Last Night: Sugarland At RodeoHouston
The shenanigans have begun, folks. The Rodeo is back in Houston, and if you haven't already, it's time to stop by Reliant Stadium, pet some adorable farm animals, gain a few pounds eating fried everything - maybe even lose a few after visiting the amusement park - and get caught up in annual celebration of everything Texas once again.
As is tradition, the lights went out just before 9 p.m., fireworks dazzled newcomers and Ain't-My-First-Rodeo types alike, and a montage of past Rodeos was projected onscreen. As it all came to a close, the stage was lit up as Sugarland was met with a roar of applause.
Originally, Sugarland was straight-up alternative country - from their lyrics and vocal lines to their melodies - but the band's last album, 2010's Incredible Machine, was much poppier and geared toward a broader audience. It may have been somewhat of a risky move, but it worked; we haven't seen this many 16- to 25-year-old female country fans at the Rodeo since before the Dixie Chicks insulted President Bush.
Vocalist Jennifer Nettles' voice reverberated through the stadium as seats continued to fill, and though her range and tone were impressive, she was a little whiny for our taste, and her southern twang was layered much too thick; but damn it if we weren't blown away by her onstage personality.
Nettles genuinely looked like she was enjoying the show just as much as her fans.
During "Little Miss," a slow, inspirational ballad about a young girl starting over after a few too many disappointments, a couple in the VIP area (where concert goers can sit closer to the stage than anyone else) stood up and began to dance. This has got to be one of the biggest compliments a band can receive during this type of song.
But that song was the outlier of the evening, as almost every other one was upbeat and catchy.