Personnel: George Straight (vocals, guitar); Benny McArthur (guitar, fiddle); Joe Manuel (acoustic guitar); Rick McCrae (guitar); Mike Daily (steel guitar); Gene Elders (fiddle); Jeff Sterms (keyboards); Terry Hale (bass); Mike Kennedy (drums); Wes Hightower, Marty Slayton (background vocals).
Recorded live at the Astrodome, Houston, Texas on March 3, 2002.
This live album marks a major event in more than one way. While any George Strait concert is an event in itself, this is the first live album the singer has released in over 25 years of recording. It's doubly significant as it marked the last night of the Houston Rodeo at the Astrodome, a four-decade tradition. Strait's name had become synonymous with the Rodeo by this time, so it was only naturally for him to play on its final night at the Dome, a pomp-and-circumstance affair that was even attended by President Bush.
The songs Strait performs with his kickin' live band run the gamut of his repertoire. There's the old-school Western swing of "Take Me Back to Tulsa," the New Traditionalist semi-modernism of "Write This Down," the honky-tonk humor of "Murder on Music Row," and much more, all delivered with Strait's rare combination of taste and charisma. Fittingly, things close out to much fanfare with the elegiac "The Cowboy Rides Away."