Martina McBride and George Strait

MGM Grand Garden Arena, Feb. 4

Sure, the 45-year-old mother of three and self-proclaimed “luckiest girl in the world” belted her hits from past albums (including “Independence Day” and “Wrong Baby Wrong”). But songs from her newest album, Eleven, on which she took a larger role writing were especially moving. (“Teenage Daughters” was a highlight.) After singing “A Broken Wing,” McBride received a standing ovation, which delighted her so much that she pronounced, “Wow, I should play here all the time!” (Too bad Shania Twain already nabbed the country music songtress residency at Caesars Palace.)

Thirty-year country music veteran George Strait doesn’t need an extravagant stage. In fact, he has eschewed fancy show presentations for an acoustic guitar. On this night, Strait sang a selection of his 44 No. 1 singles. Standouts included: “I Saw God Today,” “Check Yes Or No” and “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright.” And the crowd sang along loudly to favorites “Amarillo by Morning” and “The Breath You Take.” To make the sold out-arena feel as intimate as possible, Strait moved to a different section of stage between each song. And to give the 14,000-person crowd a real family feel, photos of Strait’s country beginnings played on the big screen. After more than an hour and a half of performing, the “King of Country” said his goodbye with a simple tip of his hat. ★★★★☆



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