The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

June 9, 2014

Last stop, Texas, for country star George Strait

ARLINGTON, Texas — Country music king George Strait capped off the last tour of his career with an epic, star-studded final performance at the billion-dollar stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play, dazzling an audience of nearly 105,000 people with duet after duet with some of the biggest names in country music.

The attendance shattered the previous record set by The Rolling Stones at The Louisiana Superdome in 1981. More than 10,000 fans alone took in the three-hour show from the stadium floor.

“Oh, man. I tell you what. This is too much fun,” he said.

Known for his honky-tonk style, classic interpretation of Western swing and Texas cowboy get-up, Strait is the undisputed patriarch of a generation of country music stars, none of whom left the stage Saturday without paying homage to or receiving a hug from the country music legend.

“In the early 80s when I was a young man in Georgia, I was a big fan of ‘Unwound,”’ Alan Jackson said of the 1981 hit that propelled Strait to stardom. “You’re the reason I came to Nashville, Tennessee. God bless you.”

Jason Aldean credited Strait as “not only a huge influence for me but everyone else in Nashville.”

After Martina McBride joined Strait to sing “Jackson,” the country classic made famous by the Johnny Cash-June Carter rendition, she remarked on the fun the two had on tour together in 2011 and 2012.

Kenny Chesney called the two years he spent on the road with Strait early in his career “the most educational” in his touring life.

Strait’s son, Bubba, a pro team roper on the rodeo circuit, even joined his dad on stage to perform his songwriting debut, “Arkansas Dave.”

The unusually chatty Strait appeared to bask in the enormous crowd of fans, standing at their seats, swaying and singing along, regularly raising his arms like a band conductor to raise the volume.

“That’s what I’m going to miss the most right there, I tell you what. Thank you so much,” he said.

Strait is also beloved by his legions of fans for his gracious, everyman demeanor, which was in ample display Saturday.

During the second half of the show, he played the 2011 hit “I’ll Always Remember You,” which he said was inspired by his fans.

“When I take the stage for the last time, you won’t be far away,” he said, inspiring some enthusiastic female fans to tear up.

“Damn, I’m so lucky,” Strait said so many times, it became almost a refrain.

All of Strait’s guest stars returned to the stage for an encore.

The show brought an end to Strait’s nearly 40 years on the road, starting in 1975 with the Ace in the Hole Band. Many of the 11-piece band’s original members played back up Saturday, “the best band anybody could have out here on the road,” Strait said.

Born in Poteet and raised in Pearsall, about 60 miles southwest of San Antonio, Strait has has more gold and platinum albums than any other music act except The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

And while he’s quitting the road, he may yet add to his chart-topping total after renewing his deal with MCA Records last year to produce five more albums.

Strait began this last tour, The Cowboy Rides Away, last year. Each of the 45 stadiums and arenas he’s played during the tour has sold out. He’s performed for an estimated 1 million fans.

As he sang the tour’s eponymous song at the end of the set, fans waved, cheered and did the two-step. And the cowboy rode away.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • Study finds 35 percent in U.S. facing debt collectors

    More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 30, 2014

  • U.S. blasts Israel for Kerry criticism

    The Obama administration pushed back strongly Monday at a torrent of Israeli criticism over Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest bid to secure a cease-fire with Hamas, accusing some in Israel of launching a “misinformation campaign” against the top American diplomat.

    July 29, 2014

  • Outlook on Medicare finances improves

    Medicare’s finances are looking brighter, the government said Monday. The program’s giant hospital trust fund won’t be exhausted until 2030 — four years later than last year’s estimate.

    July 29, 2014

  • Plan to simplify 2015 health renewals may backfire

    If you have health insurance on your job, you probably don’t give much thought to each year’s renewal. But make the same assumption in one of the new health law plans, and it could lead to costly surprises.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hospital shooting suspect charged with murder

    A man accused of fatally shooting his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist at a suburban Philadelphia hospital complex before the doctor returned fire has been charged with murder.

    July 28, 2014

  • Man seeks video of Oklahoma City bombing

    One man’s quest to explain his brother’s mysterious jail cell death 19 years ago has rekindled long-dormant questions about whether others were involved in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

    July 28, 2014

  • Bill in Congress to help veterans with PTSD

    A group of lawmakers have joined together to help veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Post Traumatic Brain Injury (PTBI) and other war injuries get speedy medical treatment — and avoid Veteran’s Administration bureaucracy and Department of Defense lack of accountability.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia has fired rockets into Ukraine

    Stepping up pressure on Moscow, the U.S. on Sunday released satellite images it says show that rockets have been fired from Russia into neighboring eastern Ukraine and that heavy artillery for separatists also has crossed the border.

    July 28, 2014

  • U.S. says Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.

    July 25, 2014

  • Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

     Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel’s defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation “significantly.”

    July 25, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video