I am happy to report that Rodeo Houston is alive and well, two weeks in. The paid concert attendance has not dropped below 71,000 since last Thursday, and Monday night's Spring Break opener was no exception.
So what did all 72,891 Rodeo fans come for on Monday? From the sound of the applause during the middle of Georgia Boy Jason Aldean's set, it was solely for the privilege of hearing seven of his nine No. 1 hits from Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart sprinkled throughout Monday night's quick set.
That moment would later be rivaled by Aldean's invitation for all of the "Texas country girls in the seats" to stand up for a loud and proud rendition of "She's Country."
The show, 13 songs total, was full of bombastic riffs that meshed well with the constant hoots and fist pumps from the Spring Break crowd. Aldean knew exactly where he was, and gave ample acknowledgement to being in Houston between performances of his hits.
Though Aldean's performance contained no detectable influence from George Strait, who just happens to be closing out this whole shindig on Sunday evening, the singer wisely took a couple of opportunities to mention the rodeo legend in his songs. The crowd, of course, ate it up.
It is always wise to name drop George Strait at a Rodeo event in this city, but Joe Diffie might be Aldean's true hero.
Judging by the bent of his most recent anthem, "1994," also performed on Monday night, country music begins and ends with the man who recorded "Third Rock From The Sun," and a Diffie revival is imminent amongst the spring breakers this season.
Or at least that's what Aldean would have you believe.
Oddly enough, the gratuitous crowd shots of fans gleefully singing along on Monday night painted a similar picture, though it may have just been the $7.50 Miller Lites on tap.
Other show highlights on Monday night included a performance of Aldean's third No. 1 hit, "Big Green Tractor," from 2009's Wide Open. The inclusion of that song surprised absolutely no one in the crowd, but garnered a loud applause during the opening verse all the same.
That moment in the show would later be rivaled by Aldean's invitation for all of the "Texas country girls in the seats" to stand up for a loud and proud rendition of "She's Country," also from Wide Open.
Even if Aldean's style of music would not be my personal preference for the month-long bill, it was exciting to be among such a lively crowd to kick off RodeoHouston's final week.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo event showcases much more than just live music and riding events, and the walk through the crowded carnival before the show to the packed and rowdy light rail ride after the final song, that intangible charm was on full display Monday evening.
I'm honored to live in a city in which a rodeo is a Spring Break destination and both fans of radio stations 93Q Country and Texas Country Legends can happily coexist, no matter who is playing that evening.