During George Strait’s “Cowboy Rides Away” tour stop in Little Rock Friday night, over 17,000 people were in attendance to watch the King of Country say goodbye to Arkansas. George played some of his biggest hits and, as expected, he left a few of my favorites off the playlist but, hey, that’s just George, and there’s no likelihood of getting them all in. During the concert, he shared more stories than I’ve ever heard him do in the past. He brought Martina McBride back on stage to perform a dreamlike rendition of “Jackson” by Johnny and June. He spoke of his son, Bubba, often and even gave away a new house to a war veteran and his family (the 19th house to be given away on the tour so far), and George did something that I’ve never seen him do…he cried.
As he wrapped up the final verse of his 43rd number one song, he reached up and wiped away a tear from his eye. Not sure what that tear was from–possibly the reality that this thing is almost over for good, the fact that he could barely hear himself thanks to the clamor of the crowd from a venue where he already held the attendance record, or maybe for a brief moment he thought about his late daughter, Jennifer, who he lost to a car accident in 1986 at the gentle age of just 13, or it could have been a culmination of all these things. I’m not sure what prompted George Strait to cry, but he did, and I was there. It’s just another reason to add to the already extensive list of reasons why King George holds such a special place in a country music fan’s heart. You could say that’s as American as mom, apple pie, and George Strait, and I’d say that’s pretty accurate.
Today’s “Strait Up Five” is from George’s 25th album, Troubadour. It was the first single off the album and his highest chart debut of his illustrious career, and it snagged him his 43rd number one, but I’ll always remember it as the song that made George Strait cry…Here’s George Strait and “I Saw God Today”. It’s Strait Up 5 o’clock in Fox Country.