Live at Texas Stadium captures a concert Alan Jackson, George Strait and Jimmy Buffett gave at the venue on May 29, 2004. What connects these three? Well, Jackson and Buffett dueted on the chart-topping "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," they're all superstars renowned for giving audiences their money's worth, and in 2004, Buffett released his country ...
Live at Texas Stadium captures a concert Alan Jackson, George Strait and Jimmy Buffett gave at the venue on May 29, 2004. What connects these three? Well, Jackson and Buffett dueted on the chart-topping "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," they're all superstars renowned for giving audiences their money's worth, and in 2004, Buffett released his country crossover License to Chill, so what better way to promote the platter than with a concert with the biggest country star of the 2000s and a legend? It made perfect sense and it made for a good show, too, if Live at Texas Stadium is any indication. According to the poster (which may or may not be accurate) featured in the CD booklet, the batting order for this particular show had Strait opening, Jackson hitting in the middle and Buffett closing it down, which is more indicative of the crossover nature of Buffett's crowd than the fact that he's a bigger country star than either Strait or Jackson. On record, Jackson and Buffett swap places, but position in the lineup doesn't matter as much on record as it does in concert, since it's possible for a listener to start listening anywhere -- and no matter where you start Live at Texas Stadium, it's one big party. And like any party with too many guests, different listeners will gravitate toward different groups of people. Those who like their country served straight-up naturally will find Strait's set the best, since he and his band have a casual virtuosity that's mesmerizing for its ease. Those listeners will also play well with Jackson's crew, who may not be as steeped in tradition as the Ace in the Hole Band but they sure can play pure country with skill and heart, and they provide the bridge to Buffett, who, as always, is the self-styled life of the party. Longtime Parrottheads will be familiar with his shtick -- the boisterous between-songs babble, the jokey asides on "Hey Good Lookin'" -- and find it intoxicating, but Strait fans may just see Buffett as intoxicated, and skip by his numbers. That said, Strait and Buffett play well together -- Strait isn't as loose as Buffett, but they harmonize well on "Sea of Heartbreak," and Jackson acts as the amiable host, bringing these two sides together and ensuring that everybody on-stage and in the audience (and now at home) has a good time: and they do. And it's good enough to take home a souvenir, since Live at Texas Stadium can serve as a soundtrack for many a summertime party in the future. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi