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How big was George Strait’s final show of The Cowboy Rides Away Tour? Big enough to set an all-time indoor concert attendance record.
George’s final stop on the tour at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Saturday night (June 7), drew 104,793 fans, breaking a mark set by The Rolling Stones in 1981.
He invited a few close friends for the party: Alan Jackson, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and others.
The crowd was pumped as George opened by lighting into “Check Yes or No" before addressing the crowd. "I can't tell you excited I am," George said. "It's been on my mind since we started this a couple years ago." Back in 2012, George announced that he would not tour anymore after this 2014 series of shows. He will, however, do occasional shows and make new records. George added, "We've got lots of special guests coming up tonight." He lived up to that promise as he brought out his first guest, Vince Gill, for "The Love Bug." Jason Aldean was up next, joining George on “Fool Hearted Memory," George's first-ever No. 1 single, and "Nobody in His Right Mind Would've Left Her."
Eric Church bounced to the stage to sing "Cowboys Like Us" with George. Martina McBride and George performed lively renditions of two classics, the rousing "Jackson" and the George Jones/Tammy Wynette favorite "Golden Ring." George's son, Bubba, and the great Sheryl Crow were also part of the guest list. One of George's favorite acts, Asleep at the Wheel, performed a one-hour set prior to the concert.
George made sure to treat fans to his beloved hits, including "Marina del Rey," "Give It Away," his latest single "I Got a Car" and "Blame It on Mexico." During the evening, a U.S. soldier who had been wounded in his service was given a million-dollar home, through George's partnership with Quicken Loans.
The sight of the always-lovely Faith Hill drew cheers and applause as she walked to the stage. Faith and George performed "A Showman's Life," which Faith has previously recorded.
Perhaps the loudest cheers of the night were reserved for Alan Jackson. George introduced their set with a big grin, announcing, "Yes, I started doing this song in in the '70s." The song was "Amarillo by Morning," with Alan joining in on vocals, followed by their classic duet “Murder on Music Row."
Miranda Lambert arrived for "How 'Bout Them Cowgirls," which the fans loved. George then promised "another really old song," and delivered with "You Look So Good in Love."
George took time to address the fans as the set drew to a close. "I'll still hear your screams and cheers in my mind," he said. Appropriately, George segued into "I'll Always Remember You." There was one more special guest to come, as Kenny Chesney hit the stage and joked that he was "just dropping by." George laughed and invited Kenny for duets on "Ocean Front Property" and "The Fireman."
As a video showed George through the years, from young rising star to Hall of Famer, George fittingly sang "Troubadour" and closed the regular set with "Unwound," George's debut single.
Everyone returned to the stage for the encore tunes, closing with, naturally, “The Cowboy Rides Away.” The crowd stood and cheered for several minutes, knowing that this would be the last time to see George on a tour date. They didn't want him to leave.
George told the crowd, “This has been such a special evening for me. Thank you for all the years of support.” Then, The Cowboy truly rode away, as confetti and colored balloons filled the arena.