Brad Paisley Reliant Stadium March 19, 2011
Aside from the fireworks, there was no grand entrance for Brad Paisley, who practically ran to the stage later than usual for a Saturday night at RodeoHouston. He had no time for chit-chat as he dove right into "Water" in his signature white cowboy hat and blue glittered guitar. Although strapped for time, Paisley performed 14 songs, perfectly balancing his ballads and upbeat hits with enough time for a few guitar solos.
After the opening song, he switched his guitar to an appropriately decorated red, orange and pink paisley electric for "Online," an amusing track about the anonymity of the Internet and how everyone is "so much cooler online."
Paisley is known for his satirical songwriting and sense of humor; even though the set felt a bit rushed, he managed to make us chortle quite a few times.
Besides the comedy, Paisley's guitar playing was what truly stood out. Not only did he change guitars almost every song, he played solos in every one and utilized each runway to show the crowd that he was serious about that all-American country music.
He slowed it down for the ballad, "She's Everything" and got the ladies behind us all kinds of worked up. Paisley shut his eyes for his very soulful electric guitar outro, and suddenly we realized just how single we are.
Before getting into "Celebrity," Paisley introduced it by dedicating it to Charlie Sheen. During the song, a bigheaded, costumed Brad Paisley (from the video for the song) walked around the perimeter of the stadium, shaking hands.
During the second ballad of the night, "Waiting On a Woman," we saw a few older couples in the crowd dancing and holding one another. We held our popcorn as close as possible.
For "Beer," Paisley jumped off of the stage and walked around the perimeter like his costumed antecedent-but the real Paisley actually played his guitar whilst walking. He handed out what looked like guitar picks to a few people in the crowd and employed their vocal accompaniment when he got a little tired. Once he was back onstage, Paisley got another guitar and finished his solo.
He finally went back to his original blue glittery guitar for "Fishin'," one of his biggest hits, and played with the crowd while waiting for their response to the song's question: me or fishin', before chiming in with them, "I'm gonna miss her."
The third ballad of the night came with yet another different guitar - Aftermath counted seven guitar changes, but it may have been ten - and ended with Paisley saying, "I hope you're in love tonight. If not, I hope you fall in love tonight." Our [imaginary] love is in Austin still, performing at SXSW, but we pretended like he was there with us.
Paisley closed with our-and we assume the crowd's-personal favorite, "Alcohol", personifying the party liquor: "I've been known to cause a few breakups and I've been known to cause a few births. I can make you new friends or get you fired from work."
This was our last Rodeo for the year, and we were very pleased with the final performance. Paisley has a clear, strong voice live and can play the hell out of his brilliantly decorated guitars. If you're reading this, Brad, we need that paisley joint. You obviously have enough - you can spare one.
Personal Bias: Paisley is a funny dude; we're a sucker for satire.
Overheard In the Crowd: "There's that white hat - I love that white hat!"
Random Notebook Dump: Mutton busting champion after being asked how he practiced: "I've been in this for 23 years." We're going to miss those little kids so much.
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Water Online American Saturday Night She's Everything This Is Country Music Celebrity Waiting On A Woman Beer Mud On The Tires Still A Guy Fishin' Then Ticks Alcohol