children.


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