The Cowboy Rides Away Tour

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The Cowboy Rides Away Tour
Concert by George Strait
The Cowboy Rides Away Tour Poster.png
LocationUnited States
Associated albumLove Is Everything
Start dateJanuary 18, 2013 (2013-01-18)
End dateJune 7, 2014 (2014-06-07)
Legs2
No. of shows48

The Cowboy Rides Away Tour was a concert tour by American country music artist George Strait. The tour was divided into two legs: 21 concerts in 2013 and 27 concerts in 2014, for a total of 48 concerts, all in the United States. The tour started on January 18, 2013 in Lubbock, Texas, and ended in Arlington, Texas, on June 7, 2014. Strait was supported on the tour by his longtime eleven-member touring group, the Ace in the Hole Band. Appearing in arenas with six stadium dates included, Strait performed many of his most popular recordings and performance songs, including uptempo hits such as "Here for a Good Time", "Ocean Front Property", "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls", and "Troubadour", and softer ballads such as "I Saw God Today", "The Chair", and "I Can Still Make Cheyenne". His encores included "All My Ex's Live in Texas" and "Folsom Prison Blues", and he closed each show with one of his earliest hit songs, "The Cowboy Rides Away". This song that inspired the name for the tour was written by Sonny Throckmorton and Casey Kelly.

The tour received positive reviews, with one reviewer calling his shows "an embarrassment of riches",[1] and another recognizing Strait's "compelling stage presence and vocal power".[2] All 48 concerts were sold out, and for the week of February 7, 2014, the Cowboy Rides Away Tour was the top-grossing tour in the United States. The final concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which featured special guests Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Jason Aldean, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, and Sheryl Crow, drew 104,793 fans—the largest attendance at a single-show concert in the United States, as well as the largest attendance at an “indoor” concert in U.S. history. The concert also set a record for the largest gross at a single-show country concert, $18,194,374. In 2013 he was named Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, and in 2014 he was named Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year.

Background[edit]

Strait began performing live shows with the Ace in the Hole Band in San Marcos, Texas in October 1975. In 1981, after Strait signed a record contract with MCA Records, they became his permanent touring band and have accompanied him on every tour for over thirty years. On September 26, 2012, Strait announced that he was retiring from touring, and that his upcoming tour, titled The Cowboy Rides Away Tour, would be his last.[3][4][5]

Description[edit]

George Strait at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, USA, March 1, 2014

The concerts were set mainly in arenas with six stadium dates included, and typically consisted of a one-hour opening act—Martina McBride for most of the 2013 concerts—followed by a half hour intermission. Strait then performed a two-hour set of about 33 songs representing all phases of his music career. Wearing his usual black Resistol cowboy hat, pressed Wrangler jeans, a button-down Western shirt, large silver belt buckle, and low heel cowboy boots,[1] Strait performed in the round with the eleven-member Ace in the Hole Band distributed centrally on the stage with Strait singing from each corner of the square stage in two-song segments.[6] The Ace in the Hole Band consists of Terry Hale (bass), Mike Daily (steel guitar), Ron Huckaby (piano), Rick McRae (electric guitar, fiddle), Benny McArthur (electric guitar, fiddle), Mike Kennedy (drums), Gene Elders (fiddle), Joe Manuel (acoustic guitar), John Michael Whitby (keyboards), Marty Slayton (background vocals), and Thom Flora (background vocals). Strait played a black Taylor PS10ce Dreadnought Presentation Series guitar on every song.[7]

Strait's setlist typically consisted of a mix of his most popular recordings and performance songs, including uptempo hits like "Here for a Good Time", "Ocean Front Property", "Check Yes or No", "Marina Del Rey", "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls", "Give It Away", "Amarillo by Morning", and "Troubadour", offset by softer ballads like "I Saw God Today", "The Chair", "Living for the Night", "I Can Still Make Cheyenne", and "I'll Always Remember You". His performances were delivered "with no flash or hurry".[6] Strait's set was briefly interrupted by a ten-minute presentation given by Retired General Leroy Sisco of the Military Warriors Support Foundation to honor a wounded serviceman with the gift of a house.[1] Strait typically performed three to five encore songs, including "All My Ex's Live in Texas" and "Folsum Prison Blues", one of a handful of cover songs he adds to the set each concert. Strait closed each show with one of his earliest hit songs, "The Cowboy Rides Away".[1]

