Texas-raised Kacey Musgraves, fresh off of four Grammy Awards and a prime seat at the Oscars, opened the 2019 edition of RodeoHouston with professionalism and grace few performers today could even hope to match with a set that smartly relied on Album of the Year, Golden Hour.
A breathtaking Musgraves sported a Priscilla Presley coif, dressed in a gorgeous, white, one-piece, floral-print bodysuit with flared bottoms. Matched with early Dolly Parton-meets-Lana Del Rey vocals, she brought a touch of class to the dust and dirt of NRG Stadium.
A set filled with mid-tempo numbers, it kept in line with the Sunday afternoon sigh of her commercial and critical breakthrough album, but her eight-piece band, including a cellist, slide guitarist, two keyboardists, and two back-up singers, brought extra life to her songs, including concert and Golden Hour opener "Slow Burn."
“Hello Houston, I love you so much," the Minneola, Texas native told the crowd after a spirited second song, "Wonder Woman." "It feels great to be back in my home state. I have always wanted to play RodeoHouston since I was a little girl."
NRG Stadium wasn't completely full — it was a chilly Monday night, after all — but the proceedings produced several big singalongs, the first coming during Grammy Award-winning, "Butterflies," and standout, "Follow Your Arrow." Musgraves did a good job keeping the audience involved with a call and response during "Velvet Elvis," and got the crowd clapping to the beat of fellow Texan, Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart."
Highlights included two other well-received covers, Brooks and Dunn's "Neon Moon" and Selena's "Como La Flor," the latter sung completely in Spanish (with help of a teleprompter) that drew the biggest applause, fans of the late Tejano singer dancing in the aisles.
But the show-stopper proved to be gorgeous, uplifting Golden Hour ballad, "Rainbow," Musgraves ascending high in the air on one of the points of the star-shaped and frankly, cool-as-all-get-out stage, lit in corresponding colors. The singer remarked beforehand that she was now able to "check it off her bucket list."
The evening closed with her most dance-leaning number, "High Horse," a throwback to the Bee Gees, but still keeping in line with a country strut. Whether it was the announcement of the last song, or that wasn't as country-friendly as the songs that came before it, half the crowd headed towards the exits as the song started. Too bad, as they missed one of the best performances of the night, finishing with Musgraves' exiting on a real-life horse, keeping it real with her Texas roots, Grammy and Academy awards appearances be damned.
Overall, Kacey Musgraves gave an understated performance compared to what the next three weeks will surely bring, but there's no denying her star power, and her band's ability to add layers of sound to her mid-tempo numbers made it the perfect way to open another year at RodeoHouston.
“Merry Go Round”
“Western J - High Time”
“Neon Moon” (Brooks and Dunn cover)
“Como La Flor” (Selena cover)