After a few nights of first time performers and relative newcomers, RodeoHouston turned over its rotating stage to one of the show’s most-tenured veterans.
“They told me this was my 23rd year playing the Houston rodeo,” Alan Jackson said one song into his hour-long, 14-song set. “It never gets old. Always an honor to be part of the greatest rodeo in the world.”
With that, the member of the Rodeo’s Star Trail of Fame (a group of the Rodeo's most iconic performers) took the crowd of 74,259 on a trip through his a career-spanning set of songs he described as being about “life and love and drinking and dancing and having a good time.” Even the most casual country music fans will recognize songs like “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” “Gone Country,” and “Remember When.” Judging by the number of people singing along, most of them know all the words, too.
Overall, Jackson seemed to be in a nostalgic mood, even during the show’s more up tempo songs. He dedicated “Little Bitty” to his wife and “Drive” to his deceased father. He even played the title track from his debut album, Here in the Real World. Of course, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” his song inspired by the events of September 11, had the crowd waving their phones in the air.
A video introduction to “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” showed a much younger-looking Jackson telling the story that inspired the hit, which created a notable contrast with the older gentleman standing on stage. He may be older, but the twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face make Jackson the sort of man who seems like he'd be fun to have a beer or two with.
“Seven Bridges Road” and “Remember When” ended the slower portion of the set. Jackson then picked things up with “Good Time” before launching into three of his biggest hits to close out the performance.
With that, he climbed onto the back of pickup truck and took a lap around the stadium to wave to the fans. The enthusiastic crowd showered him with applause. Given the reaction, the Rodeo can probably pencil him in for a 24th performance in 2018.
Living on Love
Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?
Don’t Rock the Jukebox
Here in the Real World
Chasin' That Neon Rainbow
Seven Bridges Road
It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere
Where I Come From