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Strait, Milsap And Swift - Not A Law Firm, An Awesome Concert 
By: Jolene Downs, CSO Contributing  Journalist

George Strait is a true phenomenon. He holds the record for the most number one hits and he's still going. His shows sell out coliseums and stadiums with no problem, and his fans just can't get enough. He's known for pulling in not only other major acts but giving up and coming artists a shot touring with him and this tour is no exception. For 2007 he asked up and coming teen sensation Taylor Swift to be one of his opening acts and he also pulled in country legend Ronnie Milsap to be on the tour. They kicked off in January and ran through March coast to coast. I was lucky enough to catch this incredible show in Greensboro, NC on January 20 and the 18 hours spent on the road there and back were more than worth it. The stage for the tour is set up as a diamond in the center of the floor, so the artists go from corner to corner making sure everyone has a chance to see them. And to make sure no one misses any part of it, they have jumbo screens on all four sides so you can see it all. 


Any one of these artists is excellent onstage. Put them all together and the only word I've been able to come up with is 'Amazing.' It was simply an amazing show. I wasn't sure what to expect from Taylor Swift. Her debut single," Tim McGraw," was a runaway hit and flew up the charts making Taylor a household name very quickly. I knew she was a talented young lady who pens her own music but what would she be like onstage? The answer is that she owns it. She was born to be up there entertaining people. Her quiet charm and respectful manner captivates the audience while she explains that she is a simple girl. All you have to do in order to be her friend is to treat her nicely. If you hurt her feelings or break her heart you can expect to be in a song. She sang a 20 minute set in her trademark cowboy boots and a dress. Along with her first single, we heard her latest single, "Teardrops on my Guitar" as well as "Picture to Burn" and "Mary's Song (Oh My My My)" along with a few others. She did some instrumental work with her band members and had a little fun while she was at it as well. Taylor is someone we'll be seeing a lot more of in the future. 


Milsap took the stage after a 20 minute break and wowed the crowd. He's second only to George Strait when it comes to the number one hits and he has been on the entertainment stage for four decades. One might think the 64 year old entertainer would be a little sedate, but anyone thinking that was blown out of the water during his set. He is blessed with a true audience rapport and he feeds off of their energy just as they feed off his. He received three or four standing ovations throughout his 60 minute set and during numbers like "Honky Tonk Women," "Button off My Shirt" and "Woman in Love" he had people dancing in the aisles. The cell phones (the modern day cigarette lighter) were waving in the air during songs like "Smokey Mountain Rain" and nostalgia hit during songs like his number ones medley with "I Wouldn't Have Missed it For the World," "Almost Like A Song," "Pure Love" and "I'm A Stand By My Woman Man." While normally sticking to his piano and keyboards for his concerts, this tour finds Milsap with a guitar in hand for old fan favorite "Houston Solution" during on of the corner rotations. He also plays piano on one corner and Keyboards on another. His new album, My Life, came out in June of last year and he plays his current single, "You Don't Know My Love," and "My Life" from the album. It is a terrific mix of old and new and as he often says in his shows, "Ole' Milsap's Back!" If you see this tour you will have no doubt in your mind that he can still Rock the House with little effort. And the crowd went wild when Ronnie opened his signature Western shirt to show his t-shirt that read, "Nothing Like Calling North Carolina Home." 


After a short break to reset the stage, headliner George Strait took the stage in his trademark Wranglers and Cowboy hat. Like Milsap, Strait has so many hits to choose from that it would take him over five hours if he were to include each and every number one hit in his show. So he chooses a few number ones, a few fan favorites and some future hits from his brand new album. I personally thought he put on a great show and loved his song choices. George doesn't talk a lot to the audience, but all he has to do is stand and sing with that half smile on his face and the audience is one solid roar of approval. We heard some classics like "Adalina," "The Chair," "All My Ex's Live in Texas," "Oceanfront Property" and "Check Yes or No." Then there were some new hits like "The Seashores of Old Mexico," "It Just Comes Natural" and "Give it Away." Strait sang for almost two hours then came back with an encore that included a cover of the Johnny Cash hit "Folsum Prison Blues." It was an incredible concert and was packed with quality entertainment start to finish. 



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