Rodeo lineup features
By Ellen Simonson
Daily Cougar Staff
The 2002 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo,
which begins Feb. 12, will be the last one held in the Astrodome.
As a farewell to the "eighth wonder of
the world," the rodeo's organizers have lined up a full roster of big-name
Festivities kick off Feb. 12 with the Dixie
Chicks, followed by Neil Diamond on Feb. 13. Diamond's most recent album,
the greatest hits
compilation titled <I>Essential<P>,
was released Dec. 4.
Alan Jackson, riding the top of the country
singles chart with his song "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),"
will be the guest
of honor Feb. 14. Fellow country guru
and rodeo favorite Clay Walker will follow Feb. 15.
Native Texan Pat Green will play a matinee
show at 3:45 p.m. Feb. 16. Green is known for his lyrical optimism, a relative
rarity in country music.
"Whenever I get to writing, it's typically
happy," he has said. "The cowboy rides away with the girl and the bad guys
are all dead."
Texas-based Latin pop group the Kumbia
Kings, whose 1999 album Amor, Familia y Respeto earned a Grammy nomination,
will perform Feb.
17 with Colombian rocker Juanes.
Perennial rodeo favorite (and quintessential
Texan) Lyle Lovett returns Feb. 18 with country queen Martina McBride.
"Blessed," McBride's latest
single, is sitting at No. 13 on Billboard's
Top 100 Country Singles chart.
"Boot Scootin' Boogie" chart-toppers Brooks
and Dunn, whose most recent release Steers and Stripes came out in April,
will appear Feb. 19.
The scraggly Minnesotan who's been called
the greatest living American poet, Bob Dylan, will make a RodeoHouston
appearance Feb. 20,
followed by fellow icon ZZ Top on Feb.
Brian McKnight, who's created music for
Quincy Jones and Boyz II Men (among others) while remaining a much-respected
singer in his own
right, will share the stage with Mary
J. Blige on Feb. 22. Blige most recently released No More Drama in 2001.
A conglomeration of big-name country artists,
including legend Emmylou Harris, folkie Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless and
"bluegrass revivalists" Nickel Creek,
will come together for a Feb. 23 show.
Los Tigres del Norte, a two-time Grammy-winning
act comprised of five brothers, will perform Feb. 24 with Ramon Ayala y
Sus Bravos del
Norte. Ayala is a Grammy winner as well,
having received a Latin Grammy in 2001 for the album Quemame Los Ojos.
Another group with a three-decade musical
history, REO Speedwagon, which has charted 13 top-40 singles, will perform
Feb. 25 with fellow
classic-rock icons Styx (all together
now: "I'm saaaaaailing away …").
Willie Nelson, who worked as a disc jockey
in Houston before attaining music-god status, will perform with fellow
country star (and Jacksonville
native) Lee Ann Womack on Feb. 26.
The darling of Nashville, Kenny Chesney,
takes the stage Feb. 27. Chesney's latest release was 2000's Greatest Hits.
Houston native Clint Black will be joined
by Lisa Hartman Black for a Feb. 28 performance. Black will be followed
by fellow Houstonians
Destiny's Child on March 1.
The "Legends of RodeoHouston" will hit
the stage on March 2. These "legends" include Lubbock native Mac Davis,
Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin
Brothers, perennial favorite Naomi Judd
and Charlie Pride, one of only two artists to attract more than one million
fans to the Houston Rodeo.
The other artist to accomplish that feat
was George Strait, who will close out RodeoHouston's 2002 festivities with
an already sold-out show
It was announced last year that Strait
would be the final act in the Astrodome era of the rodeo. Organizers couldn't
have thought of a better