Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

You review: George Strait in concert

George Strait rolled into Fresno Friday night for his “Cowboy Rides Away” tour. And if the traffic backed up on Hwy 168 was any indication, it was a packed house at the Save Mart Center. We’d love to hear your take on his farewell concert, so post a review in the comments. And be sure to chime in on opening act Martina McBride, too. Be sure to check out our gallery of photos captured by Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss. Here’s a taste of how the night went.


Responses to "You review: George Strait in concert"

Fred Spaulding says:

I could not make it to Fresno, and saw the concert the night before in Sacramento. The performers were great, but the concert was horrible because the person controlling the sound had the mix screwed up…the bass guitar was so loud that it was distorted and it drowned out the wonderful fiddles, guitars, and singing of George Strait. Whoever is responsible ought to be fired for ruining what would have been a wonderful farewell concert. I hope Fresno did not get cheated like we were in Sacramento!

Elaine says:

Fantastic!! Both George and Martina put on the best show ever. George was so animated and we loved hearing his stories and his songs from throughout his career. The only sad part was saying good bye to my favorite cowboy. We wish him much happiness in the next chapter of his life. God bless and we love you

Eric says:

He’s the Best

Pam says:

This was my first George Strait concert and regret it is the last.
George is an amazing performer to which all his awards can testify.
His concert was a refreshing, enjoyable one without all the gimmicky light show and
dancing distractions. Thank you Fresno for bringing this incredible artist to the Save Mart Center for the whole sold out crowd to enjoy.

Debbie Cota says:


Jimmy Strong says:

The George Strait/Martina McBride concert was excellent. We drove 100 miles to the Fresno venue and, once the music started, the night was worth it. We found ourselves pattin’ our hands & tappin’ our boots to nearly every song performed by both artists. Then venue could use some improvement. The seats were built for slim college kids, not 53-year old 6′-2″ 250 lb cowboys, and Fresno PD could have done a much better job of managing the traffic arriving and leaving, but all in all the deafening cheers of a packed house of fans through most of the night was awesome.

Debbie Cota says:


Ray Arthur says:

Strait was Great. It was an interesting playlist in that it is impossible to play all of your nearly 60 Number One hits, so while everyone in the SRO Save-Mart Center probably missed at least one of their Strait favorites, everyone heard at least ten of their Strait favorites, plus a couple of new tunes, a couple of well performed covers, and a couple of duets with his opening act. This is Strait’s farewell concert tour and who could blame him. At 60 he has been “on the road” for 33 years. Hell, I don’t even like driving to Bakersfield. His band for decades, the Ace in the Hole band, has of course seen personnel changes but remains a strong support system for a two hour set which seemed relaxed but whose tempo, timing, and flow were clearly planned to the second. The lighting effects were both effective and, for me, distractive. I’d give the SM sound system only a C+ but then I’m deaf in one ear. Finally, I’ll omit comments on opening act Martina McBride because I’ve never enjoyed her music or performances. Frankly, with the exception of the great Connie Smith, I do not enjoy female County singer who YELL on key. In closing, a great concert as long as you weren’t expecting a jukebox of all his hits.

Walt Warner says:

George has come full circle since I first saw him at the Las Vegas Hilton in the 1980′s. He has become a TOTAL performer and his Fresno concert compared favorably with some of the best I’ve seen including Paul McCartney. George was certainly enjoying himself and shared his passion for the fans. A job well done! I’m only sorry that it is ending but the country music industry is changing and George should now enjoy his spoils.

Karen S says:

We thoroughly enjoyed every minute of both star’s performances. George Strait is the last of the pure country performers. The show was worth every minute we sat in traffic (45 to be exact). We’ve seen George 4 times and this was by far the best show. He seemed very relaxed, animated and sincere. I’ll have to agree that the seating at Save Mart Center isn’t very comfortable and the sound wasn’t the best..but the singing was awesome!

Ken Marvin says:

Other than the poorly directed parking and exit, the rude women behind us and the terrible lighting effects, A GREAT SHOW. What more can you ask for??? King George at his best. Martina was outstanding as well. Hats off to Fresno to have two great headliners in one show. George and Martina represent some the last true “pure country singers”.

Paul says:

George Strait, in what is supposedly his farewell tour (can you ever really be sure with entertainers or professional athletes that they are really going to retire when they say they are?) put on a stellar performance. This was his 3rd appearance at the Save Mart Center (about 5 years ago, he appeared with Sarah Johns opening, and 2 years ago he had Reba and Lee Ann Womack along for the ride). Of the 3 appearances, I thought that this one and his first were by far the best. The show 2 years ago was good but not nearly as good as the first and the third. I especially liked when Martina McBride came out and sang a couple of songs with George.

As for Martina, I have always loved her, and I thought she did fine overall, but for some reason she seemed a little “off” this evening. As long as she did not have to hit the really high notes she sounded fine, but in the songs which required her to belt out high notes she really had trouble. In particular, I thought that she really massacred “This One’s For The Girls” and “Independence Day”. Perhaps she had a cold or something, or perhaps with age her ability to hit the high notes smoothly is just waning.

Overall, though, it was a tremendous night at the SMC. Long live the KING !!!

Robin Chavez says:

This was my 2nd time seeing George Strait at the Save Mart Center in Fresno (once in Las Vegas also) and it was amazing! We had floor seats and got up close to the stage for pictures! Being from the coast it is well worth the drive! George is a great entertainer as well as his band! I will miss his touring but maybe he will be somewhere close in 2014!

