Who Should Play RodeoHouston In 2013?

On October 30, just a few days from now, RodeoHouston will announce its first round of performers for the 2013 edition of the star-studded, yeehawin', nearly three-week event at Reliant Park.

The booking the last few years has been getting more adventurous, with the likes of Kid Rock, KISS, Mary J. Blige, and Janet Jackson making the cut. Our friends over there are getting the hang of booking non-country acts, which is cool, since a lot of (most of) the pop-country that is coming around is pretty vanilla. Save for some of the bigger nostalgia acts like Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and Reba, Keith, Brad, and a few others, the acts are kind of interchangeable.

Obviously Taylor Swift has moved on from the rodeo, though there could always be a surprise.

Dub(Two)Step Night Can you feel it? Can you feel it? The bass is about to drop inside Reliant Stadium with the help of Rusko and Skrillex, who preside over the opening night of RodeoHouston: Neon cowboy boots, assless chaps, glitter bombs, rodeo clowns with glowsticks, and cowgirls covered in strategically placed flannel patches. For one night, Mutton Bustin' is replaced with HPD trying to tackle and taser kids on crystal meth on the Reliant floor.

Green Day Billie Joe will long be out of rehab, chubbed-up from laying off all the fun stuff, and will be craving ribs, alligator meat, and funnel cakes. Good, now I am too. Maybe Tre Cool can play nude except for a cowboy hat.

Neil Diamond The Jewish Elvis hasn't played the rodeo since 2002, and hasn't been to Houston since 2008. His fanbase is big enough now -- with just the right touch of irony -- to make it a big, big draw. Plus, we could get "Sweet Caroline" twice in row. Reliant will sell out of white wine within minutes.

A Holographic Classic Country Hootenanny! A few months back as "holograms" became all the rage after Hologram Tupac appeared at Coachella, I proposed that RodeoHouston do the same with classic country legends like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr., Waylon Jennings, and Tammy Wynette headlining one evening.

I would like to add holograms of Conway Twitty and Johnny Paycheck to that request, because I wanna hear Paycheck's "Colorado Kool-Aid" at least once in the Slaughterhouse, and a Twitty hologram would probably find a way to get laid.

Psy RodeoHouston branches out to the Korean-American community by having pop sensation Psy headline. He has more than one song, guys, so don't worry about him filling up an hour onstage.

No Doubt Gwen seems like she would be into all those violent rodeo things, right? And you just know she could work with that revolving stage.

Journey What? They have really never played RodeoHouston? Do they hate rodeos? Have the organizers never asked? Is it a money issue? Does not compute. Everyone would go ape for this.

Kings of Leon ...are still a band, and have been doing one-off festival dates here and there, and seem to be due to come around Houston again. Rumors that lead singer Caleb Followill was working on a country record never came to fruition, but the band's alt-rock twang would fit nicely with the Midtowners and 'burb-dwellers coming into Houston for the show.

Aaron Lewis This country's hard on people, you can't stop what's coming, it ain't all waiting on you. Plus, he could play some of your cousin's favorite Staind songs.

The Wallflowers The Jakob Dylan-led group is playing Nutty Jerry's out in Winnie in just a few weeks, which shows they have no hard feelings against places that house rodeos. They even have a new album out, Glad All Over. Jakob's dad played the RodeoHouston when it was still at the Astrodome back in 2002.


Randy Travis Travis' 1998 Trans Am comes barreling out of the backstage area of Reliant, barely missing photographers and fans. Travis, 17 sheets to the wind on warm Bud Light from his dressing room, does a few donuts as the customary fireworks go off until the car sputters and stalls.

Clad in only jeans and boots, Travis jumps out of the car, smashes his acoustic guitar on the hood, saunters to the stage, and performs his 2000 gospel-country album Inspirational Journey in full. Then he quietly walks back to the Trans Am, and passes out in the front seat.

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