HTX Let's Go Rodeo 2013
Ha ha, un huh

Uneven Pitbull performance at RodeoHouston doesn't have enough bite

Pitbull's uneven RodeoHouston performance lacks bite

Pitbull, RodeoHouston, March 2013
For the first half of the hour-long concert, I kept thinking, "How does he get away with this?" Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
RodeoHouston, Pitbull concert, March 2013
The lack of on-stage entertainment, even better Jumbotron graphics or a pair of backup dancers, was inexcusable. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Pitbull, RodeoHouston, March 2013
By the end of the concert, children in the press box were singing along in Spanish and fans of all ages danced in the aisles of Reliant Stadium as if it were a huge discoteca. Photo by © Michelle Watson/CatchLightGroup.com
Pitbull, RodeoHouston, March 2013
RodeoHouston, Pitbull concert, March 2013
Pitbull, RodeoHouston, March 2013

It's a running joke amongst my friends that I'm a big Pitbull fan, but I must justify: During a summer study abroad trip to Costa Rica, "I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)" played nonstop on the radio, and to this day the track reminds me of sweaty discotecas, cold Imperial and days lazing on the beach.

Pitbull's sound has since become more irksome to me than anything else, but despite a forewarning from my sister that his concerts consist mostly of crude gestures and gravely "Ha has" and "Uh huhs," I signed up to cover his Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Performance.

It was an assignment that I immediately regretted on Thursday night.

For the first half of the hour-long concert, through "I Like (The Remix)," "Give Me That Ass," "Sexy and I Know It" and more, I kept thinking, "How does he get away with this?"

As a recording artist who is better known for fortuitous collaborations than solo material, Pitbull can be forgiven for performing a medley of mash-ups highlighting relevant rap snippets — but the lack of on-stage entertainment, even better Jumbotron graphics or a pair of backup dancers — is inexcusable.

Playing air guitar, fist-pumping wildly and pulling out the occasional salsa step just wasn't sufficient for an enthusiastic crowd of 75,217 (the second largest in RodeoHouston history).

For the first half of the hour-long concert, through "I Like (The Remix)," "Give Me That Ass," "Sexy and I Know It" and more, I kept thinking, "How does he get away with this?"

But then he finally took off his black suit jacket, dabbed the sweat from his shining bald head and briefly removed his oversized black aviators to reveal his baby blues. Only then did the rapper seem to transform from a Miami used car salesman into an actual entertainer.

Pitbull and his backing band breezed into tunes from Armando, his 2010 Spanish studio album, plus Top 40 hits like "Hotel Room Service," "Give Me Everything" and "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" (even though, admittedly, the catchy parts are all Usher's).

All the while, children in the press box were singing along in Spanish and fans of all ages danced in the aisles of Reliant Stadium as if it were a huge discoteca.