If you love country music, you probably love George Strait, and for good reason. He didn’t get the nickname “King” George by accident. For over four decades he’s been one of the most consistent and credible country artists to ever ply the craft, and he’s indisputably one of the greatest country music artists of all time.
George Strait announced his final tour called “The Cowboy Rides Away Tour” on September 26, 2012 at a press conference from the Country Music Hall of Fame. Consisting of 21 concerts in 2013 and 26 concerts in 2014, the tour ended in Arlington, Texas, at AT&T Stadium on June 7, 2014 with Strait playing “in the round” with many special guests. The final concert was also made into a CD/DVD set.
Strait was totally honest at the time of his final tour that he wasn’t disappearing from the public spotlight or retiring from making records entirely. He made sure to specifically state he would still play a show or two here or there. He just wouldn’t go on any actual tours henceforth.
For the most part, George Strait has stuck to that proclamation, only playing one-off stadium shows about two or three times a year or so, along with a couple of Las Vegas residencies which also make sense and don’t really break the “touring” promise. But arguably, all that just changed.
Announced on Tuesday (9-12), George Strait will be going on a 9-date stadium run with Chris Stapleton in 2024. It’s being billed as an extension of the sold-out and sometimes record-breaking shows the pair played during 2023 in Seattle, Milwaukee and Columbus, OH. Little Big Town was part of this stadium show run as well, and will continue in that opening spot in 2024.
Obviously in one respect, it’s super cool to get more opportunities to see George Strait in concert, especially with Chris Stapleton who has graduated to being a stadium draw himself. More George is better than less George. But you do start to feel bad for all of the folks who spent ungodly amounts of money on tickets to attend what they believed was going to be the farewell tour, worrying they’d never get an opportunity to see George Strait again.
Really this is a tale as old as time in music. Certain artists have faked out their fan bases with farewell tours four or five times. Barbara Streisand comes to mind, as well as KISS. Motley Crue even signed legally binding contracts before their final tour, criticizing other bands for lying to their fan bases for the deceptive practice, all before ripping the contracts up and touring once again.
Though some of these instances are certainly tied to marketing, it also has to do with how performers just can’t get performing out of their blood. There is nothing like the thrill of standing out there on stage singing to people and hearing the roar of the crowd, especially when that roar is coming from a stadium. And the simple fact is George Strait (and Chris Stapleton) are making lots and lots of money off of this, all while having to only work a few weekends a year.
Do nine dates constitute a “tour,” especially when you can extend them to 12 dates when taking into consideration the 2023 shows? Some of the headlines announcing the new Strait/Stapleton dates seem to think so, and so do many fans. It’s at least a limited tour.
Again, it’s great to see Strait out there once again. But don’t spend money like it may be the last time you’ll ever get to see him. Because it’s probably not.
– – – – – – – –
Tickets to most shows go on sale on Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. local time via GeorgeStrait.com, with tickets to the Jacksonville show on sale on Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. local time. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Friday (Sept. 15) at 10 a.m. local time through Sept. 21 at 10 p.m. local time.
George Strait / Chris Stapleton Stapleton Dates:
May 4, 2024 — Indianapolis, IN @ Lucas Oil Stadium
May 11, 2024 — Jacksonville, FL @ EverBank Stadium
May 25, 2024 — Ames, IA @ Jack Trice Stadium
June 1, 2024 — Charlotte, N.C. @ Bank of America Stadium
June 8, 2024 — East Rutherford, N.J. @ MetLife Stadium
June 29, 2024 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Rice Eccles Stadium
July 13, 2024 — Detroit, MI @ Ford Field
July 20, 2024 — Chicago, IL @ Soldier Field
Dec. 7, 2024 — Las Vegas, NV @ Allegiant Stadium