The Yum! Center had a record-breaking crowd after George Strait and Vince Gill’s Friday night performance. Although many concerts have been sold out in the arena before, every seat was taken as country music fans came to see Strait’s last tour: “The Cowboy Rides Away.”
George Strait’s career has been nothing shy of remarkable. With 60 number 1 hits, Grammys, and many titles, Strait truly earned his Entertainer of the Year Award.
Strait put on a very simplistic show with music from his band, Ace in the Hole, and his acoustic guitar. There were lights and video, but there was just something simple and beautiful about the focus of the performance on the music and Strait’s long career.
During several songs, flashbacks of video and photos gleamed on the screens of Strait’s life; everything from his first shows, to his infamous rodeos; all while he sang. Strait created an incredible connection to his audience, and every few songs, he would move to a different corner of the square, centered stage where a microphone was waiting for him.
Vince Gill opened the evening with an hour performance of his own singles. During “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour, George Strait is performing with several different artists that meet him in cities along the tour. After a few songs into his set, Strait looked at the crowd and said, “I told you we had some surprises for you tonight” and Gill came back and sang “Love Bug” with Strait; which was the first time the two had ever sang together.
During one of his last songs, Strait dedicated his music and his career to his fans with a performance of “I’ll always remember you.” The song tells the story of how he began his career in 1981 and how he owes his gratitude for his fans after all these years. A lyric in the song was very fitting for his final tour as he sang:
That when I do walk off this stage for the last time,
And I'm all settled in, away from all this,
You won't be far away.
I'll still hear your screams and cheers in my mind.
And I'll always remember you.
Photos courtesy of Tim Girton