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Tuesday, March 7, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 110


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Clay Walker leaves Rodeo crowd with something to remember

By Jake McKim
Daily Cougar Staff

The Astrodome crowd was buzzing Sunday in anticipation of the man who, next to Garth Brooks, could be the biggest male superstar in country music.

After the last remaining Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo events had wrapped, audience members readied themselves for Clay Walker, the man who has become a staple at the Rodeo, with this year's HLS&R marking his seventh go-round.


Country boy Clay Walker, always reliable for a great show, didn't disappoint with another dynamic performance Sunday night, wrapping up the 2000 Rodeo.

Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Galloping in on a shiny, fit-for-a-king horse, Walker's charm shone through before he belted his first note. "Texas Swing" was Walker's first offer, preparing the highly-excited crowd for a rock-tinged, boogie-down show.

For those who had never seen Walker do his thing on stage, it must have been thrilling as he smiled and sang his way through his undeniable hits like "I Do," "Hypnotize the Moon" and "Rumor Has It." Walker has a way about him that makes him seem, at least on the surface, that he's a genuinely good guy and he's in this business purely for the music.

With one look into the camera which beamed his face onto the gigantic video screens, or one swivel of the hips, Walker turned the women in the crowd into a hysteric group of girls, making his show highly-reminiscent of a Backstreet Boys concert.

Compared to past Rodeos, Walker seemed a bit more subdued and a little less energized, but that didn't hold him back from turning the Astrodome into one big party.

At times Walker shimmied and shook on stage like he was attempting to win a mariachi competition, causing the females to scream chants of "We love you, Clay."

The hometown boy (actually from Beaumont) mixes good ol'-fashioned country with a modern rock sound that keeps young and old fans content. His songs are fun and catchy, but can also be lyrically emotional and deep enough for those romantics out there.

The 30-year-old is handsome enough to please the ladies but not too much of a pretty boy to keep guys from enjoying his music as well.

As the end of the show drew closer, the mood in the Dome seemed to be a strange combination of sadness that the Rodeo was coming to an end and excitement because of the great performance audience members were witnessing.

Walker ended the emotionally-charged set with his hit "Live, Laugh, Love," the title track off his latest album. The fun-loving, dance-in-front-of-your-seat tune had everyone (including Walker) gettin' down, as inflated palm trees swayed from side to side creating an even more relaxed mood.

As the song came to a close, Walker jumped back on his horse and rode off into the sunset like a cowboy who had just rescued his cowgirl.

All in all, the entertainment lineup for the 2000 Rodeo was diverse and solid, but, with the notable exception of Walker, lacked some of the big-name country acts needed to keep the cowboys and girls happy.

Let's hope next year Rodeo reps keep the eclectic mix and bring back the George Straits and Shania Twains of country music.
 

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