Luke Bryan RodeoHouston, Reliant Stadium March 3, 2012
Luke Bryan is the Ernest Hemingway of country music, in the same way that Hemingway is Subway's Cold Cut Trio of literature. Sure, it's a little simple - almost too simple, really - but it's got everything you need for a satisfying song, novel or sandwich, respectively.
All the ingredients are there; it's just very cut and dry. And it's almost too literal, void of metaphors and symbolism, but honest in its delivery. As we sat there and watched Bryan onstage, listened to and digested his music, we realized that everyone around us was hearing this man as if they have never heard music before.
In spite of not being able to play piano "worth a dang," Bryan's cover of Dan Seals' "Everything That Glitters (is Not Gold)" halfway through his set was by far his best and most heartfelt song of the evening, even with a few vocal hiccups at the beginning of the choruses. But - full disclosure - we're kind of suckers for sad lyricism accompanied only by acoustic guitar or piano.
Wait, what? Who said that? We meant "metal." We're suckers for metal... Yeah.[jump]
The concert began fittingly with a montage of old men talking about rain, about how important it is to their livelihood - in this case, to growing crops somewhere in Texas - before Bryan performed "Rain is a Good Thing." It was an appropriate opening for a show in Houston, since the good Lord has seen fit to bless us with such a bounty of the stuff after Satan's Summer.
Bryan's voice sounded muted and distant during the first two verses of "Rain," but by the second chorus, his sound technicians had worked out the kinks, and the rest of the show went off without a hitch -- sort of, depending on your definition of a hitch. There were plenty of uncomfortable moments to come, highlighted near the end of the show, when the gigantic screens in the center of Reliant Stadium were packed with Bryan's butt cheeks.
In "Country Man," we're pretty sure he made a passing reference to Hoobastank, and while we were busy thinking about what a terrible song "The Reason" is, we heard Bryan purr at the crowd. Did that really just happen? No. No way did he just do that. It must have been a fluke. Moving on.
During "Someone Else Calling You Baby," a heart-breaking ditty akin to Cee-Lo Green's "F*ck You" (minus the less-than-subtle bitter temperament), Bryan continued to awkwardly hop around stage, as he had been doing all evening, moving his hips as much as if not more than the young girls who frequent Coco Loco Thursday nights. It bore a slight resemblance to dancing and, much to our chagrin, he even indulged the crowd to a little air-guitar solo as his band's lead guitarist wailed on his instrument.
Dude! You have an actual guitar onstage, and you've been playing it, so why do you feel the need to play air guitar? Women only think that's cool when they've been drinking too heavily at their favorite watering hole and are already smitten with you when your favorite song comes on the jukebox. And even then, they're probably still laughing at you. They're just doing it quietly or in a way that makes them look smitten with your drunk ass. Stick to the real deal, man.