You may have been to a bad concert at the American Airlines Center before, but chances are you've never been to a show that smelled as bad as the ones that take place during the Texas Stampede Pace ProRodeo Classic. Not even a weeklong circus stinks up the arena as bad as a weekend of steers, horses and Skoal-spitting cowboys. After each night of rodeo action the crowd is treated to a concert, and the Texas Stampede doesn't skimp on talent.
Friday night stars Pat Green. Yeah, he plays in town at least every other month, but his shows are more infrequent as his star rises on the national country music scene. Love him or hate him, Green is fast becoming a Texas institution. The kids tend to love him; the old folks would rather listen to Willie Nelson. But Willie's not getting any younger, and somebody's gotta take over the Texas music throne when he's gone. Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett fans may balk, but Green has a little more Nashville clout (i.e., radio airplay) and legions of drunken college-age fans to get himself crowned.
The new Muzik Mafia invades the Stampede on Saturday night. Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich have been the success stories of the year in country music. Now Wilson is trying to pass off a ballad to country radio after two hell-raising hits, while B&R, after their own two rocking radio staples, are trying to get a rap song on the country airwaves. They may be the surprise success of the year, but the year's almost over, isn't it?
Gary Allan and Jerry Jeff Walker are scheduled for the Sunday-afternoon show, but Allan's wife died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on October 25. He canceled several shows, but at press time his Stampede appearance was still scheduled. Don't be surprised if that suddenly changes, and don't fret, because Jerry Jeff Walker is a tried-and-true Texas legend who never disappoints. And let's hope they air out the arena before the Metallica and Barry Manilow shows next week.