George Strait: A look back at recent tours

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If you haven't heard yet, country icon George Strait is going on his final tour next year. The first leg of the Cowboy Rides Away Tour, with Martina McBride as the opener, will kick off on January 13 in Lubbock, TX, and end on June 1 in San Antonio, TX. The full tour will last about two years, ending in 2014.

The King of Country has been popular since he began singing in 1982. Beginning at a time when country music was under heavily influence by pop and rock, Strait took a different path, becoming the standard bearer for the traditional country sound.

The preference has helped him stand out among other pop and rock-influenced country artists, particularly when it comes to touring. Here are a few factoids:

  • Collectively, Strait's tours with Martina McBride have sold the eighth highest number of tickets among country tours on the exchange.
  • When his tours with other artists are included, he is the fourth highest-selling country artist on the exchange.
  • George Strait is only of two neo-traditionalist artists to have concert series in the Top 20 list of country tours on the exchange. The other is Reba McEntire, due to the touring she's done with Strait.

Of course, all of this may change, as Strait himself admits that he could change his mind down the road. It isn't unusual for a concert artist to return to the circuit; I think if he does come back, it will only be to the benefit of these stats. Fans tend to get eager when their favorite artists haven't toured for several years.

Strait's popularity is such that he has a countrywide audience, despite his adherence to the traditional sound. Indeed, the top-selling city for the last four years worth of tours (that's how long we've had significant amounts of data for him) have been in a different part of the country each year. Here are the top-selling dates and cities for each year since 2009:

  • 2009: March 22; Cincinnati, OH
  • 2010: September 18; Bossier City, LA
  • 2011: February 14; Fresno, CA
  • 2012: February 24; Des Moines, IA

So far, for the 2013 tour, the hottest city is Oklahoma City, OK. However, it's only winning by a little bit, so it could be displaced as the tour gets closer.