Luke Combs always brings plenty of energy to the stage.
Luke Combs and his fiancé Nicole Hocking are quite a pair — and country's biggest star paid tribute to his future wife in Houston.
It was about two years ago that music experts started touting Luke Combs as country’s next big breakout star and its safe to say he’s officially broken out. The reigning Country Music Association New Artist of the Year introduced himself to the Houston Rodeo and proved he’s not only a country rock star who has finally arrived, but the same old no frills singer songwriter who started playing his first gigs in a chicken wing joint in North Carolina.
Rounding out the last year of his twenties (Combs just celebrated a birthday on March 2), the musician is expected to continue on his trailblazing path towards iconic country stardom.
With the eruption of the traditional fireworks shooting out from the good ole’ star shaped stage on Wednesday night, the country crooner started his debut Houston Rodeo performance with his hit song “Honky Tonk Highway.” Combs changed the last line of the song to “Houston Rodeo calling me home,” which was met with the massive NRG Stadium crowd’s erupting approval.
About that crowd — 72,384 showed on a Wednesday night. As if you needed any more confirmation that Combs is now arguably country music’s biggest star of all.
In his signature performance garb — jet black Columbia PFG shirt, jeans and boots paired with a camo trucker hat — Combs showed Houston who he really is. The no fuss star with the distinctive beard set a authentic and reverent tone with his new friends immediately.
He strummed his guitar as if he was rocking away in his backyard with a few of his closest pals. Its quite a feat to make an NFL stadium packed with more than 70,000 people feel like an intimate down home gathering.
As Combs continued on his acoustic guitar, the crowd needed no introduction to his breakout hit “When it Rains, It Pours.” The grateful singer paused several times to let his new best friends sing the chart topper with him.
He gave his guitar a break and traded it for a red Solo cup to really solidify the backyard barbecue concert vibes. Name another star who can belt out a No. 1 single while holding a plastic cup full of beer and look cooler than heck? They are few and far between.
Double fisting a microphone and a red Solo cup is as much of a talent as is his soulful singing.
Combs gave sincere thanks to the crowd for his “crazy year” of Country Music Award wins, Grammy nominations and country radio No. 1 songs. He started his newest No. 1 single “Beautiful, Crazy” with an adorable dedication to his new fiancé Nicole Hocking.
“Before we officially started dating, I wrote this song for her,” Combs said on stage, with Hocking watching in NRG. “I figured she would think I was either really weird or really sweet.”
The crowd helped Combs sing the love ballad almost as loud as the NRG speaker system.
Luke Combs’ No-Fuss Ways
As if the crowd wasn’t already in love with this humble hero, he set up his next song by telling everyone he had never been on an airplane until he was 25 years old. His first time to Texas was shortly after that and he came to none other than Houston.
“Texas is the most beautiful place with the most beautiful people,” Combs said.
His hit song “Houston, we Got a Problem” started to play. After the Houston homage, the crowd couldn’t love the complimentary country man any more.
Next, Combs dedicated his song “This One’s for You” to the fans in NRG, promising he would never forget where he came from and how grateful he is to be able to live his dream. “Thank you for spending your hard earned money to be here tonight,” he said.
A slew of compliments from a down to earth true music talent? We’d pay triple for this.
The Solo cup serenades continued throughout the night to a now fully charmed stadium. The energy came to an all time high when Combs paused the song at the top of the stage, chugged the rest of his beer and slammed his red Solo cup on the dirt.
“Who is drinking beer tonight? If you work all week and you came out here to have a good time tonight, you deserve that cold beer, and this song is for you,” Combs said.
He raised his glass to his hard working Houstonians with a fresh solo cup full of beer and belted out his newly released song “Beer Never Broke my Heart” that will inevitably be a chart topper.
The country talent also sang “Brand New Man,” by Brooks & Dunn who played the Rodeo last week. “The coolest thing I’ve ever done” was rerecording the hit song with his childhood country favorites, Combs said.
As the last song was on the horizon, Luke Combs bid his farewells to his first Houston Rodeo audience by continuing his genuine gratitude with an appreciative, yet motivational speech. Combs encouraged everyone in the stadium to do whatever they want to do as he is a living example that dreams do come true.
“It has been an honor to play for you tonight, thank you so much,” Combs finished.
“You Got the Best of Me” started playing as a perfect final salute. No Luke, looks like Houston got the best of you tonight.