For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome

For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome

5.0 4
by George Strait
     
 
Don't panic at the title. George Strait isn't hanging it up, but the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where Strait has been playing forever, is leaving the Astrodome, making this his last gig at the old venue. Ironically, it's Strait's first live album, and this most consistent of New Traditionalists makes it every bit as memorable as the best of his 29 studio

Overview

Don't panic at the title. George Strait isn't hanging it up, but the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where Strait has been playing forever, is leaving the Astrodome, making this his last gig at the old venue. Ironically, it's Strait's first live album, and this most consistent of New Traditionalists makes it every bit as memorable as the best of his 29 studio recordings. The 16-song repertoire is fertile greatest-hits territory, its songs exploring pretty much all the aspects of the human condition. "The Fireman" and "Write This Down" serve up Strait's droll wit in service to humorous takes on love and life, while the exquisite "Amarillo by Morning" and "The Cowboy Rides Away" offer melancholy reflections on longing, loneliness, and the solitary man. The gently rocking "She'll Leave You with a Smile" lays on the heartbreak a faithless lover left behind, and the beautiful country ballad "Love Without End, Amen" celebrates the enduring force that bonds fathers and progeny. For good measure, Strait serves up a feisty rendition of Larry Cordle's scorching of contemporary country's misguided ethos in "Murder on Music Row," then tips his hat to fellow Texas music giant Bob Wills with a rousing, fiddle-fired version of his western swing classic "Take Me Back to Tulsa." President George W. Bush makes an audio appearance, too, presenting Strait with some kind of award, and in doing so pretty much says it all, to wit: "George, well done, sir."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
The "For the Last Time" in the title does not refer to the last concert George Strait ever gave, nor does this suggest that this is a farewell to live albums; in fact, it's the first live album Strait has ever released. The "last time" refers to the last concert of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ever given in the Houston Astrodome, a show that Strait headlined, breaking records by drawing 68,266 people, the largest audience the venue ever saw (for the record, he top-lined the first Livestock Show at its new home, Reliant Stadium). This was a big, big occasion -- highlighted by an on-stage guest spot by former President George Herbert Walker Bush, where number 41 proclaimed that "everyone in Texas loves him and everyone across this country loves his music" -- so it makes perfect sense that it would be commemorated with an audio souvenir, and For the Last Time isn't bad at all on those terms. Its biggest problem is its nature: it captures a big-stage, big-sound production, where it's about the spectacle as much as the music, so when it's presented as a CD, it's not as exciting as the concert, nor is it as exciting as many of his straight studio records. It's professional, well-performed, and enjoyable without being dynamic, surprising, or lively; it never feels as lived-in or real as the best of Strait's music. Part of the reason for that is the song selection, which is heavy on ballads and mid-tempo numbers, de-emphasizing harder country and Western swing. When they do go for purer country, such as on the death-of-country-music lament "Murder on Music Row," it sounds great, but this is not about gritty country, this is a soundtrack to spectacle. It's fine as that, but it's not the great live George Strait album it could have been.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/11/2003
Label:
Mca Nashville
UPC:
0008817031927
catalogNumber:
170319
Rank:
7097

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

George Strait   Primary Artist
Mike Daily   Steel Guitar
Gene Elders   Fiddle
Terry Hale   Bass
Joe Manuel   Acoustic Guitar
Benny McArthur   Fiddle,Guitar
Rick McRae   Guitar
Wes Hightower   Background Vocals
Marty Slayton   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

George Strait   Producer
Terry Stafford   Composer
Aaron Barker   Composer
Larry Cordle   Composer
John Bettis   Composer
Hank Cochran   Composer
Bob DiPiero   Composer
Dean Dillon   Composer
Steve Dorff   Composer
Tommy Duncan   Composer
Malcolm Harper   Engineer
Casey Kelly   Composer
Mark Sanders   Composer
Larry Shell   Composer
Sonny Throckmorton   Composer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Tom Shapiro   Composer
Wayne Kemp   Composer
Mack Vickery   Composer
Tony Lane   Composer
Chris Ferrara   Art Direction
Mark Nesler   Composer
John Jarrard   Composer
Kent Robbins   Composer
Don Swander   Composer
Erv Woolsey   Composer
Odie Blackmon   Composer
Paul Fraser   Composer
A. Smith   Composer
Jay Knowles   Composer
Dan Wells   Composer
June Hershey   Composer
Tony Martin   Composer
Dana Hunt Oglesby   Composer

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For the Last Time: Live from the Astrodome 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again, George has put out an incredible album. I bought it the day it was released and I love it! For those of us who have not been fortunate enough to see him in concert, this album gives us a chance to experience it. The songs range from old favorites like "Amarillo by Morning" and "The Chair" to newer songs like "Write this Down" and "Murder on Music Row". It is essential for any Strait fan's collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those who weren't fortunate to be among the 68,000 fans who attended this memorable Astrodome concert, this live CD offers the next best thing to being there. This live CD is really the greatest of his greatest hits during his phenomenal 2 decade career cranking out a record breaking # 1 hit singles per the Charts. This collection includes 10 chart toppers ranging from his 2 numbers ones in year 2002 - "Living & Living Well" & "She'll Leave You With a Smile" to his classics hits from the 1980's such as "The Chair" & "Amarillo by Morning" as well as # 1's from the 1990's such as "Blue Clear Sky & "Heartland" & "Write This Down" as well as his CMA single of the Year in 1995 for "Check Yes Or No". This album is definitely a must buy for those who enjoy classic country music at its finest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
is only half the fun! I was on hand for this momentus occasion and it was AMAZING! George Strait puts on a performance that is appreciated best if you are a fan of old and new George! It's always good to hear "Fireman" all the way up to "Clear Blue Sky"! While the crowd was wildest when they showed his butt on the big screen, it was also because of what an accomplished artist he is! We also got a little crazy when he mentioned Houston or Texas... funny how much pride one city can have! I enjoyed every minute of this concert and was so excited to buy the CD that would always take me back to one of the best concerts I've ever experienced!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago