HTX Let's Go Rodeo 2013
Easy Going

The real deal: Kenny Chesney's genuine performance is one of RodeoHouston's best

Kenny Chesney's genuine performance is RodeoHouston best

Kenny Chesney, Rodeo Houston, March 2013
Kenny Chesney has the RodeoHouston audience in the palm of his hand. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
0011, RodeoHouston, Kenny Chesney concert, March 2013
Chesneyheads show their love. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
0010, RodeoHouston, Kenny Chesney concert, March 2013
Chesney just got better and better as the show rolled along. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
0012, RodeoHouston, Kenny Chesney concert, March 2013
Chesney handed an outstanding concert full of classic songs to the audience of nearly 70,000. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Kenny Chesney, Rodeo Houston, March 2013
0011, RodeoHouston, Kenny Chesney concert, March 2013
0010, RodeoHouston, Kenny Chesney concert, March 2013
0012, RodeoHouston, Kenny Chesney concert, March 2013

This story says it all: When the gates to Reliant Stadium's exclusive dirt-level chute seats opened at the start of the Kenny Chesney show Tuesday night at RodeoHouston, a large throng of eager Chesneyheads rushed to get a good place in the front, which resulted in a spectacle that was slightly more entertaining than the calf scramble.

As I watched, I observed one fan with a much different approach.

 Though several lively numbers peppered the 14-song set list, the concert was a low-key affair that would have gone just fine with a Tecate and a bit of lime.

 While Chesney and his band fell into a pace setting groove by opening with "Beer in Mexico," this wise fan strolled across the arena floor to grab her chair, then proceeded to set it up several feet behind the rest of the crowd. By the time Chesney got to "No Shoes, No Shirts, No Problem," a backyard waltz off of his 2002 album of the same name, she had her legs kicked up and was taking it all in.

That's just the kind of mood Chesney's band inspires. Though several lively numbers peppered the 14-song set list, including the Houston debut of "Pirate Flag" from his upcoming album Life on a Rock, the concert was a low-key affair that would have gone just fine with a Tecate and a little bit of lime.

By the time Chesney's band brought out a reworked, more stripped down version of "Young," Also off of No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem, I noticed a lot more of those chute seat fans stretching their legs or otherwise casually dancing across the dirt.

If the show had only consisted of the last five songs, I still would have been satisfied. The set never became dull, but Chesney just got better and better as the show rolled along.

In an admirable move, Chesney and his band decided to close the set as if it were a tour show rather than a Rodeo Houston performance — with a loose approach.

 It was a rare moment in which you could hear a pin drop in Reliant Stadium, and it felt completely authentic.

 Following the aforementioned version of "Young," Chesney and his band decided to go off the set list to perform one of the most intimate Reliant performances I've ever witnessed. With minimal accompaniment, Chesney sang "You and Tequila," originally a duet with Grace Potter from 2010's Hemingway's Whiskey.

It was a rare moment in which you could hear a pin drop in Reliant Stadium, and it felt completely authentic.

You see, there are many types of performers at Rodeo Houston, but only a select few that can be relied on to give you a genuine show on a Tuesday night, and Kenny Chesney is one of those performers. Never too flashy or gimmicky, Chesney handed an outstanding concert full of classic songs to the audience of nearly 70,000. This was in no small part thanks to a set list that was much more surprising live than on paper.

The crowd played along, helping to make Tuesday's show one of the most enjoyable performances of the season.

All night long, there was a general ease in the air that contrasted Monday night's younger, rowdier crowd. I credit Chesney's music for bringing out such an affable group. I count myself among the fans that got exactly what they wanted from Tuesday night's show — but I sure do wish that he had played "The Boys of Fall."

Set List:

"Beer in Mexico"

"Keg"

"Pirate Flag"

"Summertime"

"No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem"

"Feel Like a Rock Star"

"I Go Back"

"Somewhere With You"

"Living in Fast Forward"

"Young"

"How Forever Feels"

"You and Tequila"

"Don't Happen Twice"

"Out Last Night"