Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 1998

Reba McEntire, 3/4/98

Well, I wasn't sure I was going to make it to the Rodeo this year, but luckily a fewfriends came through with tickets, so I wouldn't have to miss this Houston mega-spectacleof country music, cowboys, and large animals. It's one of those "must do" thingsif you live here. Check out my review of Houston Rodeo 1997. Firstup was Reba McEntire. I guess I should call myself a fan by now, since I've seen her live4 times. Reba is a spectacular performer, but the last two times I've seen her were muchscaled down versions compared to the first two. This night, Reba looked a bit updated witha shorter, redder hairdo and a kicky, short, pleated skirt, red glittered jacket withblack racing stripes down the sleeves, and some cool tall black go go boots. Lookingrather thin and cute, she started her set with "Why Haven't I Heard From You"and continued with other sad, yet triumphant songs like "Take It Back","You Lied", and "Rumor Has It". At one point my friend turned to meand said, "Does she sing any happy songs?" "Not really", I thought.Reba continued with some banter about her father before "Greatest Man I NeverKnew" and how she had been on vacation with him recently. She also told a cute storyabout how he never said "I Love You" to her, except just before surgeryrecently. She and her sisters humorously exclaimed "Must be the drugs" to whichthe crowd laughed. Reba also sang the ballad "The World Didn't Stop for My BrokenHeart" dedicating it as always to her band that had been killed in an accident in theearly 90s.

The highlight of the evening came when Linda Davis joined Reba for the duet "DoesHe Love You", a song from both perspectives, the wife and the other woman. LindaDavis, who could easily have her own solo career, has maintained her status as Reba'sbackup singer for years. The loyalty and friendship of the two is evident on stage andtheir voices are beautiful together. Reba closed with the peppy, Fancy, which is thealmost autobiographical rags to riches, and the choices therein, story.

Vince Gill, 3/5/98

Second night at the Rodeo in a row. The novelty of the actual Rodeo events has wornoff, so the only reason I am there is to see Vince Gill. Vince is a "guiltypleasure" for me. I am leery to admit how much I like him and still be takenseriously in my taste for music, but he is very good. Not only does he have a beautifulvoice, he plays lead guitar for his band, and he's a pretty good looking man at that. Thisnight was his first night touring in a while, and his voice did seem a bit out ofpractice, but still very lovely. He opened with "One More Last Chance" and thenplayed through ballads ("Just Look at Us" for the Bush's) and Key of Life (forhis father who passed away last year) and then through rocking numbers, like What theCowgirls Do (the recently divorced Vince stating he was looking for one) and the closerLiza Jane. I am amazed at home accomplished his lead guitar stylings were. He seemed inhis own world on stage during the solo numbers. He had a nice rapport with the largeAstrodome crowd, even in this difficult venue, telling stories about his recent Grammy winfor "Pretty Little Adrianna" and taking his daughter with him to NY for thefirst time.

Vince Gill is a pure musician and is very talented. He is definitely a Rodeo favoriteof mine. The only criticism this year is his failure to play "When I Call YourName" one of his big hits and one of my favorites. I call that pulling a Juliana Hatfield. Perhaps the pain of his recent divorce preventedhim from doing such sentimental numbers. Nevertheless, it was missed.

On That Note, I'm outta here......


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