Singer-songwriter and reigning country Grammy queen Kacey Musgraves checks RodeoHouston off her bucket list.
If there were a record of top crowd performances at RodeoHouston, Texas-born singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves would certainly make the list.
Capping off what has been a career-defining month that included four Grammys (Album of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Country Song, Best Country Solo Performance) and presenting at the Oscars, Musgraves got to check one more thing off her bucket list by taking RodeoHouston’s iconic rotating concert stage by storm.
Beneath soft lights, Musgraves, all bouffant do and bell-bottomed white lace ’70s-style jumpsuit and pearly high heels, joined her impeccably well-dressed band (wearing crimson suits paired with sparkly dress shoes) in a nice musical buildup before setting the night’s tone with her psychedelic-country Golden Hour opener “Slow Burn.” From there, she transitioned into a tight-knit set of her hits and past favorites, including a perfect cover of Selena’s “Como la Flor” and a brilliant popified version of Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon.”
A charismatic pro, Musgraves made winning over the crowd seem effortless. Gifted with small-town charm, vintage good looks, and buckets of talent, she’s a shoo-in for show business. Playing RodeoHouston, she brought all that and more: From her songs to her transitions between them to her social commentary hints, her stage presence was subtly sensational.
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The tone and pacing of the compelling performance grabbed the crowd and kept the audience fully in Musgraves’ corner. An almost-seamless changeover from “Wonder Woman” led into “Butterfly,” the first song she wrote after meeting her husband, Ruston Kelly. High-anticipation buildups like “Follow Your Arrow” and “Merry Go ’Round” kept the energy flowing. It all made for some fun crowd reactions: People who seemed unfamiliar with certain songs latched on in curiosity, while fans who knew them wiggled in excitement.
Musgraves’ messages of embracing tolerance and diversity were evident everywhere — from lighting and props to background videos and lyrics — but they felt open for interpretation and never once made the listener feel uncomfortable or turned-off. They fell in line with her genre-changing brand and her modern perspective. With the welcome mat rolled out for everyone, the entire audience could feel fully invested in the performance.
Musgraves, who has said she’s wanted to play RodeoHouston since she was a little girl growing up in East Texas, closed the show with a powerful performance of her witty hit “High Horse.” Practically while singing “Darling, you take the high horse and I'll take the high road,” she mounted up on a real horse and pranced off the grounds in full glory, leaving an almost impossible-to-top performance in her wake.
For more information on Kacey Musgraves, visit her website.