Country legend George Strait and hometown girl Martina McBride doubled the star power at Intrust Bank Arena on Saturday, performing in front of a crowd of 13,000 that included McBrides parents and a whole lot of cowboy hats.
Wichita was the third-to-last stop on the duos 11-date mini tour, which started in late January in Lafayette, La., and stops in Des Moines before concluding at Kansas Citys Sprint Center in a week.
Strait, 59, was the shows headliner and performed second. His set was reminiscent of the one he played at the newly opened arena almost exactly two years ago. He again performed in the round, with the stage set up in the middle of the arena and the audience seated on all four sides.
Wearing a printed button-up, a giant belt buckle and his signature black cowboy hat, Strait calmly strolled to face one side of the stage, then the other, between songs.
He didnt chat much, but when he did, his Texas drawl was evident. While introducing the song Arkansas Dave, written by his son, Bubba, Strait told the audience that Bubba had just become a father.
I guess you know what that makes me, Strait said, laughing.
He performed several songs from his current album, Here for a Good Time, including the title track, which he opened the show with. But Strait got the loudest crowd reaction from some of the classic hits pulled from his 30-plus-year career, including I Can Still Make Cheyenne from 1996, Check Yes Or No from 1995 and The Chair from 1985.
Among the other songs in his set: Run, Amarillo By Morning, Ocean Front Property and Unwound.
McBride, a native of Kansas who was born in Sharon and spent her formative years singing in Wichita nightclubs, performed songs from both her current album Eleven and from her library of hits.
Im very excited to be here tonight, McBride said early in the show. Its my first time to play this venue. Its a beautiful arena.
Of course, when I was living here, we had the Kansas Coliseum. My first concert was Ozzy Osbourne. And Loverboy. See? We all went to the same concerts.
Wearing sparkly black leggings and black stilettos, the petite McBride opened the show with One Night, an upbeat track from her new album, which was released in October. Her set, which lasted more than an hour, included many other songs from her recent release, including current single Whatcha Gonna Do as well as two Teenage Daughters (McBride has a couple of those).
An emotional moment came when McBride sang the touching Im Gonna Love You Through It, a song about living with cancer.
But McBride also delivered most all of her most popular radio hits from her career, including Wild Angels and This Ones For the Girl.
She also performed the Etta James classic At Last, reportedly at the request of her mother, who McBride said was in the audience. McBride said she hadnt performed the song in concert for five years.
When mom asks for a song, you do the song, she said.
McBride finished her set with arguably her two most popular hits, A Broken Wing and Independence Day.
Her set ended with a standing ovation from the crowd. After A Broken Wing and just before her final song, Independence Day, McBride thanked all her supporters in the audience.
Growing up here was one of the best things that ever happened to me, she said. I think its one of the reasons I am where I am today.