Last Night: Martina McBride At RodeoHouston
Ain't no use in complaining, when you've got a job to do.
With SXSW bearing down on us like a freight train and the Rodeo squeezing us like a vise, Aftermath basically wants to kill everyone but our cat right now. Then when she starts poking at us around 4:30 a.m. because it's been a few interminable hours since we fed her, our thoughts start heading in that direction too.
So we might have grumbled a little bit on our way to see Martina McBride at Reliant Stadium Wednesday. Really, it was limited to joking about how we were the only man in the building there of our own free will. (Sort of.)
Towards the end of a set that we enjoyed overall and downright impressed us a couple of times, we heard some familiar chords and glanced down at the pre-published set list we had copied into our notebook. "Hmmm... the opening of 'Independence Day' sure sounds a lot like 'Summer of '69," we thought.
Then McBride began singing "I got my first real six-string..." and we broke into a grin as wide as the Southwest Freeway.
Of this year's Rodeo entertainers, only Alan Jackson has played the revolving stage more times than McBride - who turned three years old in the summer of '69, making her seven years younger than Bryan Adams - and only Jackson was on the charts before the Kansas-born ginger broke out with 1993's energetic bit of wish-fulfillment "My Baby Loves Me." Nobody this year is a better pure singer.
With that big gospel voice, McBride was born to sing Diane Warren-ish piano-pop ballads like "Valentine" and "Anyway," but she really shone on the more inspirational songs. "Wild Angels" reminded us a little of the Corrs' "Breathless," and McBride put so much oomph into "A Broken Wing" - holding the final "fly" for what seemed like an eternity - that may have been the reason she let her guitarist take such a long solo on "Summer of '69" and closer "Independence Day" felt cut a little short. Accusatory ballad "Where Would You Be" made us wonder what she could do with a Staples Singers song.