The BOK Center was introduced into the record books on Saturday as it played host to George Strait and Reba McEntire. Tickets sold out in close to an hours time and the fortunate were thrilled with what they would witness.
It was not a waste of money by any stretch as Strait, McEntire and special guest Lee Ann Womack played for 4 hours and gave the crowd all they could handle.
Womack opened the show with "San Antonio Rose" a country staple. The tiny little lady from Texas, decked out in platform high heels that may have been so tall that she got dizzy, has a tremendous voice and very good stage presence. Shining on her hit songs, "I Hope You Dance," "Ashes By Now," and "Mendocino County Line" in which she was joined via video tape with Willie Nelson. She also sang a new song in which she showcased her faith called "There Is A God."
Lee Ann Womack did a very good job of getting the crowd ready for the night of as she stated, "Real country music."
Reba McEntire was up next, the crowd growing to a frenzy and band members in place, the lights dim and the video screens flash images of Reba’s career in music, film and Broadway. Thus, bringing on more huge cheers, then from the corner of the arena appears Oklahoma’s own, Reba McEntire. She hits the stage with swagger, immediately launching into, "I Can’t Even Get the Blues No More," one of her many hit songs that we would hear this night. If Conway Twitty was known for singing about what he would like to do with women, then Reba may be best known for her songs about broken relationships and infidelity. At one point she tore through a medley of cheating or hurting songs including, "Falling Out of Love," "Somebody Should Leave," and the mega hit, "Does He Love You?" which had Lee Ann Womack filling in very nicely for Linda Davis on the duet.
Reba works the stage as you would expect, like a crafty veteran who has been at this for quite some time. She shows great poise and dramatic effect in her delivery and inflection. Celebrating 35 years in the music business this year and showing no signs of slowing down, she truly is a must see personality.
Continually humble and gracious throughout her set, she plays very well to the crowd and even cut up some when joined onstage by Melissa Peterman, co-star of the Reba TV show, better know as Barbara Jean. The two hammed it up to the crowd in playful fashion. Reba asked, "What are you doing here?" " I was in town for an audition for a stage show at a local theater." replied Peterman. "It is called Night Trips." Which was met with thunderous laughter. The banter between the two was campy yet very funny and worked as a perfect lead in to the sitcom’s theme song, "I’m A Survivor."
McEntire would finish off her rather short set, just over an hour long, with the encore of her dramatic song, ‘Fancy." Leaving the stage prior to this song and re-emerging in a yellow taxi wearing a "red dancing dress" and stilettos. She is a treat to watch and being from the local area makes it even better to welcome home one of our own.
After, Reba’s set you may have been able to call it a night. It truly was worth ever penny spent on a ticket up to this point. George Strait would put the icing on the cake.
For those of you that have never seen Strait in concert, he is very much a throwback to the old country/western days. He is going to come out and do his songs and leave you with a smile on your face. What he is not going to do is wow you with stage show. There are no dancers, no pyro, nothing over the top about him or his concerts.
His "Ace in the Hole" band comes onto the stage which is square, in the center of the arena. A low voice then says, "Ladies and gentleman, MCA recording artist, George Striat." and the King comes forth with his sunbeam smile glaring. It seems as though you always see this on his face.
He opens with "Twang" for his new album of the same name and never slows down. He is a man of few words, each of them selected careful. He moves from corner to corner of the stage so that all points can get a good view of him. The man still has a great voice and can sing all of his hits with no problems, hits that stretch back over 30 plus albums. From "Run" to Amarillo By Morning" to "The Chair" ( a song which could be the greatest pick up story in history) he was playful and thankful to the capacity crowd. Stopping to thank the arena several times and making mention how honored he was to be sharing the stage with Lee Ann and Reba.
He is just a true cowboy who loves to make music and share his time with his fans. He easily played through over 20 songs including his encores, which included a fantastic cover of Johnny Cash’s "Folsom Prison Blues" and "This Is Where The Cowboy Rides Away" his now classic last song.
Strait has perfected his show and audience still eat them up. Judging by his, Reba and Lee Ann Womack’s reaction to the venue and the crowd it will not be that last time any of them come through Tulsa.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar and sings when called upon to do so. He also writes articles in the Tulsa Speaks section enititled, "Whatever Happened To…" check it out.