From Thursday’s The Oklahoman.
George Strait announces 2013-14 farewell tour
The long-reigning King of Country will bring his aptly named “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” to Oklahoma City’s Chespeake Energy on Jan. 19.
For years, George Strait has used his 1985 hit “The Cowboy Rides Away” to close his shows.
On Wednesday, the long-reigning King of Country announced plans for his aptly named “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour,” which he said will be his last.
The beloved singer, who turned 60 in May, revealed the first 20 dates of his 2013-14 farewell tour in a press conference Wednesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. Among the 2013 dates will be a Jan. 19 show at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“This is going to be a very special, emotional tour for me. Everywhere we’re going holds fond memories and I’m looking forward to paying my respects,” Strait said.
The Oklahoma City concert will be the second stop on the Texas crooner’s two-year farewell trek, which will begin Jan. 18 in Lubbock, Texas.
When Strait last played the Oklahoma City arena in January 2011, Mayor Mick Cornett proclaimed it “George Strait Day,” recognizing the singer as the top-grossing concert act in the venue’s history. At that time, Strait’s concerts had generated more than $5.4 million in ticket sales and sold more than 83,000 tickets — proving him the hottest concert ticket since the opening of the arena in 2002.
The Country Music Hall of Famer has racked up records and accolades since his 1981 debut single “Unwound” became a top 10 hit. So far, he has scored 59 No. 1 songs, earned more than 60 major industry awards and sold more than 65 million albums. He is the only artist in music history to achieve at least one top 10 hit each year during his 30-year career, according to a news release.
Strait said Wednesday he plans to keep recording new music and play select dates around the country at the end of “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.”
“I just don’t want to go to the point where I show up and nobody else does, you know?” Strait told the Associated Press in an interview before the tour announcement. “It’s been great. I’ve been doing it for 30-some odd years and I’ve loved it. Sometimes I’ve not liked it as much. And here lately it’s just the walking out onstage part, that’s all great. I’m still loving that. It’s just the hectic part about touring and traveling and bam bam bam bam. I just feel like it’s time for me to try something else.”
Martina McBride will join Strait on the 2013 leg of his last tour. The platinum-selling songstress also opened for Strait on his 2012 trek in support of his latest album, “Here for a Good Time.”
“It’s just exciting and an honor and flattering to be chosen to be part of that tour, of the all the acts that he could’ve chosen,” McBride told The Oklahoman in an interview prior to the pair’s Feb. 16 show at Tulsa’s BOK Center.
“I want to hold up my end of the deal and make him proud that he made a good decision. So I’m just gonna out there and have a great time.”
Strait has sold more than 4.3 million headlining concert tickets since 1999, according to Pollstar, an average of more than 18,000 per performance.
“I’m sure I’ll miss it. I’m sure I will,” Strait told the AP. “How can you not after doing it for so long. It was a hard decision to make. It was tough. I’ve lost sleep. But I think about midway through this tour I’ll realize that, yeah, I did make the right decision. It’s just a part of it.”
Fan club members will have the chance to buy tickets to the Oklahoma City show beginning at 10 a.m. Oct. 9, the venue announced Wednesday. Tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Oct. 12. Prices will start at $69.50, and tickets will be available at www.ticketmaster.com.
For more information, go to www.chesapeakearena.com.