Talk about a bonified crowd pleaser, 5-time GRAMMY award winner and Kentucky-born Chris Stapleton packed NRG stadium Friday night as he took center stage on the rotating concert stage. Chris played to a sold-out NRG stadium with a standing-room-only attendance of 75,014; second only to the record setting Go Tejano Day attendance of 75,565 with music band Calibre 50 in concert.
While the crowd was waiting on showtime for Chris Stapleton, they were witnesses to the last professional ride by rodeo-fan-favorite Neil Holmes, a 10-year African American professional bull rider with just over $3.5 million in winnings. Neil hails from Cleveland, Texas and with this being his last professional rodeo, is retiring at the young age of 32.
Once the dust settled from bull riding, the calf roundup and mutton busters, the spotlight was shining bright on Chris Stapleton. As soon as Chris bellowed out his first song, it was obvious that just about everyone in the packed NRG venue were avid fans. A country and western veteran at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo, Chris had the crowd on their feet early and often.
His artful, effortless, soulful yet gritty singing style captivated the audience throughout. At one point in his performance, he had the stadium sparkling like a bright constellation when he asked everyone in the crowd to hold up and wave their cell phones.
It is easy to appreciate why Chris Stapleton is such a Rodeo Houston crowd favorite; he currently occupies the top three spots on the 2018 Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. His overwhelmingly successful ability to draw a standing-room-only crowd should make him a welcomed repeat performer at Houston Rodeo and Livestock next year.