The atmosphere was electric: Even a short George Strait don't-mess-with-Texas video received a rowdy ovation.
Some 55,000 people arrived at the Alamodome on Saturday to catch country music superstar Strait and special musical guests Reba McEntire, Lee Ann Womack and the Randy Rogers Band.
There will be no bigger concert this year. In fact, it's a new Alamodome record, topping the previous record there, the George Strait Country Music Fest in 1997, which drew 47,000.
“This is a big honky-tonk,” said Strait when he hit the stage with his Ace in the Hole band at 9:10 p.m., opening the greatest hits concert with “Twang.” For the record, the hero wore a black hat this night.
The attendance numbers reflect the megastar status of San Antonio's favorite son.
Strait last performed in town in May 2006. That concert at the AT&T Center attracted nearly 18,000 people.
Alt-country singer Randy Rogers simply calls him “King George.”
The thankless task of opening the show fell to Rogers, who kicked things off at 5:30 p.m. About 10,000 early-bird fans enjoyed breezy country pop songs including “Down & Out” (performed with Womack) and the hit “Kiss Me in the Dark.”
Soon after, San Antonio's all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Femenil Las Eréndiras de San Antonio, performed the first of its grito-worthy sets. They were specially invited to close the concert with Strait on “El Rey.”
It was a rare mariachi performance indeed, with their version of Gretchen Wilson's “Redneck Woman,” complete with requisite “hell yeahs!”