Jelly Roll Makes History with Epic Performance for 73,000+ Strong Crowd At Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 

“Thank you for making my dream come true,” said Jelly Roll.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 7, 2024

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Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy RODEOHOUSTON®

On Wednesday (March 6), Jelly Roll experienced a milestone night. Not only did he make his debut at the esteemed Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, but his performance brought in a crowd of 73,494, marking his biggest show to date.  

In a clip shared to RodeoHouston’s official Instagram account, the genre-bending star can be seen taking in every second of this eventful evening while looking the part in his black studded jacket and black cowboy hat. He let the crowd know just how much it meant to him to be living out his dreams on the stage in front of them.

 “My name is Jason ‘Jelly Roll’ DeFord and I am from Nashville, TN. As of right this moment, as of right this second, on March 6th of 2024, at the Houston Rodeo at the NRG stadium, this is officially the biggest show of my entire life,” he yelled out to the crowd, clearly overcome with emotion. His bellowing speech earned a roar of applause from fans in response as they shared in his excitement.  

Paid Tribute To Each Phase Of His Music Career

Throughout his performance, the “Son of A Sinner” singer paid tribute to the different phases of his music career, from his days as a rapper all the way to his current run as an accredited country-rocker. As a nod to his early career, he brought the energy up with a medley of hip-hop covers like Eazy E’s “Boyz-N-The-Hood,” DMX’s “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend,” as well as a few of his originals including “Creature,” “Smoking Section,” and “Bottle and Mary Jane.” 

His delivery of cover songs also extended into the country genre as he sang his renditions of classics like Alabama’s “”If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” and “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” in honor of the late Toby Keith who played RodeoHouston nine times in his career. 

Usurpingly, the Tennessee native brought the most excitement of the night when he performed his fan-favorite hits “Son of a Sinner,” “Need a Favor,” “Save Me,” his final song of the night. 

Bunnie XO, Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy Instagram
Bunnie XO, Jelly Roll; Photo Courtesy Instagram

Cody Johnson Makes A Surprise Appearance

The celebratory show also featured a special appearance by Jelly Roll’s wife, Bunnie XO, who joined him on stage briefly to snag a hug and a kiss from her hubby. His other surprise guest of the night was Texas native, Cody Johnson. The “Dirt Cheap” singer is no stranger to the Houston Rodeo as he has played the famous NRG stadium five times and drew in over 73,000 fans in 2023.  

“I figured since I’m in Texas, I should also tell y’all, I grew up loving Texas country music,” Jelly Roll said while welcoming his guest to the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor tonight that I would like to introduce, right out of Texas’ own, my brother Cody Johnson.”

Jelly Roll promised he had a special night planned, and he clearly delivered on his word. Before offering the live debut of their duet “Whiskey Bent” off Johnson’s newest album, Leather, Jelly Roll gushed over one of his “best friends in country music.”

“Behind the scenes, Cody Johnson has been one of my best friends in country music. Since I came to country music, he has been a mentor, he has been a big brother, he has been my favorite person to talk to at 2 o’clock in the morning,” he shared. “We’ll hangout on the phone and talk about life, God, the country music business and how much we both love country music.”

Following their performance, the pair took a moment to embrace each other in honor of the true love and respect that serves as the foundation of their tight-knit friendship. 

@93qcountry That moment when @Jelly Roll brings @@codyjohnson on stage at @RODEOHOUSTON and @NRG ♬ original sound – 93Q Country

From His Biggest Show To His Biggest Headline Tour

This show was a true celebration for the “underdogs,” a term Jelly Roll often uses to describe himself as it signifies all his efforts to defy the expectations of those who doubted his ability to succeed as a country singer. He continues to prove those negative beliefs wrong as his run of accomplishments has yet to slow down.

“Thank you for making my dream come true,” he said with fireworks flaring around him before making his way off the stage. 

Following his iconic Houston Rodeo performance, Jelly Roll will be embarking on his biggest headline tour yet. The Beautifully Broken Tour kicks off on Tuesday, August 27 in Salt Lake, City, Utah, and runs through Sunday, October 27 where he will bring things to a close in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Joining him on the road are two of Nashville’s rising stars, Warren Zeiders and Alexandra Kay as support. 

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.