Rodeo Houston is officially here, kicking off with an out-of-this-saddle performance by country music legend Garth Brooks, whose arrival brought on longer-than-usual lines.
Brooks took the new stage Tuesday night at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for its inaugural performance, but before he even stepped on stage, massive crowds inundated the venue, quickly overwhelming staff, who were still trying to work through opening-night kinks.
Concert-goers found themselves waiting in lines outside NRG stadium so winding that, at one point, ticket-takers stopped scanning tickets, instead letting everyone in if they appeared to have a valid ticket.
According to rodeo officials, the issue stemmed from a combination of eager fans who arrived early, opening night issues and the popularity of the entrance closest to the livestock show, used by guests who move from one exhibit to another.
Brooks appropriately opened the concert with his hit “Rodeo.” He also grabbed fans’ attention with a surprise performance of Texas native George Strait’s “The Fireman.”
Despite the lengthy line time, fans left no complaints about Brooks’ performance. According to social media posts, Brooks still brings his boundless talent and magnetism to the stage:
Mayor Sylvester Turner even posted a video of himself dancing along to Brooks’ performance:
Since Houston is also known as the Space City, Brooks invited NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson to perform a duet of “The River,” which she famously performs before launching into orbit.
He included the clip in his Studio G series, which is an ongoing behind-the-scenes Facebook series Brooks posts for fans.
Brooks posted a brief clip of the song to his social media accounts:
In addition to opening the rodeo, Brooks will also return on March 18 to play the closing show.
“I don’t know how closing night is even gonna get close to this night right here,” Brooks said after opening night, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Those looking to see the icon in concert will likely need to find a ticket through third-party sellers, as the seats are all sold out.