This post might not be like a lot of the content that I post on here. It is much more personal, but this story takes place in San Diego, and I wanted to share it with you because it is special to me. My Dad and I have always been extremely close. I was Daddy’s little girl, and his only child. My freshman year of college, Dad and I drove out to Peoria, AZ for our third trip to watch a few Padre’s Spring Training games. I highly recommend this if you are a baseball fan. It’s a great experience to be so close to your favorite team and players in a much more intimate setting, and Phoenix is a very nice city. Perfect for families, and great for getting tons of autographs! In between games, we would explore Phoenix, and eat at the Texas Roadhouse Grill, multiple times if I had anything to do with it. This trip was a little more memorable than the others. It was the trip that Dad introduced me to the music of George Strait, and another way for us to bond.
During that trip, Dad had a song stuck in his head that wouldn’t unstick- “The Chair,” by George Strait. I have always been a country music fan, but only knew a few of the King of Country’s greatest hits. The great values and heartfelt stories that are portrayed in country songs are what always draw me back to the great genre. Dad tried to sing “The Chair” to me, but it rang no bells and he was determined to have me hear it for the first time. “It’s a really unique song about a guy meeting a girl in a bar…” (That’s how many country songs go, Dad!) He went on and on about it, and finally he pulled in to a Phoenix Walmart, on a mission to find that song for me to hear. We walked out of that Walmart with “George Strait’s 50 Number Ones,” and little did I know that I would memorize the words to each and every one of those fifty songs. It is one of my favorite CDs that I own, attached to a great memory of my father-daughter trip to Peoria.
I finally listened to “The Chair” and initially, I wasn’t impressed after all of the hype my Dad gave it. I thought it was a bit cheesy. But after Dad played the song over and over, (sometimes after my protests) it really grew on me and I completely fell in love with this song. We loved the entire CD so much that we drove up and down the Phoenix freeway one night for over an hour just to listen to the tracks play. I will never forget those drives with my Dad. (You better believe we listened to the CD on our 5 hour drive back to San Diego, too.)
Fast-forward seven years later (wow, time really flies). I was sitting in my car when a KSON ad came on the radio for George’s Cowboy Rides Away Tour. The thought to buy tickets crossed my mind, but I didn’t act on it initially. But it did make me think about that trip to Peoria. I wasn’t sure that my Dad would want to go, but I thought I better at least ask. Our family has had a really tough year, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share another memory together again. Being the procrastinator that I am, I finally looked into purchasing tickets to this now sold-out concert. I came across a pair of (inflated) tickets and called Dad up to ask if he was busy that next Friday night. Then I told him I was going to take him to see George Strait’s final tour. He said yes, I clicked purchase, and it was a done deal, we were going to the George Strait Farewell Tour in five days.
We arrived at the Valley View Casino Center at 4:30pm. Wandered over to the Chili’s, and was deterred from the one and a half hour wait for a table. The entire restaurant was lined with cowboys and cowgirls in country music attire. We settled for Chick-fil-A, which was tasty, and headed into the arena. I was really impressed by the inside of the arena. In my childhood, Dad and I would go to Gulls hockey games on an almost weekly basis when they were in season, and being back made me miss hockey in San Diego. The walls of the outer ring of the arena were lined with larger than life sized photos of performers, and their set lists when they performed at the Sports Arena. I thought that was pretty unique! We got to our seats in the second row of our section and settled in, excited to hear George Strait in person.
Miranda Lambert opened the show and wow, she is SPUNKY! (The next morning I promptly downloaded her top hits to my iPhone). She was great live and really got the crowd pumped up for George Strait. Later in the night, she came out to sing some duets with George Strait. She said something that really touched me, which was a great story about her American Dream. She told the crowd that when she was younger her mom bought her a ticket to see George Strait in Dallas. She belted out his songs in the back row, as it was the most her parents could afford. When she was older, a boyfriend bought her 12th row tickets to see George in concert. Then she was teary eyed when she stood next to George that night and told the crowd how happy she was to be on stage singing along with her idol, the King of Country. What a great story.
And then, George walked out to the stage. After every song he sang, San Diego gave him a loud standing ovation. I was blown away by how smooth his voice was live, how effortlessly he sang and how he sounded exactly like his many, many recorded albums. He sang hit after hit, and gave a little background about each of them. He must have sang over thirty songs, and each was just as entertaining as the last, if not more. Every two songs he rotated to the next corner of the stage, providing all of his fans with a great view of his concert. He came across as a very humble man as well. I gained even more respect for him when I learned that he served in the Army, and partners with the Military Warriors foundation to give away a home to a nominated soldier during every one of his concerts on his Farewell tour. What a great American. The crowd gave another standing ovation to the soldier who received his new home.It was a very touching and heartfelt show. If you ever get a chance to see George for a show (he will still sing, he just won’t tour anymore), I highly recommend it, regardless of the price. He is an amazing country singer, and an even greater American, and I walked out of that arena bursting with pride for our nation.
In case you were wondering, George did sing “The Chair,” and it brought tears to my eyes. My Dad was happy, and we shared another moment together, which I will remember for the rest of my life (I know he will too). After being introduced to “The Chair” and George’s greatest hits seven years ago, we got to see him sing them live. It was a special experience. Thank you for reading about my personal memories with my Dad. They mean a lot to me, and I hope you enjoyed my post about a father-daughter bond, and the King of Country. In the words of George Strait- “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, its a love without end, Amen.”