|Photos courtesy Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo|
From one-night stands to missing the one that got away, love and country music go hand in hand. Monday night, fresh pop-country faces Lady Antebellum - reigning ACM Top New Duo or Group and CMA New Artist of the Year - rocked out to all of love's in-betweens.
Kicking off the show was the trio's recent hit, one-night-stand disclaimer "Lookin' For a Good Time," a surprisingly decent splice of Lady A's own sound and AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long." The crowd hadn't quite settled in just yet, but there were enough people to give the obligatory hoots and hollers when singer Hillary Scott said Houston is like her second home - a deliberate segue into "Home Is Where the Heart Is."
Scott's voice ricocheted around Reliant Stadium, so it was hard to distinguish if she was flat on a few pitches or distorted by the microphones. Regardless, Charles Kelley's soothing tenor helped move the songs along, as did Dave Haywood's spectacular musicianship on guitar, piano and backup vocals. A light-hearted rendition of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" helped answer the group's semi-successful pleas for audience participation.
Blue and aqua-colored lights set the regret-soaked mood for the first song the band ever composed together, "All We'd Ever Need." Teasing the audience as they leaned in for what could've been a kiss at the song's end, Kelley and Scott gave each other Oscar-worthy love-struck gazes as they sang. The guitar solos were often reminiscent of rock, but never felt out of place.
With its well-known, contagiously energetic chorus, the hottest moment of the concert was the band's cover of the Black Crowes/Otis Redding hit "Hard to Handle." Followed by another near-kiss tease, it ended with the loudest crowd response yet from the by-then more crowded stadium. Next came Lady A's newest single, the memorable "I Run to You," which opened with on-point soaring vocal harmonies.
Kelley brought out a camera to show the audience the band's appreciation during closer and first hit single "Love Don't Live Here." It seemed like other bands' songs elicited a response equal to or greater than Lady A's originals, but, to the trio's credit, who doesn't like to hear an unexpected classic that nearly that nearly everyone in the crowd knows done well?
For someone unaccustomed to the taste of twangy country, Monday's concert was probably one of the better ones to see, because Lady A's catchy pop-country tunes were easy transition for getting into the Rodeo spirit.
They were certainly enough to make one grandmother sing out loud with her grandchild, swinging hands as they made their way to the Metrorail, "How 'bout baby / We make a promise / To not promise anything more than one night." Never mind that the lyrics are about a one-night stand.