George Strait Plays Gruene Hall In Texas
November 17, 2016 at 11:55 AM (PT)
Just hours after announcing a return to LAS VEGAS with four additional dates on his exclusive residency there (NET NEWS 11/16), GEORGE STRAIT made another return last night: to GRUENE HALL just outside NEW BRAUNFELS, TX, which is about halfway between SAN ANTONIO and AUSTIN.
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.