Mar 16, 2005
Steve Miller Band at the Rodeo
My awesome assistant, Tammey, gave me 4 tickets to see The Steve Miller Band at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for March 14th. We got the tickets in time to re-gift them for Connor's 11th birthday, so he got to invite David and Skyler. After a long day at work I picked up all of the kids and headed to the Reliant Stadium to hit the midway Carnival, have dinner, and see the show. Knowing how the rodeo works (it's always running behind schedule, so the performances start later than they are scheduled), I decided to let the kids set the pace and we headed for the carnival. We went to the haunted house first, and it was about as short and lame as a ride can be. The scariest thing about the Haunted House was the carny who worked the control switches; he was a swarthy, skinny Peter Lorre type with the voice, accent, and bug eyes completing the scary picture.We continued through the carnival and the kids rode a couple more rides and we all went on the Ferris Wheel, which is very enjoyable because you get a great view from the top of the city at night, but again had a scary carny at the help; this time it was a Sling Blade type.
We had a lot of fun, until I talked the kids into riding the swing. I thought this ride would just go around and around and we could all fly through the air for a few minutes and have a chance to unwind. Apparently the ride operator had a different idea. He got us off the ground and then set the controls to alternate between warp speed and slightly faster. He seemed to particularly enjoy lurching the swing forward then easing off the gas only to lurch us forward again. In between the lurching, it was exhilarating, but I was dizzy and a little nauseous when the ride ended, so I watched from the sidelines as the kids finished off the rest of the ride tickets.
When the tickets were gone, we got some burgers and sat down to eat. With all of the carnival smells thankfully covering the Livestock Show smells, we were inundated with the aroma of pizza, BBQ, cotton candy, and funnel cakes. We settled on a couple of funnel cakes for desert and then set off for the concert. We arrived at about 8:40 PM for the 7:00 PM show only to find that the rodeo was still going on. Not being a big fan of the rodeo, I was not thrilled to find that we were in time to see the calf scramble, trick riding, and the bull riding. I had hoped to miss the animal events, because I worry about the animals and/or the people being injured. That said, it is not surprising that I was got gladitorial vibe sitting up in the Reliant Stadium looking down on the daring feats of man versus beast. I never really felt that way when we went to the rodeo in the Astrodome, but it was a little creepy for me this time around. David got a nice surprise when he found his friend, Meg, sitting several rows in front of us in the same section. Finally, at 9:30 they wheeled out the stage and started the show.
In spite of being only 11 years old, Connor is a big fan of The Steve Miller Band's music. I guess because he is only 11 years old, he never laid eyes on Steve Miller until the show started. While Steve Miller sounds as good or better now than he did 30 years ago, he looks a bit like a college professor with gray hair, glasses and tweedy blazer. Con was prepared to start rocking out with the band, when he looked up at the big screen and noticed that the performer did not match the image he had formed in his mind while listening to the music. He leaned over and asked me loudly, "Exactly how old is this guy?" People in the seats around us laughed at his dismay, and I quietly explained that he is about Nana and Poppy's age. Con sat there for a minute and stared at the big screen clearly trying to reconcile the music with the image before him, and after he digested the disparity, he played air guitar and air drums and clapped along with the audience. As they went through the playlist, Connor waited impatiently for his favorite Steve Miller Band song, The Joker, and Skyler fell asleep.
After the last song (of course it was The Joker), we all left happy to have heard good music and a little punchy from being up too late on a school/work night. It was on the way out I realized that I had not noticed where I parked the car when we arrived. As we ambled repeatedly around the parking lot (which is huge BTW), Con and Sky got a little more punchy and silly, David became very serious and I could not stop laughing at the ridiculous situation as it unfolded. We met a rude cop on a mean horse and a couple of really nice rodeo officials (one of which had only one leg). We stood at the top of a rise and looked out over the Green Lot (our lot) and Connor spotted Joy (the car). We raced to Joy (I with my key in hand), only to have four other people beat us to it. We were a little surprised to see them open the door, get in, and drive off. We eventually found the real Joy and made it home in one piece.
Summarizing the evening: The accoustics at Reliant Stadium are not conducive to music, but the music was wonderful and the band was tight and professional. Most of the rides were fun, but overall they were over priced. Carny workers are scary, but this year they were surprisingly well groomed and dressed in matching purple polo shirts. We also learned a couple of important things, Skyler can sleep through ANYTHING, and when you park at the Reliant Stadium, somebody needs to pay attention to where you leave the car.