Music and rodeos go together like…barbecue and baked beans. My earliest experiences with live music occurred at rodeos: Willie Nelson, George Strait, singing on rotating stages in the Astrodome.
When I heard that San Francisco had a rodeo, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical. Nothing is as big as a Texas rodeo- not even the National Pro Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas. But GNR was a pleasant surprise- it had most of the elements of a real rodeo: truck displays, jerky sampling, buckle vendors, pasture smells, rodeo clowns, and carneys. Only GNR traded funnel cakes and turkey drumsticks for- you guessed it- a wine tasting.
After watching the bronc riding, team roping, barrel racing, chuckwagon racing, trick brahma bull, and bull riding, we stumbled down to the center (another difference for GNR) to see Heart. Standing in the dust, we waited for them to come out on a stage high above us, which made me think-perhaps more stages should be like this. It definitely helps being able to see when a tall guy stands in front of you.
I’m only casually familiar with Heart. It is fun to see a chick-fronted band, and Ann Wilson sure can sing. I was really able to appreciate her voice when they did two Led Zeppelin songs. Not many voices can compare to Robert Plant’s, and she really nails it. The crowd was really into it- the buckle bunnies were climbing on their StWrangler-wearing men’s shoulders. It was an event to make you wonder where all of these people came from- they definitely don’t live in San Francisco.