Live in Texas: George Strait - For The Last Time - Live From The Astrodome 5-21-20 - KBEC 1390
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Live in Texas: George Strait – For The Last Time – Live From The Astrodome 5-21-20

In celebration of King George’s b-day (5/18), this week’s Live In Texas selection is George Strait – For The Last Time – Live From The Astrodome.

Track Preview

  1. Deep in the Heart of Texas
  2. Write This Down
  3. I Can Still Make Cheyenne
  4. Heartland
  5. Love Without End, Amen
  6. Check Yes or No
  7. The Fireman
  8. Run
  9. Murder on Music Row
  10. The Chair
  11. She’ll Leave You With a Smile
  12. Amarillo by Morning
  13. Living and Living Well
  14. Take Me Back to Tulsa
  15. Blue Clear Sky
  16. The Cowboy Rides Away

AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine  [-]

The “For the Last Time” in the title does not refer to the last concert George Strait ever gave, nor does this suggest that this is a farewell to live albums; in fact, it’s the first live album Strait has ever released. The “last time” refers to the last concert of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ever given in the Houston Astrodome, a show that Strait headlined, breaking records by drawing 68,266 people, the largest audience the venue ever saw (for the record, he top-lined the first Livestock Show at its new home, Reliant Stadium). This was a big, big occasion — highlighted by an on-stage guest spot by former President George Herbert Walker Bush, where number 41 proclaimed that “everyone in Texas loves him and everyone across this country loves his music” — so it makes perfect sense that it would be commemorated with an audio souvenir, and For the Last Time isn’t bad at all on those terms. Its biggest problem is its nature: it captures a big-stage, big-sound production, where it’s about the spectacle as much as the music, so when it’s presented as a CD, it’s not as exciting as the concert, nor is it as exciting as many of his straight studio records. It’s professional, well-performed, and enjoyable without being dynamic, surprising, or lively; it never feels as lived-in or real as the best of Strait‘s music. Part of the reason for that is the song selection, which is heavy on ballads and mid-tempo numbers, de-emphasizing harder country and Western swing. When they do go for purer country, such as on the death-of-country-music lament “Murder on Music Row,” it sounds great, but this is not about gritty country, this is a soundtrack to spectacle. It’s fine as that, but it’s not the great live George Strait album it could have been.

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