Seven years ago today, on January 18, 2013, George Strait launched what should be his farewell tour, The Cowboy Rides Away Tour. The trek followed the September 2013 announcement of the country icon that he would withdraw from touring, but not from making music.
“I always had it in mind, when I turned 60, it might be the time to think about it,” Strait said at the time. “I didn’t want to book a tour where nobody came.”
The King of Country, who was joined by act Martina McBride to open for the first leg of his last tour, started the The Cowboy Rides Away Tour in Lubbock, Texas. During his two-hour set, Strait made many of his biggest hits, including “Here for a Good Time,” “Ocean Front Property,” “I Saw God Today,” and “Golden Ring,” the last of which he sang with McBride.
The last Strait concerts, which were held in arenas across the country, were sold out in almost every location in a matter of minutes. The singer started a second stage of the The Cowboy Rides Away Tour on January 9, 2014; various opening acts joined those shows, including Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Lee Ann Womack and Luke Bryan.
The last show on Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away Tour took place on June 7, 2014 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Various guests, including Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Faith Hill and Miranda Lambert, participated in Strait during the concert, which set a new indoor attendance record with 104,793 fans present.
“I knew it would be a bit emotional, but I was still a little surprised to feel it so strong,” Strait People magazine said after the show. “The first three or four shows in 2013 were the hardest, but every night I was thinking about it, because I probably would never return there. It made me want to set up the best show we have ever done there. I hope we did that. I feel like we did that. “
Strait has released a live DVD and CD, The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium, to commemorate that last concert. The package contains performances by various of his special guests. Both the DVD and the CD can be purchased on Amazon.
However, it turned out that Strait could not resist the allure of the stage, albeit on a more manageable scale. In 2016 he played six concerts at the Las Vegas T-Mobile Arena, and the following year he increased his performance by performing 10 shows at the same location; The 2018 also brought more Strait shows to Vegas. In 2019, he booked a few one-off shows outside of Sin City, including appearances on the final night of RodeoHouston.
“We said from the start that we would listen to the fans and follow what they want,” Strait said in a press release announcing the 2018 shows. “Fan support is now just as strong as when we started; and we respond to that interest … “
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Bless Your Heart!