It has always baffled me why Rascal Flatts's stylist insists on putting 40-year-old lead singer Gary LeVox into shirts with rhinestones and embroidered detailing meant for a much younger guy. He's a truly talented singer, and that should stand on its own, because no matter how youthful his attire or how frosted the tips of his hair, he's simply never going to be a sexpot.
But that's about as far as my complaints go when it comes to the Houston rodeo's Thursday-night concert by Rascal Flatts.
The long-established country music superstars knew how to please their fans, opening early with hits like "Mayberry" and "God Bless the Broken Road." And they were careful to mitigate their sometimes-whinier ballads with crowd-pleasers like "Me and My Gang," "Why Wait," and a cover of Journey's "Open Arms" (which would not be the group's last cover of the night).
When the band finally broke into "What Hurts the Most," you could feel the bromotion from the men in the room. Although there were plenty of women on their feet (a commendable feat for a stadium concert like those at Reliant), it was a show for the guys.
During the last third of the set, guitarist Joe Don Rooney played the national anthem in a wicked guitar solo and I remember thinking, "Somewhere, Toby Keith just came."
The assumed finale came with "Life is Highway," but instead of ending there— with a thank you to fans for the "wonderful ride" blazoned across the Jumbotron — Rascal Flatts broke into a medley of classic rock covers, including "Carry on my Wayward Son," and "Free Ride." Although it got the remaining crowd moving, it was odd not to have ended on an original note.
Still, it was a well-executed concert that we're sure the same crowds will be back for next year and the year after that — just like Gary's shirts.