The Cowboy Rides Away Tour closed with three stadium concerts. At the final concert on June 7, 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Martina McBride joined an all-star bill that included Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack, Sheryl Crow, and Asleep at the Wheel.[8] The concert drew 104,793 fans—the largest attendance at a single-show concert in the United States.[8] The concert also set a record for the largest gross at a single-show country concert, $18,194,374.[8] A live album recorded from the final concert in Arlington titled The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium was released on September 16, 2014, with a DVD of the concert being released on November 10, 2014, with Walmart exclusively releasing a deluxe edition including the cd as well.[9] On August 29, 2014, the Country Music Television channel broadcast a two-hour concert special of the event titled George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away.[9] The concert was recorded by Chuck Ainlay with David Hewitt on Remote Recording's Silver Truck.

During the first leg of the tour, Strait was named the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year in November 2013.[10] During the second leg of the tour, he was named the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year in April 2014.[11]

Critical response[edit]

In his review for the Austin Chronicle, Doug Freeman praised the artist's performance for the first concert of the 2014 leg of the tour, and his selection of songs that "only skim the depth of his catalog".[6] Freeman noted that despite the changes that have taken place in popular country music, Strait has "remained the genre's compass".[6] Freeman concluded:

Perhaps most remarkable was the vibrancy of Strait's voice throughout the epic set. Though each song was delivered with a consistency that matched their familiar studio versions, his vocals remained equally sharp and subtle, whether diving low and textured on "Drinkin' Man" or smoothly drawled on "I Can Still Make Cheyenne".[6]

In his review for AZCentral, Jason P. Woodbury praised Strait's February 7, 2014 concert at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, calling his performance "an embarrassment of riches".[1] Woodbury observed:

The crowd, the absolute loudest crowd I've ever heard, couldn't have asked for more. Strait is a rare kind of superstar, one whose command over the crowd isn't rooted in bombastic theatrics or flashy pyrotechnics. No, Strait's presentation is understated, classy, and sly, and his songs ... match Strait's steady charisma.[1]

Woodbury concluded, "He's a subtle performer, and the classic sense of regret and longing he brings to songs like 'You Look So Good in Love', 'Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Here', and 'A Fire I Can't Put Out' is tempered by soft humor and wit."[1]

In his review for Billboard magazine, Thom Duffy praised Strait's March 1, 2014 performance at the Prudential Center in Newark, noting his ability to "turn musical moods at ease, as if guiding a favorite horse on a tricky trail".[2] Duffy concluded:

Strait's ability to move his audiences remains undeniable, even on this final tour. No doubt, his talent lies first in an unerring skill at picking remarkable songs from among the finest writers in Nashville and beyond. But beyond his song choices and his amazing band, Strait on Saturday showed compelling stage presence and vocal power. ... There are few other great American vocalists in any genre—the late Frank Sinatra comes to mind—who can convey intense emotion with such effortlessness and understatement as George Strait.[2]

For the week of February 7, 2014, the Cowboy Rides Away Tour was the top-grossing tour in the United States, earning $6.4 million in four sold out arena concerts.[12]

Tour dates[edit]

