The final concert of George Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away Tour Saturday night (June 7th) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, set the record for the largest indoor concert in North America with 104,793 in attendance. The Rolling Stones’ 1981 show at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans held the previous record at 87,500. The feat marks an increase of more than 40,000 from Strait’s show opening the facility in 2009.
Strait appeared on the stage after a warm welcoming introduction from good friend Ray Benson of opening performers Asleep at the Wheel. The King of Country appeared to be in awe of the sheer magnitude of the crowd, and after waiting for the applause to subside following his opening song “Check Yes Or No,” he addressed the crowd with his trademark grin and echoing his expression said, “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here tonight, it’s been on my mind since we started this tour two years ago!”
Shortly after–a mere two songs in–he welcomed his first of eight special guests for the evening to the stage signifying the commencement of a historical musical journey showcasing over thirty years of Strait classics.
Some of his special guests included Alan Jackson, Eric Church, Vince Gill, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Sheryl Crow, among others.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here tonight. It’s just been on my mind since we started this tour two years ago, and finally it’s here tonight,” said the reigning CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year. “We broke a record for the most people, ever. Really? Why wouldn’t we, huh?”
Amidst the hits, Strait paused for a very special moment and continued his tour tradition of presenting a home as part of the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF) “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes” (H4WH). Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, a medal of honor recipient, and his wife Ashley were recognized as 51st recipients from the tour and received a million dollar home in the Dallas area.
The 2013-2014 H4WH home presentations were made possible through Strait’s longtime friend, Lieutenant General Leroy Sisco, U.S. Army (Retired). The homes made available for the program are donated to MWSF through partnerships and, as unveiled at Strait’s first 2013 show in Lubbock, Texas, were awarded to at least one service member at every tour stop on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour. In addition to the homes, all of the recipient families from the tour stops also received groceries for a year from Walmart, a flat screen television, and an entire George Strait CD collection.
In addition to the charitable contributions through H4WH, Strait also partnered with CID Entertainment to facilitate a charity auction at every 2013 and 2014 tour stop including front row Troubadour Package tickets, a meet-and-greet with Strait, and more. After the final 2014 tour stop in Dallas, the program has raised $1,325,619 for The Jenifer Strait Foundation ($239,302 in 2013 and $1,086,317 in 2014) with over 3,000 VIPs ticketholders hosted and 500 travel packages accommodated.
While he may not launch another tour, he does say he’ll perform a few shows here and there…AND King George will definitely add to his long list of hits since he re-upped with MCA Records last year to produce five more albums.
The Country Music Hall of Famer is currently climbing the country charts with his latest single, “I Got a Car.”