Once again Michelle & I made the drive from Dallas to San Antonio so we could see George Strait at the new SBC center. Yesterday was our one year anniversary as a couple and the tickets were a ’surprise’ for Michelle. The drive took a little longer as the rain & traffic were really heavy this time around, but fortunately we didn’t see any accidents on the way down. As we made and early morning start, we arrived in town about 2:30pm.
First was a quick pit stop at Cost Plus, Michelle’s preferred health center (consider them the HEB of nutrition products). After that we stopped by Michelle’s parents house and chatted with the family for about an hour. We were surprised to see Jessica’s new baby Nathan at a full 16lbs. He’s only a few months old. Then it was off to see some of Michelle’s friends, Debbie, Ramond, Azalea & Krystal.
We did catch an accident on the way out. A news van from KSAT Channel 12 plowed into an exit ramp median head on. From the looks of things it didn’t appear anyone was hurt and the sand barrels that were in front of the divider probably absorbed a lot of the impact. Michelle & I doubled back to get a better picture only to see the van drive away before the police arrived on the scene. Don’t think KSAT 12 would be happy about that.
We headed out for the SBC center about 5:30pm. WOW. Give it up to San Antonio for putting some moola into their venues. The place had that new car smell. I’m told the SBC Center is small compared to the Alamodome and I have to admit the seating did feel a little cramped. However, we could see everything from where we sat and the acoustics were great.
Opening the show was Jo Dee Messina. I was familiar with her singles “I’m All Right,” & “Bye Bye,” but I had never seen her perform live. I have to say her set was impressive. Not only did she have an amazing voice, but she related to the crowd really well. She talked about growing up & building her career while she slipped in songs including some amazing covers like “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey & “Think” by Aretha Franklin. The versatility of her band was outstanding and towards the end of her set Jo Dee surprised me with some musicianship of her own. She banged out some licks on a standup drum kit complete with black light and Day-Glo pink sticks. She even threw in a guitar solo and jam which was cool. All-in-all she probably could have held her own tour and I was happy that I had a chance to see her perform.
There was a brief interlude while the stage was setup for the main performance. Chevy had their version of New Kids On The Block come out and hype up the crowd. There was a lot of “Let Me Hear You SCREAM!” followed by various breakdance moves. They did their job well, probably due to the fact that they wrapped some front row tickets in the T-shirts they were launching all over the arena.
Let me just say that after having been to a few country performances the overall atmosphere is radically different from any hard rock show I’ve been too. While I would describe Ozzfest audiences as an act of controlled aggression, the energy at a country performance is no less intense. While there wasn’t any mosh pit or slam dancing, the crowd was on their feet for the entire performance and the screams & clapping were just as deafening. I’d say the main difference at a country concert is EVERYBODY sings each song the entire show. Like a church revival, if you don’t know the words, you’ll know them before you leave the event.
Now I couldn’t name a song by George Strait if you asked me to. And the only time I had seem him was in that movie “Dusty”. I liked the movie, but I wasn’t sure how much of that would reflect on a real performance. Well, I wasn’t disappointed. The songs were mid tempo in pace and the stage was set in a square which allowed George to mosey (cause that’s what country folk do) from one side of the arena to another. There were a lot of thank you’s and it felt like we were all at a big barbecue just BSing with George and his band. The set seemed short, but George came back out for a quick 2 song encore.
Well, another weekend just flew by. I’m turnin’ on the tube for some football, but I’ll be editing the pictures from last night and posting them later today.
UPDATE – OK, I just uploaded last night’s pictures.