Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, and even LL Cool J.
RodeoHouston is the definitive annual concert event in the Bayou City. Anyone who is anyone in the world of country and pop music played the rotating center stage over the years. This year's line-up is stacked with the most diverse artists assembled in the history of the event, covering pop, rock, classic rock, Latin, EDM, and of course, country.
The following are the top 10 shows CultureMap is most excited to see during the 2019 edition.
Brooks & Dunn - Wednesday, February 27
The high-selling country duo hasn't performed a lot together over the last decade and it's been awhile since their "Boot Scootin' Boogie" heyday in the '90s, all of which makes this appearance special. Their last album of original music was the 2008 collection, Cowboy Town, but after their career of 20 No. 1 country hits, who can blame them for taking it easy. That said, this one will draw a huge amount of fans that grew up on their music, hungry to sing along to the countless hits this talented pair produced over the last 30 years.
Chris Stapleton - Thursday, March 14
The Nashville star Chris Stapleton makes his third straight appearance at RodeoHouston and while he hasn't put out anything since 2017's Room with a View, Vol. 2 in 2017, he remains one of country music's best performers. Very few acts at the event this year encapsulate country values better than the full-voiced Stapleton, whose music incorporates the wood and wires sound and classic gritty storytelling of old school C&W classics.
Kings of Leon - Tuesday, March 12
There's no denying Kings of Leon's staying power. While this booking would have made a bigger splash five years ago, the Nashville band of three Followill brothers and their cousin are more than established as a rock music powerhouse, having headlined the biggest festivals this country offers. The band's humble beginnings as a Lynyrd Skynyrd-meets-The Strokes soon gave way to a much larger mainstream sound that found major radio play with singles, "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody." And if you're wondering if they are big enough to play center stage, the group opened for U2 after the release of their first album, so they know how to fill big spaces.
Panic! at the Disco - Sunday, March 3
Emo kids, rejoice! RodeoHouston finally recognizes you as a viable moneymaker! Yes, we say that in jest, but if there is any act to come out of the early-2000s emo-rock movement, Las Vegas band Panic! at the Disco deserves to be in the spotlight. Led by the talented Brendon Urie, Panic! comes in hot on the heels of a huge tour behind the release of No. 1 album, Pray for the Wicked, a critically acclaimed jaunt that filled international arenas, showing that the band has the skills to play to the rafters. If there is a dark horse for best show at RodeoHouston this year, this is it.
Brad Paisley - Saturday, March 16
Brad Paisley makes his sixth consecutive appearance and 13th overall RodeoHouston appearance, largely because he remains one of the biggest country artists in the game right now. He continues to sell out arenas wherever he plays and while the only thing new he released since his 2017 album, Love and War, is his new single "Bucked Off," he's stayed relevant through the many Nationwide insurance commercials, playing the straight-man foil to former NFL MVP Peyton Manning's comedic persona.
Zedd - Friday, March 8
In 2017, RodeoHouston entertainment director Jason Kane experimented with bringing an EDM act, The Chainsmokers, to RodeoHouston. While it could have gone awry, the performance was an overall success, attracting a once hard to crack demographic - the youth. That experiment continues with the Grammy Award-winning Russian-German producer/DJ, Zedd, who worked with some big names in pop music, including Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and former RodeoHouston performer Alessia Cara. Will Zedd make the Rodeo rave again? We'll definitely be there to find out. Bring your glowsticks!
Santana - Wednesday, March 13
Simply put, Carlos Santana is a legend. One of the best guitarist of the 20th century, Santana's chops are something anyone who appreciates classic rock, guitar licks, and Latin music must seek out. First coming into prominence in the late-'60s, Santana's greatest strength, besides his versatile guitar talents, might be the ability to ride the many different waves of music over the course of his career with 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammys, that Rob Thomas collaboration be damned. At 71, the San Francisco based performer doesn't play as many shows as he used to, making this performance a highlight.
Kacey Musgraves - Monday, February 25
Any other year, coming into RodeoHouston on the heels of winning four Grammy Awards would put any artist at the top of this list, which speaks to the power of this year's roster of performers. Regardless, RodeoHouston couldn't have planned a better opener in Kacey Musgraves, whose album, Golden Hour, is the talk of not just the country world, but of pop music as well. The album is filled with great tunes, including the singles "Butterflies," and "Space Cowboy," drawing on country, pop, and even dance music. Musgraves will bring in fans of many genres, which makes her the perfect performer to kick-off such a varied 2019 season.
Cardi B - Friday, March 1
Is there a bigger music star in the world right now? Cardi B's 2019 has been a whirlwind, starting off with a performance at the adult video awards in Las Vegas(!), onto becoming the first female to win the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album for the smash, Invasion of Privacy, then releasing a new single with Bruno Mars in "Please Me." She'll take on RodeoHouston next. Will she keep it clean for the Rodeo audience? What will she wear? How will she react to the unique stage design? Will their be any GIFable controversy? Say what you want abut her, Cardi B is making the most of her time in the spotlight, and whatever the outcome, this will be the most talked about show of RodeoHouston, if not the hottest ticket of the 2019 season.
George Strait with Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen - Sunday, March 17
There shouldn't have been any doubt which show would take top spot. While this might be the most diverse line-up in years, when it comes down to it, this is a country and western showcase and nothing fits the bill better than the legend himself, George Strait. The second-highest selling country artist of all-time (only behind last year’s featured performer Garth Brooks), Strait is pretty much retired.
But whether it's the grandeur of the storied event or the talented people behind the scenes, RodeoHouston is the best in the business in attracting the biggest names to the center stage. The 2019 edition is no exception. Expect to hear tons of hits, lots of talk about how great the Lone Star State is, and the added touch of Texas country music’s most revered cult artists in Lyle Lovett and Robert Earn Keen. It doesn’t get more country than this performance, making Strait the best choice for the year's closing performer.