It’s back. The largest annual music event in Houston returns to NRG Stadium as the 2020 edition of RodeoHouston gets underway Tuesday, March 3, with nearly three weeks of some of the world’s biggest performers following some down-home cowboy and cowgirl competitions.
While this year doesn’t have a massive country name after years that featured legends Garth Brooks and George Strait — the two highest selling country artists of all time — there is still plenty of star power taking the star-shaped stage. These shows will draw well over a million people to see an extremely diverse lineup of bands and solo acts do their thing on the revolving stage.
For those who aren’t inclined to deal with the parking and congested midway, there are some huge shows this week outside of NRG, including a few high profile gigs at Toyota Center.
CultureMap’s shows of the week are as follows:
CultureMap show(s) of the week: RodeoHouston at NRG Stadium
RodeoHouston seemingly starts off with Dripping Springs' own, Midland, kicking things off on Tuesday night. But like Kacey Musgraves last year, there may be a method to the madness. Midland plays a form of country that many acts ignore these day — harking back to the rebel days of Dwight Yoakum and early George Strait when country crooners sung about wild nights, hard living, and broken hearts. They picked up an American Country Music Award for Best New Vocal Group in 2018 and have achieved recent success with the smash singles, "Drinkin' Problem," "Mr. Lonely," "Make a Little," "Burn Out," and "Cheatin' Songs."
They'll be followed by the legendary Willie Nelson on Wednesday, March 4, a RodeoHouston veteran, who makes his 11th appearance on center stage, with decades of great songs to share with the audience, including “Always on My Mind,” "On the Road Again,” and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.”
Making her debut, Latin American star Becky G comes into RodeoHouston on a hot streak, having won four Latin American Music Awards. The 23-year-old released the Spanish language album, Mala Santa in October of last year, landing on the U.S. charts. She'll headline on Thursday, March 5.
Friday's show pretty much sold out as soon as it went on sale with Chance the Rapper making his first RodeoHouston appearance on Friday, March 6. Chance recently cancelled a show at Toyota Center due to personal reasons, so this feels like a way to pay back Houston fans of the extremely popular and critically acclaimed Chicago performer, who is hot on the heels of his 2019 album, The Big Day, following the success of 2016 multi-Grammy Award winning mixtape, Coloring Book.
Country Music Association Best New Artist winner, Maren Morris, makes her RodeoHouston debut, filling the same role as Kacey Musgraves did last year – a fast-rising star with a huge future ahead of her on Saturday, March 7. Her 2019 album, Girl, debuted in the Top Five of the Billboard charts and she made waves with her turn in the all-female country supergroup, The Highwaywomen.
The Tejano acts at RodeoHouston are some of the most popular each and every year, breaking attendance records over and over again. This year’s Go Tejano Day on Sunday, March 8, will feature Ramon Ayala, who will make his fourth appearance. Ayala is considered one of the founders of the Norteño genre and has been performing for decades, meaning the crowd will be packed and likely span generations.
Young country star Chris Young will start off the second week of RodeoHouston much like the first with a steady dose of classic country on Monday, March 9. Young is more firmly placed in the new school of country-rock made popular by the Nashville machine, getting his break on the 2006 season of the Nashville Star reality series. Since then, he’s made numerous hits, including three No. 1 songs from his second album, The Man I Want to Be.
RodeoHouston starts on Tuesday, March 3 through Sunday, March 22. Tickets are available at various prices. Weekday shows start around 8:45 pm., weekend shows start around 5:45 pm.
CultureMap recommends: Dan Deacon at White Oak Music Hall
Baltimore party-starter Dan Deacon is back touring his colorful live show behind his latest experimental indie dance spectacular, Mystic Familiar, his first album of original work under his name in five years. Deacon is known for his bonkers performances that includes audience participation, numerous musicians, and an exuberance of lights and videos. Like a psychedelic lock-in, this one is made for those who like to give themselves over to the music.
Dan Deacon performs at White Oak Music Hall, located at 2915 N. Main St., on Thursday, March 5. Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and Swimwear Department open. Tickets start at $15 plus fees. Doors open at 8 pm.
Eagles at Toyota Center
"You can check out any time you like/But you can never leave" seems to be the mantra about touring for legendary easy rock group, The Eagles. The band, which once claimed they wouldn't ever tour together again after years of egotistical inter-band squabbling and elephant-sized substance abuse, hasn't really gone away since they reunited in 1994 after a 14-year breakup. And why would they? They make a killing among a fan base that now has plenty of cash to line their pockets.
They'll be playing the album that made them gazillionaires, the multi-diamond selling Hotel California (32 albums and counting) in its entirety, alongside a greatest hits set. Of course, this isn't the original Eagles lineup, guitarist Glenn Frey passed away in 2016, and various musicians, like Vince Gill and Frey's son, Deacon, have filled his spot over the last few years. If these guys can sell out Minute Maid Park, like they did in 2018, expect them to do close to the same at the Toyota Center over two nights, despite the hefty cost for admission.
The Eagles are at Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Friday, March 6 and 7. Tickets start at $129 plus service fees. Doors open at 6:30 pm.
Go Tejano Day Mariachi Invitational at Arena Theatre
One of the many shows and activities around RodeoHouston, the Go Tejano Committee hosts its 29th annual Mariachi Invitational at Arena Theatre, which helps raise funds for scholarships through the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship Fund. Five professional Mariachi bands from across Texas will compete in a blind competition judged by industry professionals and educators. The two finalists chosen at the event will compete at Go Tejano Day on the star-shaped center stage at NRG Stadium in front of 70,000-plus audience members.
The Go Tejano 29th Annual Mariachi Invitational Showcase takes place on Saturday, March 7. Tickets start at $45 on the resale market. Show starts at 7 pm.
Jill Scott at Revention Music Center
Houston loves Philadelphia R&B songstress Jill Scott. She’s played here numerous times over the last few years, solo or as part of a tour. But this might be one of her bigger shows with Revention Music Center sold out in advance. Scott was first discovered by The Roots in the late-'90s and went on to collaborate with some of the biggest names in the genre, later winning two Grammys and hitting the top of the charts for her insightful, beautifully produced and written albums, including her last album, 2015’s Woman.
Jill Scott performs at Revention Music Center, located at 520 Texas Ave., on Sunday, March 8. Tickets start at $180 plus fees on the resale market. Doors open at 7 pm.
Post Malone at Toyota Center
Megastar Post Malone makes a victory lap with his Runaway Tour, something not done since Justin Timberlake did the same with his Man in the Woods jaunt a few years back. That’s the level Post Malone is on right now in pop culture. The Grapevine-raised artist has sold tens of millions of albums and is now set to conquer Hollywood, starring in the upcoming Mark Wahlberg flick, Spenser Confidential. The “White Iverson” and “Circles” phenom will no doubt sell out his second headlining stint at Toyota Center this Monday.
Post Malone headlines Toyota Center, located at 1510 Polk St., on Monday, March 9. Swae Lee and Tyla Yaweh open. Tickets start at $83.50 plus service fees. Doors open at 7 pm.