George Strait - US Airways Center - 2/7/2014
Photos by Maria Vassett George Strait performs last night at US Airways Center. See more via our slideshow.
US Airways Center
How many songs does an artist have to play to make a great concert? 15? That's pretty sub-par for a headliner, but some acts skate by on it. 20? There are many renowned tenured musicians who operate at that number. With a reputation in music circles as King George, however, even that will not be enough.
How about 33? Last night, at the sold-out US Airways Center, George Strait fans that were lucky enough to be online in the first few minutes after tickets went on sale months ago, got their money's worth -- and then some -- 33 tightly woven and timeless ballads that encompassed the legacy of a true pillar of country music .
Country music fans flooded downtown Phoenix with a sea of cowboy hats in all shapes and sizes, belt buckles to match, and heel-stomping, shit-kicking boots in the hours leading up to the show. Lines stretched outside the doors, spilling into the streets, as local country radio station booths entertained the anxious patrons in front of the venue with gift giveaways and contest announcements.
Inside, giant huddles formed around beer vendors as the rest of the attendees were herded into their seats. I couldn't help but consider that Texas native George Strait may be the greatest cowboy to ever live after seeing his massive human cattle drive, and all of us, his 18,000 head of cattle strong, ended up exactly where he wanted us.
Kicking off the Cowboy Rides Away Tour was special guest Martina McBride. Upon entering the stadium, a square stage was revealed to be in the center of the floor and the house was already packed from top to bottom around the arena bowl. McBride took full advantage of her 360 degree view as she bounced and danced around all four corners of the stage to welcome the audience and sing her array of hits.