Setting it Strait 

STRAIT: Smooth.
  • STRAIT: Smooth.

George Strait
Alltel Arena
Jan. 21

Country music lovers have long had to share George Strait with some of us middle-of-the-road pop music fans who appreciate a great voice when we hear it. Strait, who is as pure country as it gets, drew another record crowd to Alltel Arena on Saturday, an audience made up equally of yahoos in cowboy hats, T-shirts and tattered jeans and the regulars in button downs and khakis.

Strait broke his own record he set in 2004 for the largest attendance ever at Alltel, packing in 18,004 on Saturday while headlining a show with Nashville newcomer and fellow Texan Miranda Lambert and Arkansas native Tracy Lawrence. While Lambert is being called Nashville’s next big thing, and Lawrence has a following, we doubt either two added a whole lot to the turnout that Strait wouldn’t have drawn by himself.

Saturday night’s show, set up “in the round” (well, specifically, it was “in the square” with each performers’ band members in a circle on the square stage), was jump-started by the vivacious Lambert, who reminded us of the Dixie Chicks’ Natalie Maines in both appearance and singing style. Donning a tight camo top and jeans, she cranked up her indifferent seven-song set with two closing good songs that were much more rocking than typical country: “Hillbilly Highway” and her current single, “Kerosene.”

Strait sang 27 songs, including three in an encore — he had 53 No. 1 hits from a two-decade career to choose from — and gave his fans most of their favorites, including oldies “Amarillo by Morning” and “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?” He showed off a couple of new ones, including “Somewhere Down in Texas.” And he sang some Merle Haggard, a couple of Bob Wills classics, and some George Jones.

Though maybe not the singer he was in the late 1980s, Strait never wavered, and never quit grinning. As for Lambert’s best stuff, she’s part of that Nashville-produced crowd, like Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban, doing rock or pop and calling it country.

The sound from the stage setup left a lot to be desired, especially for Lambert and Lawrence. Lawrence was betrayed by a raspy voice and some popping mikes, to boot. The sound men got the decibel level right by the headline act.

— By Jim Harris


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Harris

  • Riverfest turns 40

    Party with Wiz Khalifa, Morris Day and The Time, Cold War Kids and more.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • Review: Postmodern Jukebox at Clear Channel Metroplex

    The band’s shows cover most of the songs that have either been Youtube viewing sensations or are already album classics with that PMJ touch, such as Taylor Swift’s “Shake, Shake, Shake” and Radiohead’s “Creep.” Consider us blown away though by the show’s main set concluding number of The Postal Service/Ben Gibbard-penned “Such Great Heights” done as if by the Jackson 5 in an “I Want You Back” styling.
    • May 6, 2017
  • Review: Boston at Verizon Arena

    As it was, nobody left the arena and into a suddenly chilly April night saying, “I wished they’d played [song name].” Boston played it all, whether you wanted it or not.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Music Reviews

  • Cher in North Little Rock

    March 28, Verizon Arena
    • Apr 3, 2014
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers at Verizon

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers took a slightly different musical path to its May induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame than most of their fellow honorees.
    • Oct 31, 2012
  • Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Sept. 30

    The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.
    • Oct 3, 2012
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Spero heads up songwriting camp

    • A good step in the right direction! Another step would be to unite the women…

    • on July 17, 2017
  • Re: Walter was the worst

    • What a lame review. Walter Becker was never Steely Dan's guitar star...they left that to…

    • on July 17, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation