Shelly Flanagan Briar Patch Ramblings
After what seemed like a lifetime; but was really only 684 days, George Strait returned to the stage in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. An amazing arena from MGM Resorts glistened in the desert sun as an oasis for some true good country music.
George Strait left the "touring schedule" in 2014 with the record setting audience in Arlington, Texas. He returned to a sold out crowd on April 22, 2016. He always said he was not touring anymore but still wanted to do shows if the situation was right. Friday night everything was right as The King of Country returned.
During Strait's 33 song set, fans heard everything from the staples of his set with "Amarillo By Morning", "The Chair", "The Fireman", "Check Yes or No" and "Give It Away" to a few new songs in "Something Going Down", the crowd favorites of "Goin, Goin, Gone" and "Take Me To Texas" and his latest single "Cold Beer Conversation". When introducing his new songs, and specially "Cold Beer Conversation", he thanked the radio stations that did play the song.
The most poignant part of the set list was the three song tribute to Merle Haggard. A true Country Artist whose impact will remain forever in his songs, but as Strait said, "it's tough knowing we will never see him perform live again." Strait's rendition of "Mama Tried" and "The Fighting Side of Me", brought the crowd to its feet. It was, however, the performance of "My Life's Been Grand" that pulled at heart strings throughout the arena, Strait's included.
So nearly two years or 684 days since Strait walked off the stage in Texas to spend time with his family, his personal interests in golf, fishing and hunting he returned to a crowd wanting nothing but another song. Two songs returning to his set were "Blue Clear Sky" and "She'll Leave You with a Smile." Friday night in Las Vegas everyone was leaving with a smile, and despite the time the skies were surely blue.
From the opening song to the last impression, Strait showed that he certainly hadn't lost any of his grace, class or priorities. The grace in fighting back the emotions during "My Life's Been Grand." The class is sharing the tribute to Merle Haggard for all he has meant to Country Music. And the priorities of giving his fans an experience they will forever cherish but holding true to his faith, family and fun.
Starting the encore with "I Saw God Today" could sum it up; but the emphasis put on several phrases in a few songs brought many points home. Speaking of home, Strait and his Ace in the Hole Band, has always shown they feel at home in Las Vegas.
Starting the show with "Here For A Good Time" he gave the fans a night full of fun and enjoyment. As he departed the stage, instead of the usual phrase "see ya next trip," he simply said, "see ya tomorrow." A benefit of not traveling from stop to stop.
The jackpot of the night though was as Strait left thecat walk there stood his son, Bubba, holding his 4 year old grandson, Harvey. As a grandfather should he gave a great fist butt to Harvey and disappeared backstage. The best and purest of "handshakes" any fan could want to witness. Keeping it real Country with his priorities in tack--faith, family and fun, Strait made every fan in T-Mobile Arena feel at home.
Check out Straitcinema's video of the Merle Haggard tribute below: