Tempe Arizona, March 6th -- The weather was perfect this time for the Strait Festival. We arrived days beforehand with plenty of time to enjoy the sun and watch the buses and equipment roll in. The local news stations on TV and the radio stations were doing a great job keeping tabs on the Festival and the arrival of the stars touring with George. In fact, I could sometimes hear rehearsal from my Motel room window.
A press conference was held and it was pure enjoyment to watch George and the other stars sit in the sunshine and answer questions. One TV station even managed to sneak in a review during rehearsal. They showed George on stage singing, and later showed the view from the stage. I noticed the song list taped to the floor by George's microphone during a closeup so I knew beforehand what to expect. I was thrilled to see the song 'Linda On My Mind' and several swing tunes, along with many of the songs from George's new CD - "Always Never The Same" were on that list.
Back in the old days before George had his second surge of success with his movie "Pure Country" it was much easier to make contact with him. Nowadays it is just about impossible. I watched the Tim McGraw "Meet and Greet," and saw those people ushered in and out like sheep, and felt relieved that George does not do that very much. Although I suspect it would be enough for most fans I think George's fans would want more... always more. We never get enough of George Strait, and he has it down to a science... he always leaves us wanting more.
While I enjoyed the other artists I was there to see George Strait, and if I had my way I would change things back to the 'In The Round" shows with one warm-up act and George. I enjoyed watching George "work" his audience back then. You got to really see the entertainer that he is, and he DID have to work more! The show this night was spectacular. I realized from the moment George strolled out on stage that he was nervous and out of practice. It had been almost eight months to the day since he had done a concert. It was great to see the Ace In the Hole Band again but I missed Benny and David not singing. Probably because of his new material George had added (for this show anyway) two background singers to support his vocals - and one of those is the great Liana Manis. Liana is well known in Nashville as a tremendous studio singer. I missed George and the band being on one level, working closely together. Instead now the band was raised on a platform and separated from George.
George warmed up after a few songs and got looser and more like himself. From then on he turned it up a notch and I could tell he was really enjoying himself. He did thirty one songs in one hour and 48 minutes. His older tunes were greeted with applause and cheers as were his choice of tributes to other legends, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty. He even did "There Stands the Glass" which made me jump for joy. I love those old Honkytonk tunes with a fever. He had not done that song in concert for years.
Below is the songlist for this show:
Deep in the heart of Texas played by the Ace In the Hole Band as he took the stage
Blue Clear Sky
Check Yes or No
When Did You Stop Loving Me
Take Me Back to Tulsa
We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This
I Just Wanna Dance With You
That's Where I Wanna Take Our Love
Always Never The Same
One Night At A Time
Linda On My Mind
Peace of Mind
What Do You Say To That
Write This Down
I Can Still Make Cheyenne
Carrying Your Love With Me
Amarillo By Morning
Today My World Slipped Away
There Stands the Glass
I Cross My Heart
Big Ball's in Cowtown
This Is Where The Cowboy Rides Away
The song list also had the following songs listed, but he didn't do them: True, The Chair, Easy Come Easy Go, King of the Mountain, Seashores of Old Mexico, and That's a Lie, That's the truth.
George unstrapped his guitar and spent several minutes signing things by the stage. One little boy, on his Dad's shoulders, reached out and handed George his cowboy hat. George signed it and pushed it back onto the little boy's head which brought applause from the audience. George removed his black Resistol and took his final bow, waving to his fans, then walked that walk off stage. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was thrilled to be there and experience the King of Country on stage but as for the rest of it I have to say that for this Strait Fan -- bigger is not always better. I want to be able to pay and wait for who I WANT TO SEE -- George Strait. I don't mean to be negative, I am simply being truthful -- I am very happy that George has the success he does, and I welcome each and every song he records, and am grateful for each and every concert I am lucky enough to attend. I would also welcome however a return to normal concerts rather than the Festival atmosphere.
El Paso, Texas March 7th -- El Paso paper, published: 3/8/99 Saturday, March 13, 1999
George Strait concert blown away
Halfway through the George Strait concert at the El Paso, Texas Sun Bowl, the concert had to be canceled.
At around 8 p.m. on Sunday night high winds tore through the Sun Bowl turning it into a dust bowl. Promoters had to suspend the show and send the fans home.
Scaffolding in the center of the stadium became unstable as wind gusts of 55mph began to pummel it. The scaffolding holds the sound mixers and various spotlights and equipment. Fans said the structure was swaying.
