January 15, 2011
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Oklahoma City, OK USA
Review by Lisa Grant
George Strait - George Strait, Reba McEntire, Lee Ann Womack
Country royalty descended upon Oklahoma City with all its pomp and circumstance on Saturday, Jan. 15, in a night not soon forgotten. The crowned American version is far less splashy than then pending nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton, but on this special evening, the presence of George Strait and Reba McEntire together, on stage and under one roof, was indeed a marriage made in heaven for the 15,000 plus fans in attendance.
The diamond-shaped stage placed in the middle the arena was the perfect setting for the King and Queen of Country music to hold court. The stage production was scaled back dramatically for good reason. When you have three, platinum selling artists performing on stage, people aren't there for splashy light displays and special effects. Opening guest artist Lee Ann Womack said it best when she commented how nice it was to perform in front of a crowd that likes fiddle and guitars. The Texas native set the tone for the evening with a 30-minute set that included a string of gems like "I Hate Myself in the Morning", "I'll Think of a Reason Later" and "A Little Past Little Rock." When the Grammy Award winning artist closed with her signature piece, "I Hope You Dance," the audience was primed to ratchet things up a notch. They wouldn't be disappointed.
The multi-dimensional Reba started her show off with a series of video clips paying homage to her sterling 35-year show business career. Once the presentation ended, 'the toughest red-headed woman in country music' took the stage to a rousing, standing ovation. From that moment on, the crowd was hers to command. At 55 years of age, Reba is still a mesmerizing chanteuse with the voice of an angel. Her well-paced, 90-minute performance was punctuated with laughs, reflections, sing-a-longs and a sincere tribute to those in attendance for supporting her. Some of the more poignant moments of the show came about with Reba reminiscing about her rodeo champion father, Clark McEntire, and the emotional impasse he had communicating with his daughter. When she started singing "The Greatest Man I Never Knew", it was tough to find a dry eye in the house.
The former barrel racing champion from Kiowa, Oklahoma had a few surprises in store for the adoring crowd. She brought Womack onto the stage to sing her Grammy Award winning hit with Linda Davis, "Does He Love You." Another moment saw an old nemesis from her hit show Reba, walk up on stage, with beer in hand, to rekindle their old TV rivalry. Needless to say, George Strait certainly had a tough act to follow.
The beauty of George Strait is the simplicity in which he performs his music. There's no flash and flare to his show. It's just George, under his ever present Stetson hat with guitar in hand, doing his thing. And let's face it, when you hold the world record of 57 No. 1 hits, you got a lot of material to choose from. Obviously "Amarillo by Morning" is a must in any Strait show. George included two covers by Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash in the 30 songs he performed. Crowd favorites "Ocean Front Property", "The Chair" and "I Cross My Heart" had the audience singing along so loud an impressed Strait even elicited a slight smile. Even the mayor of Oklahoma City got into the act by declaring Jan. 15, 2011 George Strait Day. With that said, the Texas Troubadour launched into "The Cowboy Road Away" closing out his two-hour set.
I could wax on philosophically about how great this show was, but why bother. When you have three acts under one roof that have over 90 No. 1 hits between them, this is a show you don't want to miss. Just ask any of those in attendance at this four-hour extravaganza if they left disappointed. The answer would be a resounding "No!"