Archive for April 6th, 2010

The title reference is to the George Strait concert – called the “Twang” tour — as if the Texas Troubadour didn’t have that in spades!

In keeping with the music theme I started earlier in the week… a few days ago I attended the George Strait concert which included Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack.  There were no moving catwalks, trap doors, lasers or fireworks to boost up special effects.  It was simple.  A lean and minimalistic square stage in the middle of the Rose Garden arena with a handful of large video screens above the musicians.

Lee Ann Womack

Ms. Womack opened the night with 30-minutes of “San Antonio Rose” and of course “I Hope You Dance” then Reba performed a 90-min set which included tear-filled ballads (hers not mine!), a tribute to her father with “The Greatest Man I Ever Knew” and a “Fancy” encore complete with an oversized yellow taxi.  The concert took on the feel of a TV variety show in parts when co-star Melissa Peterman brought on stage her wacky Barbra Jean character in a cameo that segued into the TV theme song “I’m a Survivor.”  The red-head is a tough act to follow and arguably the most successful of the three given her many years of experience on Broadway, film and television!

Reba McEntire

After all these theatrics the soft-spoken and somewhat one-dimensional Strait felt a bit mellow in contrast.  In fact, for an artist whose gift to the public is singing, the first few songs were poorly mixed as the vocal track was crushed by the 11-piece Ace In The Hole band.  Who travels with 11 band members?!  They finally got the mix correct and we were treated to a generous assortment of classics, “The Seashores of Old Mexico”, “Amarillo by Morning” and “I Can Still Make Cheyenne” as well as some of his new material.  Performing in the round as it were, means the most expensive seats on the floor had the worst view at least part of the time.  We we’re just off the floor and had great views.  At heart Strait is a roadhouse country singer, the ‘ol school mold of Merle Haggard.  He sang into four mikes on stands set up on each side of the square stage and rotated to a new mike every couple of songs.

George Strait - Portland "Twang" Concert

Anthony Smith is a famous songwriter for Strait and his writing credits are a list of country’s greatest hits.  One song which Strait ask Smith to write for him was about motorcycling with friends.  Strait rides a Harley and about every year adventures with friends to Mexico.  Smith started it, then had a writing session with Bob DiPiero to finish and then Strait cut the song “Cowboys Like Us” which he performed and it included a video loop of H-D riders rolling along on their “steel horses.”   It was cool.  Strait is also a fan and big supporter of the Love of Kids and Harleys charity.

If the arena crowd was any indication, motorcycles are a social machine that identify you and draw you into contact with other like-minded people – friends – who share a similar passion.  Not the case with automobiles.  When’s the last time you’ve seen two guys gas up their Toyota SUV and chat about road conditions or Triple-D’s (diners, drive-ins & dives)?

It was a great concert… whether you ride or not!

Photos taken at the “Twang” tour in Portland, OR.; Western theme Sportster courtesy of H-D

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