Jason Aldean appeared for the fifth consecutive year at RodeoHouston on Tuesday night. I have every reason to believe he will make it back next year for a sixth straight appearance. I have put together a simple 20-step guide on how to enjoy an Aldean show when he inevitably returns, based on my observations from this year's rambunctious show.
Step One: Put a ton of thought into your wardrobe
This is not going to be a country music concert as much as it's going to be a celebration of redneck culture, amplified. Men; neon plaid pearl snaps or -shirts with eagles and bulls are acceptable, but please keep them tucked into your Wranglers. Ladies, your jean pockets MUST contain rhinestones. The more flair, the more rodeo cred. Also acceptable are boots worn with dresses, cut off shorts with pockets that extend past the shorts themselves, and plaid.
Step Two: Take the light rail
Riding the rail to and from RodeoHouston will ensure that you maximize your people-watching potential, and the Ensemble/HCC station is within walking distance from some lively after-rodeo bars and of course the Continental Club.
Step Two: Get some carnival food
After getting off at Reliant Park station, take a stroll through the carnival before stopping for pierogi at Polinia's booth. In fact, get the combo with the cabbage roll and sausage. It's a great deal, and you've got a long night of country amp-rock ahead of you.
Step Four (for beer lovers): Get crafty
Once inside Reliant Stadium, don't go for the deceptive Third Shift/Blue Moon psuedo-craft beer oases throughout the concourse. If you're willing to walk all the way to the south end zone, there is Karbach and St. Arnold. Get it, and go grab a seat.
Step Five: Take a Selfie with your beer and all decked out in your rodeo garb
Post it to Instagram if you're under 25, post it to Twitter if you're between 25 and 40, and post it to Facebook if you're still using Facebook. Hashtag #Hicktown.
Step Six: Clown around
Continue to check your social media app of choice while awaiting the show's start, pausing briefly to watch Barrel Racing, Mutton Bustin', and the antics of Leon Coffee, everyone's favorite rodeo clown.
Step Seven: Get crazy
As the concert begins, forget everything that you knew about country and bask in the delay pedal guitar glory and thrashing drums that opens up "Crazy Town."
Step Eight (for ladies:) Let's dance
Grab four of your friends and treat the aisles of Reliant Stadium like a Saturday night at Wild West. Let the music guide you and dance, dance, dance. Don't hold back. The show depends on your performance just as much as Aldean's bravado.
Step Nine: Sing along
Sing along to every word of "When She Says Baby." If you don't know the words, that's OK. Reliant Stadium puts them on a LED screen in the corner of the building, and it's quite helpful.
Step Ten: Scream like crazy
Scream like crazy when Luke Bryan and Eric Church are introduced by Aldean as co-writers of "The Only Way I Know"...then deflate like a balloon when Aldean breaks the news that those two aren't actually here.
Step Eleven: After singing along for less than a verse of "The Only Way I Know," forget that Step Ten ever happened.
Step Twelve (applies exclusively to Jason Aldean): You're totally in control. Own that stage. Strut around, pump your fist, be yourself. Adapt lyrics to make the citizens of the city you're playing in feel special (I.E. sing ..."girls of Houston,Texas..", "...tattoos on this Texas town...", etc.)
Step Thirteen (applies exclusively to Aldean's drummer): Spin those sticks like your life depends on it. Remember, this isn't so much a concert as a public display of amplification. The more cowbell the better. You're not Jason Aldean, but the camera is going to be on you. A lot. Make the most out of that screen time. Drum with your face.
Step Fourteen: When Aldean sings "Amarillo Sky" from his self-titled debut album, there's actually a pretty bit of farming imagery in the lyrics. Listen closely. It's not Steinbeck, but it's there and it's going to be the highlight of the show. Perhaps the most sincere moment of the entire night.
Step Fifteen (for guys:) When Aldean asks "Where's all my dude's in the house tonight?" it's appropriate to respond loudly in an extra deep voice in order to prove that you are in fact a dude. Aldean can't see that far into the stands, so the vocal cues really help.
Step Sixteen: Do not, I repeat, do not, take Aldean's advice to buy a bottle of Southern Comfort after the show and take your girl to the outskirts of town. You're better than that and it won't turn out like the lyrics of "Night Train," I can almost guarantee.
Step Seventeen: It's a much better idea to relive the lyrics to "Tattoos on this Town" after the show. Go to The Hideout and dance to some honky-tonk music, or head to the carnival and win your sweetie a prize. Remember, you took the light rail to Reliant. There are a large amount of very cool bars and music venues along Main Street that will memorably extend anyone's Tuesday night. Have fun. Live it up.
Step Eighteen: There's a country-rap delivery in the middle of "Dirt Road Anthem." It's a lot of fun to chant along to, but be sure you get the words right.
Step Nineteen: If the words in Step Eighteen escape you, wave your hands back and forth during the chorus of "Dirt Road Anthem." It looks really cool when 72,088 fans in Reliant Stadium do it in unison.
Step Twenty: Starting with "She's Country" and ending with the show closer, "Hicktown," the last three songs of the set are an opportunity to do everything you've been doing throughout the show — only bigger, better, and louder. Though remember, kids are watching.
Take a Little Ride
When She Says Baby
Big Green Tractor
The Only Way I Know
Fly Over States
Tattoos on this Town
Dirt Road Anthem
My Kinda Party