It is unquestionable and uncontested: George Strait is my favorite recording and performing artist. This is nothing new, as I've been a fan of his since the mid-90s, and it's not really a secret, either. There are countless people in this corner of the solar system who would echo exactly the same sentiments as these. However, is the man coming through their town this week?
George Strait will be in my home town of Nampa, Idaho this week, bringing the Ace In The Hole Band, and a hat full of hits. Now, I should be excited about this, but I'm not really. I'm happy for the thousands that will be there, but as I am economically excluded, it doesn't thrill me like it should. The occasion should not go unmarked, though, momentous as it is.
Enough has been written about George the artist: his ability to select the best songs, his mind-blowing collection of #1 hits, and how he almost singlehandedly saved country music from itself. Enough has been written about George the man: his genuine personality, his long marriage to Norma, his triumph over family tragedy, and his work with veterans' charities. It's not as if George is an obscure figure whose story is yet to be told. What can I possibly add?
No, I have no news to break. No scoop or startling revelation will be found here. No controversy will be discovered. I just like George Strait.
My disappointment at missing this show is tempered by the fact that I got to attend one of his concerts in 2007 at the Taco Bell Center. It was the best concert I've ever attended, and six years later I'm still so grateful at the opportunity to have seen him and his band there. It was a night I'll never forget, and while I cannot predict the future well enough to guarantee that it will never be equalled, that will certainly take a remarkable experience to accomplish.
For George's sake, I'm glad he's retiring from the touring game. It's no secret that the road has never been his favorite thing, and this frees him up to keep making great records. I've always had a greater respect for those who have known when to hang it up than those who keep dragging out their career through ever-diminishing venues to disappointing ends. Frankly, I'm surprised George didn't call it a day earlier, but glad he didn't do so before '07.
If you have tickets for the show Saturday, I really am happy for you. It should be amazing, and you're bound to enjoy yourself. A concert like this is bound to be at the same time fun, emotional, and definitely memorable. If you think of it, snap a pic for me and send it my way - that would just make my day.
Is there a point to all this? Perhaps. It's not like George needs me there to make his career complete. Oh, and while I'm a fan, I'm not a crazed fan: missing this show won't make me suicidal. It may be that this is just my way of tipping my hat to the man from the nosebleeds. Will he read this? Not a chance. Will it devolve into the anonymous noise of a million other blog posts? Certainly. Will it be quickly forgotten? Absolutely. Still and all, I can't let The Cowboy Ride Away without saying it one last time.
Thanks for making me love country music. Thanks for "Amarillo By Morning" and "Wrapped". Thanks for our wedding walk-out song ("Blue Clear Sky"). Thanks for the drumstick from Kennedy... even though I'm not really a collector. Thanks for keeping it traditional, but not being afraid to be yourself. Thanks for rescuing a dying genre that needed the genuine-ness you brought it. Thanks for the show six years ago. It was a heck of a time.