I Saw Florida Georgia Line at the Houston Rodeo and I Liked It

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I’m still processing what I witnessed at the legendary Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this week. Music’s most popular broskis came roaring into town in a lift-kitted pickup replete with Truck Nutz, sold out the Houston Rodeo, and made 75,000 people really happy – myself included.

Make no mistake – my music tastes are pretty old school and gritty. I swoon when I hear an old country song about a guy who took down a handle of Jack and destroyed every good thing in his life. You know, George Jones and Waylon Jennings stuff. 

Not surprisingly, a lot of the new tunes coming out of Nashville either don’t suit my tastes or I file away in the “absolutely not” file. 

I’ve heard all of FGL’s hits. I’ve wanted to hate them so badly. As a snarky little ass, I can’t help but poke fun at them. The tanks. The chains. The rapping. The flexing. The tattoos.

No matter.

Despite every Robert Earl Keen-infused fiber of my soul wanting to hate these dudes, I had a big time. I grinned like a dope. It was an experience.

The median age of the 75,000 fans at the show was 19.5 leased jet skis. The overall mood of the crowd was in that coveted sweet spot right between the energy of six Rockstar energy drinks and the rowdiness of 11 Coronas right after you get in a fight with your girlfriend about your high school girlfriend.

The one thing that really stuck out was just how happy the audience was. This was an outing where they got to cut loose, bounce around to some insanely catchy music, and have their senses drenched from a Fireball fire hose.

The FGL bros seemed genuinely joyful and amazed to be there. And how could they not? Over 75,000 people were out on a Wednesday night to party with them. This wasn’t on their radar a couple years ago.

Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard wore their tanks, said flattering things to the crowd (“WE LOVE YOU, HOUSTON”) and chugged liquor from plastic cups on stage. These guys certainly own more koozies than books, but hot damn can they write a pop song hook. A skill and gift that should not ever be shortchanged.

All the hits were played. “Every Night;” “Party People;” “Get Your Shine On;” “Dirt;” “Cruise:” and “Stay.” The showmanship was pretty unbelievable. These guys were born to entertain massive arena audiences. They’re comfortable in their own skin and are enjoying the ride on this multi-million dollar jet ski they’ve manufactured.

Make no mistake – this isn’t country music. That’s part of what impresses me. Florida Georgia Line has no genre. They don’t have a tidy little box or compartment for critics to pigeon hole them. Of the 75,000 people partying their asses off on Wednesday night, it was a true cross section of society. Tons of different backgrounds, socioeconomic classes, and heritages forgot the tedium and problems of life to cut loose, smile, and belt out all the catchy lyrics.

Sometimes you don’t want to watch the art-house film or documentary and cry your eyes out. Sometimes you want to watch Kevin Hart tell jokes and shoot stuff.

Thanks, FGL. I have nothing in common with you whatsoever and you gave me a damn good time.

Image Source: CMA