George Strait returned to the stage last night and honored Merle Haggard. It was the first time Strait had performed live since 2014 when he gave his final tour. In all fairness, he never claimed he wouldn't perform again, only that he was finished touring. So begins his Strait to Vegas Tour, a series of shows. To country music fans, it was no surprise that Strait dedicated a portion of his concert to honoring the career and memory of country great Merle Haggard.
Country legend Merle Haggard [Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]"It was such a sad day for all of us because he was such a huge influence on me and all the guys up here. It's so sad that we'll never be able to see Merle perform live again. His music will live on forever."
Strait's fans were thrilled by his performance of many of his classics. He delighted his audience by announcing that he'll be performing "a few more nights this year." The concert at the new T-Mobile Arena was sold out, which was typical of one of his shows, where he played to a crowd of 19,222 adoring fans. According to Taste of Country, Singer Kasey Musgrave opened for George as she will for the remainder of his tour, which includes additional dates in April, along with more performances in September, December, and February of 2017. Each of the shows are predicted to also sell out. A lifelong, self-proclaimed George Strait fan, she was honored to be a part of his show.
"I cannot tell you what an honor it is for me to be here tonight. Thank you so much for showing up early. It means a lot to this girl from Texas who is a massive George Strait fan."
"It's so good to be back. I miss all y'all. I've been looking forward to this for a long, long time."