It was there that an unknown STRAIT initially began performing in the early 80s, first needing to prove himself worthy of a regular slot at the oldest dance hall in TEXAS, which even then was a legendary venue. WEDNESDAY's occasion was a release party for STRAIT’s three-disc “STRAIT Out Of The Box: Part 2” box set, due TOMORROW, NOVEMBER 18th exclusively at WALMART and WALMART.com (NET NEWS 9/29).
Imagine for a moment if you will, STRAIT – a.k.a. “THE KING” – who has played arenas, stadiums, and every other gigantically configured venue imaginable for more than 25 years, playing a gig in a rustic dance hall with capacity of approximately 1000, complete with wooden, boarded floors, no air conditioning, and a spacious patio out back. Even a spot in the very back of GRUENE HALL offered the closest sight line ever available to the COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAMER. The evening can only be described as surreal, and quite frankly, epic.
With his ACE IN THE HOLE BAND in tow as usual, STRAIT took the partisan crowd through his musical journey starting, appropriately, with “Here For A Good Time.” His classic tunes were the core of the show, with “Ocean Front Property,” “The Fireman,” “MARINA DEL REY,” “The Chair,” “Unwound,” and “AMARILLO By Morning” doing the musical heavy lifting. But STRAIT also featured newer songs, too, with his latest single “Going, Going, Gone,” the recent “Cold Beer Conversation,” and two brand new ones included on the new box set – the pounding, up-tempo, “Gotta Go Through Hell,” and somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek statement song, the self-explanatory, “Kicked Out Of Country,” which he co-wrote with JAMIE JOHNSON. You can check out both of those tracks on ALL ACCESS COOL NEW MUSIC here beginning TOMORROW (11/18). STRAIT paid homage to the late MERLE HAGGARD as well, delighting fans with “Mama Tried” and “Workin' Man’s Blues.” The performance was streamed live online.
As timeless as his most famous songs are, so too are STRAIT’s appearance and most importantly, his voice. THE KING has hardly aged, and what little of that has occurred has done so gracefully. He still sports a perfectly starched shirt, WRANGLER jeans, and cowboy hat – black for last night’s occasion. Whenever STRAIT turned around and motioned to his band, every female in the house was poised with their cell phone camera, ready for a snap at his backside. Not much has changed in 35 years. STRAIT’s vocals are still spot on, in tune, and rich as ever. That makes his announcement about extra LAS VEGAS shows all the more exciting. The four additional dates are billed as “2 NIGHTS OF NUMBER 1S,” and both he and fans will need consecutive nights to get through STRAIT’s 60 – count ‘em, 60 – #1 career singles.
See George Strait Perform ‘Amarillo By Morning’ at Gruene Hall
BY MATT ALPERT10 HOURS
Last night was one for the books. George Strait and his Ace in the Hole Band returned to Gruene Hall, Texas’ oldest dancehall, for the first time since 1982. The George Strait Gruene Hall performance was in celebration of his new box set, Strait Out of the Box, Part 2, which releases Friday.
The private concert, which was live streamed on the Wrangler Network, brought Strait’s career full circle. In 1976, a young Strait and the Ace and the Hole band began their careers playing afternoon shows at Gruene Hall. In those days, the owner charged 25 cents for the cover. Strait said they made $7. Last night, a throng of fans seven rows deep watched from outside the dancehall through chicken wire windows. The audience inside, which included several country artists, was treated to an intimate two-hour show packed with his favorite hits.
Our favorites from the night were Strait’s new song he co-wrote with Jamey Johnson, “Kicked Outta Country,” a cover of Bob Wills’ “Take Me Back to Tulsa” and the song Strait said is his favorite, “Amarillo By Morning.” You can watch the latter in the video below.
Strait also announced a set of special dates in Las Vegas for 2017. Dubbed 2 Nights of Numbers 1s, Strait will play back to back shows of all of his 60 number one singles and fan favorites at the T-Mobile Arena.
George Strait, 2 Nights of Number 1s Dates:
George Strait Comes Full Circle With Gruene Hall Homecoming
By Amanda Hensel November 17, 2016 6:00 PM
On the same day that he announced a special run of shows in Las Vegas for 2017, George Strait played a hole-in-the-wall dancehall — albeit a famous one — in his home state. Wednesday night’s (Nov. 16) show was a private party to celebrate the release of Strait Out of the Box: Part 2 (Nov. 18), a 56-track collection of music spanning the last 20 years of Strait’s releases — he released Part 1 in 1996 — which includes 26 No. 1 singles and two new tracks. Strait wanted to do it right, and that meant coming home to Gruene Hall.
It was the first time he’d taken the storied Texas stage in 34 years, and as he sipped an icy Miller Lite, he marveled at the fact that nothing has really changed since 1982. That excludes technology, of course, as iPhones helped light a show that thousands more country music fans around the world tuned in via livestream to witness.
It was a solid blend of old and new. Strait and his mostly-local Ace in the Hole band opened with 2011’s “Here for a Good Time,” and the singer recalled his past experiences on the stage in between “The Fireman,” “Amarillo by Morning,” “The Chair,” “Troubadour,” “Take Me to Texas” and “I Can Still Make Cheyenne,” plus “Kicked Outta Country” and “You Gotta Go Through Hell,” the two new songs on SOTB2, which are Strait co-writes.
After a rowdy encore of Johnny Cash‘s “Folsom Prison Blues,” his own “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” and “The Cowboy Rides Away,” Strait left the stage the same way he entered, through the men’s restroom and through a parted sea of industry persons with their arms outstretched for handshakes.
Though George felt right at home at Gruene Hall, as if he’d transported himself right back to the days of $1 concert tickets, the difference between 1982 and 2016 was obvious to everyone else. This time, fans lined the building from the outside, clamoring to the dusty screen windows of the rickety old dancehall just hoping to catch a glimpse of the megastar doing his thing. It was one of the rare nights that some of the most notable names in Texas country music could just be faces in the crowd, with Cory Morrow, Kyle Park and Aaron Watson all taking in the show, in addition to Strait labelmate Jon Pardi. And everyone had goosebumps from first note to the last tip of Strait’s black hat.
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