George Strait will play a rare and record-breaking arena show on Saturday | Music


Since Feb. 11, George Strait has played two shows to wrap up the Las Vegas residency he began last year, an arena gig in Little Rock, Arkansas, and returned to the Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show for a sold-out engagement at NRG Stadium. .

As of now, the country music king, who has retired from “touring”, is set to play just four more shows this year – starting Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“He just doesn’t do them,” said arena general manager Tom Lorenz. … There’s not much more he’s done this year. But we have one.

Landing Saturday’s show took years, Lorenz said.

Strait’s promoter, The Messina Group, worked with Lorenz to bring shows to Lincoln for many years. But bringing Strait here took years.

“It’s always a question we’ve asked about,” Lorenz said. “We’ve been talking about it for four years or more. It’s been pushed back a bit by COVID. But it all fell into place this winter and spring.

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Saturday’s show, which went on sale last year, is essentially sold out. Tuesday, there were only a few tickets left. However, plenty of tickets are available for Strait’s only other scheduled show in 2022, a July 30 date at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium.

Although he hasn’t toured, Strait has continued to record, releasing his 30th album “Honky Tonk Time Machine” in 2019. And last week he won his first Country Music Television award for his version of “Is Anybody Going to San Antone” from “CMT Giants: Charley Pride,” the multi-artist tribute to the legendary entertainer who passed away in 2021.

“I can’t believe I won,” Strait said in a video. “It was really special to me because it was a tribute to the late Charley Pride, my friend.”

“Is Anybody Going to San Antone” was not part of Strait’s sets this year. Nor should anyone expect to hear it on Saturday. He’s had 60 No. 1 hits and only does about 30 songs during his shows.

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The 60 No. 1s are the most for any country artist. But even more staggering, Strait has 33 platinum or multi-platinum albums, more than any country artist and ranks third among all artists behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

He has sold more than 70 million albums since his 1981 debut “Strait Country,” the album that showcased Strait as one of the leaders of a “new traditionalist” movement that was taking country music back to its honky tonk roots. .

Strait’s debut hit, “Unwound” is a staple on his show, as are songs from the 1980s, like “The Chair”, “The Fireman” and “Ocean Front Property” which Strait played on his only previous appearance. in Lincoln in a state of Nebraska. Bob Devaney Sports Center Fair.

Strait’s most recent show in Nebraska was at the Qwest Center in Omaha (now CHI Health Center) in 2010. Three years later, Strait began his “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour, which ended in 2014. Strait has done around 50 single dates like the Lincoln show and Las Vegas residencies since 2015.

Strait will set another record on Saturday. With the highest average ticket prices in the arena’s nine-year history, “we expect this to eclipse Paul McCartney’s record for having the biggest gross,” Lorenz said.

Saturday’s opening show will be Asleep at the Wheel, the venerable Western swing band that hasn’t played Lincoln in years. The Wheel, led by Ray Benson, the only original member still on the road, celebrates its 50th anniversary. It’s actually been 52 years since they formed, but COVID intervened.

The winners of 10 Grammy Awards have released 31 albums, won the Country Music Association’s Touring Group of the Year award in 1976 and received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association.

Contact the editor at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott

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