Whitney Pastorek
March 19, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EDT

One quick post to (hopefully) put a button on my recent country-fried road trip: Some of you may recall that I reviewed the Rascal Flatts concert in Vegas on March 10th, noting that lead singer Gary LeVox was quite sick that evening and doing a poor job of hiding it. Well, the band went on to cancel their show at the Houston Rodeo last Wednesday, and my review went on to inspire a whole bunch of childish behavior on our PopWatch comment boards. (Honestly, people. Crack on me all you want, but leave each other alone.)

But this left the glaring question of who, exactly, filled RF’s enormous boots? Turns out they rounded up a three-fer of acts: Joe Nichols, Clay Walker, and Jack Ingram. The latter’s story of how he got to Houston’s Reliant Center is pretty epic: He was in New York at a photo shoot that afternoon, got the call, jumped in a cab for the airport, hopped on a private jet, flew to Houston, enjoyed a police escort through the streets, and pulled up basically in time to walk onstage and play. Now that’s rock ‘n’ roll!

So three questions:

  1. Was anyone there? Can we get a report on how the show turned out? I’m sure it didn’t compare to seeing the biggest country act in all the land, but was it at least a decent night of entertainment? Who won the chuckwagon race?
  2. Can anyone think of a comparable story of emergency concert substitution? Springing to mind: Aretha Franklin’s last-minute fill-in for Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammys, where she learned an aria in like 10 minutes. What else?
  3. I’m exploring a larger idea about how decreased record sales have led more and more acts to spend their entire lives on the road in order to turn a profit, thus wrecking their health as well as, in some cases, their creativity. I know we all like to see our favorite acts live… but is there such a thing as too much of that particular goodness? (I’m thinking about the last U2 show I saw on their endless …Atomic Bomb tour; that band, much like the Rascal Flatts I saw, appeared to be just going through the motions.) Perhaps more importantly: Will you continue to download music for free if it means ticket prices keep going up… and concert quality goes down?

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