Darah Smith says:

I liked it. George Strait is a phenomenal live performer. Pure Talent, charismatic, charming, personable. I did NOT like the crowd. I thought only drunken demonstrative goons went to rap concerts but apparently they love country too. I paid $420 for 2 tickets about four rows back and I had to fight for my seats. The gentleman 5 feet away from me was throwing up all over himself. A 70 + woman was fighting with this obese girl who would not stop spilling beer all over her. I saw Carrie Underwood in San Jose and the crowd was not like this. BUT you cannot compare the 2 artists so maybe George just brought out ALL of Fresno…not just the sober, decent acting people. God Bless Him

Bruce Wayne Hunter says:

We went to see George Straiht at the Save Mart Center before and the seating was so steep that my wife couldn’t sit through the first half. We ended up leaving because I couldn’t just leave her outside while I watched it. The next time we saw George Strait we drove to Little Rock, AK. The music was so loud and the fans were so loud we had to leave because my step sons ears started hurting. It was a big blur of noise and a dissapointment. I enjoy George Strait’s music tremendously, but wouldn’t want to pay to see his concert again.

Von & Jill Goodin says:

Awesome concert. I paid $800 online for 2 tickets and am very happy I did. We were 2nd row back (I don’t see any reason to be far back, otherwise I’d rather watch on TV). Crowd was great, performance wonderfull. I really liked the lack of superbright strobe lights blinding me. I also liked that George and Martina played and not everyone else. I saw Zac Brown band in Nashville, and he let everyone else play. He did not play for a long time. George Strait played for what seemed like 2 hours!! I thought the sound was pretty good where I was. The only thing I can say slightly negative was that parking was tough!!! I hope this was not truely Gerge Stait’s last concert tour!!!

Tom says:

good entertainer- save mart sound is terible however–ill never go to another concert until someone fixes the sound system there–

La-rene Williams says:

Had a great time at the concert I have been a fan of George Strait since his arrival on the country scene. I have been to 7 concerts , some here and some in Oklahoma when I lived there. I have to agree about the save mart ctr not built for us aging fans… but still had a great time with my family. Had a VERY rude person in front of us who doesnt understand good manners when seated in nosebleed , you dont stand up during the entire show , you block other people from seeing the show. When asked to please sit down her remark was well I paid for my ticket and Iam going to enjoy the show well so did we and the people behind her. Just a sample od someone who isnt really there for the show but the beer. But we didnt let her ruin our evening .

Brittany Wotton says:

I was not at this concert, I will be at the concert in Connet. And I feel that yes, if someone paid for their ticket and they would like to stand then, well so be it. You could have stood up also. Just as she could have sit down. I am not a drinker, but when I am at a country concert, you bet your rear I will be standing up dancing, smiling and laughing, I could not sit still for any concert. So too bad for you I guess!

Rick says:

Just because you bought a ticket does not entitle you to exhibit rude behavior. Sit down, enjoy the show and let others do the same. It is not always all about YOU!!!

Nate says:

Rick that’s right, we all paid, and deserve common courtesy as you put it. People like Brittany are inconsiderate rude people. Her logic would have everyone standing and short people standing on their seats. This type of behavior with beer involved is what cause people to fight and get tossed out, saw two individuals get the “boot” lol! I think my party got more beer dumped on them than the drunks who paid 11$ for their dang beer! But thanks again for telling brittany how out of touch with reality she really is!!!

Debbie Michaud says:

George is still the king!Great show!Martina was wonderful.This was our third time seeing George.This was the best!He is such a class act.We love you George and will continue to listen to your music!

Mary says:

I went to Lexington, KY and saw him last night. The show was aweome. The best one yet. I’ve seen George Strait 4 times so far. Hopefully it won’t be my last show. They rocked tge house.
The Rupp Arena was nice but it was hot inside and it seemed that everyone on my isle had to continuously get up to get beer/go to the bathroom. Slightly aggravating.

SAS says:

This was my 5th time seeing King George, I missed his first visit to the Save Mart Center in 2004, but been to everyone since (’06, ’09, ’11 and ’13) we even drove to Las Vegas to see him in 2007! This by far was the best, he was more lively and animated like when we saw him in Vegas. He played for 2 hours and even had Martina McBride, who did an amazing job opening, for a couple duets. George Strait is the only entertainer that I’ve seen that just puts me in a relaxing mood by hearing his voice. Save Mart Center needs to work on how they observe the crowd. We had drunks yelling and spilling beer on us. I understand that people want to enjoy their time and paid for their ticket, but common courtesy please. Also to the one that said it’s ok to stand up in front of others…you’re an inconsiderate person. It’s common courtesy to allow everyone to enjoy the show that they ALSO PAID FOR! So like the guy that replied said…SIT YOUR ASS DOWN!!! Also parking is ridiculous and traffic is not managed well by Fresno PD, they really should have it down by now! The seats aren’t comfortable, but there really is no bad seat at the SMC. The sound was ok, but muffled at times on the high tempo songs. I found that the merchandise stands weren’t place well and not enough. Spent an hour to get a hat lol MGM in Vegas was way more organized and traffic flowed well for a busy Saturday night on the strip, so Fresno take notes! All in all it was an amazing experience, beer drenched and all, to see my favorite cowboy ride away! Wished I could see him one last time in Vegas, but I’ll remember that night fondly! Btw, my favorite song by Strait is ‘Carried Away’ and he never once sang it in all the 5 times I’ve seen him in concert!

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