One of the things that I miss most about Houston is the annual Houston Rodeo.
Yes, Austin has a rodeo. No, it doesn’t compare to, or come close to replacing, my beloved Houston Rodeo. Perhaps it the overtaking presence that is Rodeo Houston, or the fact that I spent every year of my childhood there, but there just isn’t anything like it. Really, it should be something every person should experience at least once in their life. Sadly though, when I moved to Austin, I found it harder and harder to get back to Houston during rodeo time.
After years of going without even a single show (we’re talking since 2008, which is a long time to experience rodeo withdrawals), I finally got my rodeo fix…in a major way. The luck of the Irish must have been with me this weekend because my long-time friend Sarah texted me on Friday afternoon that her office gave her two tickets to the final show at this year’s Rodeo…which happened to be George Strait…and also happened to be part of his final tour EVER. See where I’m going with this? Pretty big deal.
I’m assuming that everyone reading this post understands how cool it was that I was just handed a ticket to what was basically an impossible show to get tickets to (the venue of 80,000 seats sold out in only a few minutes), but if you don’t understand just take a look at this article from the Houston Chronicle. People LOVE George Strait – or King George as he is referred to in the music industry. And I can see why…the show was nothing short of spectacular. And you know what’s weird? Growing up, I went through a period of time where I really didn’t like George Straight. But that’s when I was young and stupid, and knew nothing of his amazing-ness – I just thought he was too old to still be singing (Forgive me, George. At the time I was really into boy bands, which you most certainly were not). Thank goodness I wised up, because Sunday’s concert was one that I would have regretted missing for quite some time.
At nearly 61 years old, George Straight is just shy of 60 #1 singles (there’s even a movement right now to help him get one more #1 before his 61st birthday, so that he can have 60 #1 hits in 60 years), so I thought that his show would pay tribute to those many, many chart-toppers, but I was wrong. Yes, he played some of the must-plays like Amarillo By Morning, The Chair, Check Yes or No and Troubadour, but he spent majority of his 2-hour concert walking us through the chronology of his 30 year career. He even played a few songs from a little movie called Pure Country (which I now want to watch again ASAP). Overall, the show was great. After 2 hours of playing, George left the stage, only to return and play 4 more songs…what an encore, right? He ended with his current song – The Cowboy Rides Away…a sad, but fitting end to an already spectacular show.
Some people left the show crying, but Sarah and I left buzzing, completely consumed with happiness over what we just got to experience. And then we spent over an hour dealing with the infamously bad rodeo traffic. But at that point, nothing could bring us down from the buzz we were on, knowing that we just saw King George live…and that we’d never get to again.