The concert was scheduled to go on rain or shine. However no one ever said anything about wind. Even Tim McGraw's set was canceled.
Some fans paid as much as $250 to see George Strait and his friends in concert for the first time in seven years in El Paso.
The concert promoters said they will release information regarding the concert in the immediate future.
NOTE: The promoters are refunding ticket prices IN FULL even though the audience had already enjoyed 5 of the 7 acts. I have heard from Management that this concert will NOT be rescheduled for this year. It was an act of Mother Nature, and I hope that fans don't blame Mr. Strait for what happened. It WAS the Safety Dept. that cancelled the show, and Mr. Strait made a press statement to the fact that although he hated to disappoint his fans, it was more important that nobody got hurt.
** We were there -- and it was a good thing they did cancel this show, those winds were awful.
Tampa, Florida March 27th --
What: The George Strait Webcast
When: It was Live March 27, 1999 @ approx. 8:40pm EST
Where: Tampa, Florida - Raymond James Stadium
Details: The concert was one of the first ever to be shot using High Definition cameras (over 12 including one in a helicopter) and was made available FREE to everyone. The only software required to view the webcast was the Real Networks G2 Player available for download at http://www.real.com.
The webcast was the first ever to use footage acquired by High-Definition cameras. Fans watched the king of country music perform in front of an International audience. The footage from this concert during "Write This Down will be used for George's next Music Video release for this single which is now climbing the charts. If the concert footage is good it might be used for a full length Concert video or a Television special!!
The Kingsville Experience; The George Strait Team Roping Classic, 1999
The Concert after the Roping.
Chicago, 1999 -- and it was windy, and cold.
There was the usual mad rush to the stage in the packed arena dirt where the roping had been held earlier in the day. (That packed arena was murder on your feet and legs, it was torture. But we did it, year after year.) Back then I could still move pretty good, so got up to the stage. When the dust cleared Jody and I were pretty much standing side by side at this concert.
I still remember it pretty well, it was hot, hot, hot, and humid ... as Texas. Which figures, since we were in the Kleburg County Coliseum in Kingsville Texas - south Texas - and not far from the gulf waters.
For those of you who didn't make it for the Roping down to Kingsville, when George was still doing the concert Saturday night, after the roping, the waiting in line for the concert started Saturday morning. We had, for a few years I think, camped out on Friday night - but they put an end to that for insurance and security reasons. So, we took turns saving our groups place in line while the Team Roping was going on. Then, in the evening when they opened the doors we made our way to the end of the arena where the stage was now set up. The family sat in back of the stage, facing us, so it was fun to watch Bubba and make faces at him.
This concert I do remember well - because George had such a great time, and it was an awesome songlist, and he was sweating. Ladies... what can I say.
Afterwards, Jody, one of my Minnesota buddies, shared her pics with me for my page. Thanks Jody, your pics completed the page, and they are awesome.
Jody, as I moved these from AOL to my Homestead account I reworked and adjusted the pics, and I am pretty happy with the results - I hope you will be too Ahhh technology... ain't it wonderful.
Photo: Tempe Arizona Newspaper, March 6, 1999
Please note that handsome cowboy on the right... who appears to be listening intently to wife Norma.
Bubba watching his Dad.
It was fun watching these 3 cowboys - that's big brother Buddy on the left, and I noticed as I took a picture they were watching right back. I have said it many times, George does not miss anything, nor does he forget.
He was wearing a new pair of spurs that day... I noticed, and he was showing them off. < Grin >
This picture says half of it. I have another picture somewhere of him trudging back up those stairs having missed his steer.
(see Fact or Fiction)
The Brothers Strait. I always loved this time after the Roping where we were able to see Buddy with George. Buddy is a great guy, he has an awesome sense of humor, I just love him.
I completed moving his page fom AOL to Homestead on October 15th, 2006.
All pictures have been re-worked for brightness and clarity, and in some cases enlarged. Thank you Jody for sharing your Photos.
My Background photo: is of George on his favorite Team Roping Horse in the summer of 1998, "Chorizo." (Spanish for sausage: Chorizo was the color of the sausage.)
To this day I love this horse and miss him -- what an attitude, and he was gorgeous. I've added the full pic. at the end of this page.
1999 ~ It was a great Strait year to remember, and a wonderful time to be a George Strait Fan. I hope you enjoyed this review of those days. Your comments are welcome. Linda
Ohhhh myyy..... he oughta be against the law.
Looks like the cat that got the canary.
Thanks for the memories, George.
I know, I'm nuts... but I love this picture because of his hand... I liiike it.