From Black Eyed Peas to Brad Paisley
RodeoHouston out of the chute with its most diverse line-up in years
There are a few things a rodeo/music fan can count on when RodeoHouston gets ready for the annual unveiling of its concert line-up: Top country music acts and the latest, greatest teen sensations. Every couple of years, however, they grab a superstar or two that surpasses all expectations.
It appears that 2010 will be one of those years as sizzling hot hip-hop stars Black Eyed Peas and Mary J. Blige headline a prestigious cast of hot acts and pop heartthrobs including Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Justin Bieber and Brooks & Dunn's final RodeoHouston appearance.
Not since RodeoHouston said goodbye to the Astrodome in 2002, with a line-up that included Bob Dylan, Destiny's Child and Neil Diamond as well as country radio royalty George Strait and the Dixie Chicks, has the rodeo hosted such a diverse all-star cast of both country and non-country artists. The 22 performers have cumulatively won 24 Grammy Awards, 78 Country Music Association Awards and 59 Academy of Country Music Awards.
"You can have all the money in the world, but every year when we set out to do this it comes down to tour routing, who's playing where and when and will they come play our building," says Leroy Shafer, Vice-President and COO of RodeoHouston. "We are extremely pleased with this line-up. I think it is one of the most diverse line-ups I've ever been involved with."
From the return of former Hootie and the Blowfish front man turned country star Darius Rucker and boy band Jonas Brothers, both for a second consecutive year, to the strong showing by country's leading men — including Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley — this line-up is buzz-worthy. No non-country performer, however, has the star power currently being generated by the Black Eyed Peas whose March 18 concert is promising to be one of the live music events of the year in Houston.
After ruling the singles charts last year with high energy dance tracks like "Boom Boom Pow" and "I Gotta Feeling" from former No. 1 album "The E.N.D.," the Black Eyed Peas' rodeo appearance has been worked into an international tour in support of the album. Some might consider a rodeo an unlikely stop for the a band which is just now taking it's superstardom to the highest level, packing arenas around the world. Shafer credits the quality word-of-mouth reputation RodeoHouston has among artists and B.E.P. vocalist Fergie's personal experience playing the rodeo as a solo artist in 2008.
"We had been after the Black Eyed Peas for years. Having Fergie in (Reliant Stadium) a couple years ago to experience our show helped us achieve that," says Shafer. "I think having them ranks right up at the top with getting Miley Cyrus or Alicia Keys.
"In the early years of the rodeo it would be on par with Elvis Presley playing the rodeo for the first time."
Kicking things off on March 2 will be Alan Jackson, one of several country radio kings who will twirl on the rodeo's mobile stage this year. In just over two decades Jackson has scored 57 top 40 country singles including 26 No. 1 hits. Fan favorites include "Don't Rock the Jukebox," "Chattahoochee," and "Country Boy." Jackson has practically become the RodeoHouston house band having played there every year since 1992, except 2003. The only other artists who can top that are Brooks & Dunn, the most successful duo in the history of music, who play RodeoHouston on March 20 as part of their final tour after 19 years together. This will also be their 19th consecutive year playing at the rodeo in Houston.
"You always know good acts will end someday, but when I heard that Brooks & Dunn were planning their final tour I knew we had to end the Super Series with them," says Shafer.
In addition to playing the second-to-last night of RodeoHouston, the duo also gets the honor of playing following the conclusion of the BP Super Series Championship events. Though purely coincidental, it works well that Brooks & Dunn's final national trek is titled, "The Last Rodeo Tour."
Another date sure to cause a spike in tickets sales will be Blige, who headlines Black Heritage Day on March 5. The queen of hip-hop soul returns to RodeoHouston a much bigger star than when she last played the event in 2002. Two Mexican Norteno groups, Pesado and El Trono De Mexico, share the bill for Go Tejano Day on March 14. It is one of the few days in which the concerts will be split among two groups. The others are the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato on March 7 and the RodeoHouston teen-dream finale featuring Bieber and Selena Gomez on March 21.
See the full concert schedule here.
Tickets for the 2010 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo/Houston go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at all Ticketmaster locations. Tickets range from $16-$20 (plus convenience fees and handling charges).
Wednesdays are "Value Days" each week at the rodeo and feature upper level tickets for $10. A limited number of "Chute Seats," located on the stadium's ground floor directly behind the bucking chutes will be available for $200-$300 (includes food and beverages). Season ticket packages and two different mini-season packages (each featuring nine shows in the RodeoHouston series) are also available.
The Black Eyed Peas Flash Mob on Oprah: