Rodeo Touches Every Corner of Pop Universe, Almost Misses Texas

Categories: Electric Rodeo

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Photo by Marco Torres
Mary J. Blige at RodeoHouston, March 2010
More to the point, country takes up only two-thirds of this year's rodeo, 14 nights out of 20. Its diversity is spreading, not diluting. Mary J. Blige has already given one of the greatest shows in Reliant Stadium history at 2010's rodeo. And there's already no question that Go Tejano Day with banda up-and-comer Julion Alvarez and norteno veterans Los Invasores de Nuevo Leon will sell out. The real question is whether the rodeo should consider adding a second Go Tejano Day, maybe during the week.

In a way, it already has. Pitbull may prove to be one of the smartest bookings the rodeo has ever done. The Miami singer/rapper manages to squeeze pop, hip-hop, Latin music and big-beat EDM into one family-friendly perfect storm, a "long, hot and frenetic dance party," as our own Marco Torres wrote of Mr. Bull's August 2012 Woodlands show. Also, Marco noted, the ladies looooove him. Bruno Mars is likewise brilliant, and may prove to be the most electric rodeo performer since The Jackson 5 all the way back in 1973 and '74. Seriously. He's got a lot of Michael in him.

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Photo by Marco Torres
Pitbull brings the party wherever he goes.
In fact, the only thing -- only, only, only thing -- the rodeo lineup is short on is somebody from its own backyard, or rather the Texas country/Red Dirt universe. Unlike past years, which have featured Pat Green, Robert Earl Keen, Kevin Fowler, Eli Young Band and Miranda Lambert, this year's rodeo is 100 Texan-free, right up until the Sunday-night concert-only performance with George Strait, Randy Rogers Band, and Martina McBride. (The show is an option for rodeo season-ticket holders.)

It would be wrong to read too much into this. No doubt it's a scheduling issue as much as anything else, and three or four of those artists could well be in the 2014 lineup. And The Hideout, the no-cover on-site saloon where the liquor flows and the two-stepping goes, features a string of solid Firehouse Saloon-type favorites such as Max Stalling, Bart Crow Band, Jamie Richards and Ryan Beaver, plus a sweaty set of zydeco from Keith Frank the same night as Blige.

But one thing this year's schedule definitely means, without question, is that Houston really has grown too cosmopolitan and diverse to think it can count on Texas music in the rodeo lineup.

Boy, isn't that a bittersweet thought? I guess it's a good thing the rodeo has Strait looking over its back fence.

Location Info


NRG Stadium

1 NRG Park, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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My Voice Nation Help

Isn't there supposed to be both types, Country and Western? Also, no Tejano on Go Tejano day.

Steven Perry
Steven Perry

I didn't know the rodeo crowd was as fickle as the wash of hipsters on pitchfork/stereogum when it came to festival lineups...

Aaron Crawford
Aaron Crawford

It's a really great lineup for people that love terrible music.

Chris Conaton
Chris Conaton

As has always been the case with the rodeo, there is no performer in the lineup that I could describe as "excited" to see.

Ward W Bond
Ward W Bond

It's kind of lame. Nothing exciting.

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