George Strait / Reba
McEntire / Lee Ann Womack
In Concert: Tampa Florida/St.Pete
By: CSO Staff Journalist
Photo: Anna Jones
after taking my seat at the St. Pete Times Forum I found
myself thinking that I was about to be entertained by
country music royalty. Everyone knows that George Strait is
the king, Reba McEntire is most often referred to as the
queen of country, then there are many heirs apparent to the
throne of country music and Lee Ann Womack is most assuredly
qualified to be one of them.
Much to my delight the classic and classy Ms. Womack opened
the show with the upbeat tune "Buckaroo". With a soft yet
powerful voice she performed two of her hit songs, "I May
Hate Myself In the Morning" and "He Oughta Know That By
Now." I've often heard that dynamite comes in small packages
and although she may be petite, don't let it fool you, she
can certainly belt out a tune and hit those high notes, and
she did just that on "I Hope You Dance."
Queen of country music, Reba McEntire, wowed the fans with
her rendition of the Beyonce tune, "If I Were A Boy,"
followed by her own hit song, "Strange." She kept the
audience captivated by telling a short story of her father
working on the ranch, rodeos, and roping. "He did whatever
it took to provide for his family," McEntire said.
With her beautiful and incredibly powerful voice she sang
"The Greatest Man I Ever knew," and by the end of the song I
had goose bumps and was reaching for Kleenex.
As one of the best journalist I have ever known once said, "McEntire
always manages to eloquently articulate an extensive
spectrum of emotion. The vocal range, the fire, the emotion;
few singers are so adept at burrowing so deep into your
feelings as instantaneously, and with such ease."
McEntire was joined on stage by opening performer Lee Ann
Womack for the duet "Does He Love You." I do believe the
arena roof was lifted a few feet before these two had
The audience got a surprise when McEntire's co-star from the
television sitcom "Reba," Melissa Peterman, who portrays the
character of Barbara Jean, moseyed up on stage, making jokes
and singing the theme song "I'm a Survivor." McEntire closed
her show with beautiful songs written by two very special
friends. "Because Of You" written by Kelly Clarkson and "I
Keep On Loving You" written by Ronnie Dunn.
After she left the stage, the venue went crazy! The screams
and chants became deafening. As the video "Fancy" appeared
on the big screens, a yellow cab drove up to the front of
the stage, and out stepped Reba in a beautiful red dress.
This is one encore I won't soon forget as the magnificent
McEntire left everyone breathless.
If ever there was an American Cowboy with a little "Twang,"
starched wrangler jeans, and a black felt hat, keeping
country real, it would be none other than the king of
country, superstar, George Strait.
This Texas Cowboy holds the record for the most number one
singles in any genre, (more than fifty), and has more gold
and platinum albums than any other country artist. So it was
no surprise that Strait so easily charmed his Florida
audience of more than fifteen thousand enthusiastic fans,
for more than two hours, singing his hits from past decades
"Seashores Of Old Mexico" defiantly seemed to be one of the
crowds favorites. A song written by Merle Haggard, "an ol
friend of mine," says Strait. For me, I got a little teary
eyed when Strait sang "The Breath You Take", a tune that
happens to be my Mother's (Wanda McNeely) and my Om's (other
mother, Cheryl Harvey Hill) favorite song. A verse from the
chorus I admire so much is "Life's not the breaths you
take / but the moments that take your breath away."
Strait took time to introduce his Ace in the Hole band
before setting the venue on fire with "The Fireman" then
cooling it down with "Ocean Front Property." His performance
included the beautiful ballads "The Chair," "I Cross My
Heart," and then he kicked it up a notch with "Heartland,"
and "I Can Still Make Cheyenne." He closed his show with
"Troubadour." Then returned for an encore with "All My Ex's
Live In Texas" and his rendition of Johnny Cash's "Folsom
After hearing Strait in concert, watching him embrace every
word of every song with so much emotion, staying true to
himself, and keeping the music so real, it was clear to me
why it "Just Comes Natural" for the king of country.
As the stage lights went dark and the house lights came up,
I found myself smiling and I think I smiled all the way
home. Why not? After all I had every right to be smiling, I
had held court with country royalty. King George, Queen Reba
and a most beautiful lady in waiting, Lee Ann.