“Still that cowboy that stole your heart/ still that right one you chose from the start/ and when the nights get long and the years roll by/ when you wake up and you look at me/ I hope I'm still that cowboy that rode up in your dreams.” - Still That Cowboy - Josh Hoge-Matthew Joseph Rogers-Randy Houser.

These tribes of urban and bucolic cowboys and cowgirls arrived at Margaret Court Arena by trucks, trains, trams and buses from way out west, east and north in the bush and suburbs on this crisp autumnal evening,

There was no sign of nuclear subs on the nearby Yarra as music lovers decamped and headed indoors.

It was not the first local rodeo for Mississippi born Randy Houser who announced his Australian born wife Tatiana and two sons Huckleberry and Harlan and extended Aussie family were in this capacity crowd of 7.500 fans.

Randy, 47, and Tatiana, 29 - sister-in-law of fellow singer-songwriter Dallas Davidson who introduced them - joined her down under family on previous tours.

“Melbourne seems like my adoptive hometown,” Randy roared to fans rushing forward into the moist mosh pit.

“Thanks for coming out tonight to Margaret Court and having such a good time. My wife Tatiana is from here and she's here tonight with our sons Huckleberry and Harlan and her extended family.”

Houser's hombres were loud and proud on centre stage as they opened a whirling wall of sound to an enthusiastic audience who sang along.

They revved up the audience from entrée songs including Boots On, Whistling Dixie and How Country Feels.

Houser thanked Brunswick luthier Jeb Cardwell for providing one of his many guitars he played.

“Jeb Cardwell made this guitar in Melbourne ,” Houser revealed, “thanks for that Jeb.”

Houser performed songs from his early recordings as well as the title track of his sixth album Note To Self and Tatiana tribute Still That Cowboy to enthusiastic fans who sang along.

“It's Wednesday night in Melbourne and you may have to work tomorrow but you can celebrate like it's Saturday night,” he shouted to fans.

The singer's quintet honoured the late Texan outlaw king Waylon Jennings by igniting his memorable anthem Don't You Think This Outlaw's Bit Done Got Out Of Hand.

“This next song is for military personnel and first responders so light up your phones,” he urged fans as he introduced Like A Cowboy.

Houser led a rousing singalong as he emphasised his strong local links by leading the country choir in Home Among The Gum Trees and Alan Jackson classic Chattahoochie.

The singer also thanked Frontier Tours and headline act Kip Moore for their support as he ignited a plectrum plethora into fans hats front, left and right of stage as he closed his sizzling set with Running Outta Moonlight.

Houser proved a master of manipulation after appearing on movie and TV screens in Killers of the Flower Moon starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and more and The Hill with Dennis Quaid.

It was that sort of exhibition for an export from the tiny town of Lake, Mississippi.


“If you were my last breath, I'd just wanna hold you/ if you were my last night of hell on wheels/ I'd wanna drive you like I stole ya/ if you were my last shot, last shot of whiskey (last shot of whiskey)/ I'd press you to my lips, take a little sip/ swirl you around and around and around/ then I'd shoot you down.” - Last Shot - Dan Couch-David Murphy-Kip Christian Moore.

Georgian Kip Moore borrowed from Hauser by urging fans to celebrate like a Saturday night on a Wednesday with his rocking country fusion.

And, unlike Rod Stewart at the adjacent Rod Laver Arena, there was no danger of him losing his voice as the crowd sang along.

“I know a lot of you have to go to work tomorrow but we've also come a long f…. way to be here tonight,” Moore revealed as he reached deep into his catalogue.

“In 2020 I was in South Florida on the eve of my planned Australian tour when I got the bad news, my tour was cancelled because of Covid,” Moore, 42, revealed.

“It was the biggest disappointment of my career. This is my favourite place to play music. It's damn good to be back in Australia.”

Moore and his band emulated energy reminiscent of many AFL stars by working the stage with spectacular synergy and excitement.

It was more than just a curtain raiser for the Carlton-Richmond draw at the nearby MCG just one night later.

Moore 's Fire And Flame entrée segued into fan favourites Crazy One More Time, Wild Ones, Plead The Fifth and I'm To Blame.

Beer Money enabled him to take a sip or two from a bottle as his triple guitar army celebrated with Red White Blue Jean American Dream, She's Mine, More Girls Like You, Just Another Girl and Back Seat .

Moore enriched his links with Australian music by performing a dynamic version of The Angels hit Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again.

He punctuated his originals including Running For You, Blonde, Magic and The Bull .

Heart's Desire preceded a new song This Heart Of Mine, Something About a Truck, Come and Get It as he twice invaded the audience in the massive mosh pit and way beyond .

Moore draped himself in an Australian flag for his fitting encore - Last Shot from his fourth album Slowheart as he was surrounded by his band before his final departure back-stage.

The capacity crowd proved that Kip and Randy have built a huge following down under in the suburbs and bush without mainstream media platforms.


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