Date City Venue Special Guests
2013
January 18, 2013 Lubbock United Spirit Arena Martina McBride
January 19, 2013 Oklahoma City Chesapeake Energy Arena
January 25, 2013 Salt Lake City EnergySolutions Arena
January 26, 2013 Nampa Idaho Center
January 31, 2013 Sacramento Sleep Train Arena
February 1, 2013 Fresno Save Mart Center
February 2, 2013 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena
February 15, 2013 St. Paul Xcel Energy Center
February 16, 2013 Grand Forks Alerus Center
February 22, 2013 Buffalo First Niagara Center
February 23, 2013 Hartford XL Center
March 1, 2013 Knoxville Thompson–Boling Arena
March 2, 2013 Lexington Rupp Arena
March 17, 2013 Houston Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
March 22, 2013 Greenville Bi-Lo Center
March 23, 2013 Greensboro Greensboro Coliseum
April 5, 2013 Albuquerque The Pit
April 6, 2013 Las Cruces Pan American Center
April 12, 2013 North Little Rock Verizon Arena
April 13, 2013 New Orleans New Orleans Arena
June 1, 2013 San Antonio Alamodome Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
2014
January 9, 2014 Bossier City CenturyLink Center Jason Aldean
January 10, 2014 Austin Frank Erwin Center
January 17, 2014 Omaha CenturyLink Center Omaha Eric Church
January 18, 2014 Kansas City Sprint Center
January 30, 2014 San Jose SAP Center Martina McBride
January 31, 2014 San Diego Valley View Casino Center Miranda Lambert
February 1, 2014 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena
February 7, 2014 Phoenix US Airways Center Martina McBride
February 8, 2014 Los Angeles Staples Center
February 14, 2014 Auburn Hills The Palace of Auburn Hills Little Big Town
February 15, 2014 Columbus Nationwide Arena
February 28, 2014 Philadelphia Wells Fargo Center Martina McBride
March 1, 2014 Newark Prudential Center
March 7, 2014 Louisville KFC Yum! Center Vince Gill
March 8, 2014 Rosemont Allstate Arena
March 21, 2014 Nashville Bridgestone Arena Sheryl Crow
March 22, 2014 Atlanta Philips Arena
April 4, 2014 Wichita Intrust Bank Arena Lee Ann Womack
Merle Haggard
April 5, 2014 Denver Pepsi Center
April 11, 2014 Portland Moda Center Chris Young
April 12, 2014 Tacoma Tacoma Dome
April 18, 2014 Des Moines Wells Fargo Arena Ronnie Dunn
April 19, 2014 Tulsa BOK Center
May 23, 2014 Baton Rouge LSU Tiger Stadium Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
May 31, 2014 Foxborough Gillette Stadium Tim McGraw
Faith Hill
June 5, 2014 Hidalgo State Farm Arena Kyle Park
June 7, 2014 Arlington AT&T Stadium Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Eric Church
Ronnie Dunn
Vince Gill
Faith Hill
Alan Jackson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Lee Ann Womack
Asleep at the Wheel

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Woodbury, Jason P. (February 10, 2014). "George Strait Goes Out on Top with Cowboy Rides Away Tour". AZCentral. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Duffy, Thom (March 3, 2014). "George Strait, Martina McBride Turn New Jersey Into Cowboy Country". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  3. ^ Richards, Kevin (September 26, 2012). "The Cowboy Rides Away Tour ..." WGNA. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  4. ^ Skates, Sarah (September 26, 2012). "George Strait Announces Final Tour". MusicRow. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  5. ^ "George Strait Tour: 2013 and 2014 George Strait Concert Tour Dates". George Strait Tour Dates. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e Freeman, Doug (January 11, 2014). "George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "Taylor PS10ce Dreadnought Presentation Series". Taylor Guitars. April 26, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Allen, Bob (June 16, 2014). "George Strait's Final Show Sets Billboard Boxscore Attendance Records". Billboard. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Stefano, Angela (August 18, 2014). "George Strait Announces 'The Cowboy Rides Away' Live Album". The Boot. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  10. ^ Lewis, Randy (November 6, 2013). "CMA Awards: George Strait Nabs 18th Entertainer of the Year Honor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  11. ^ Talbott, Chris (April 7, 2014). "George Strait Wins Entertainer of the Year at 2014 ACM Awards". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  12. ^ Allen, Bob (February 20, 2014). "George Strait and the Band Perry Top Hot Tours with $6.4 Million". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2014.

External links[edit]