COUNTRY ROYALTY HOLDS COURT
 
The Daily Advertiser...Lafayette, LA
 
George Strait and Martina McBride kicked off their 2012-2013 tour Friday night with an electric country performance at the Cajundome. Thousands of people many sporting cowboy hats and boots filled the Cajundome for a concert that had people singing, shouting and tearing up.

With Strait known as the 'king of country' and McBride known as the 'queen of country,' the artists seem to be a match made in heaven, and Friday night proved to be just that to many fans: heaven.

Strait walked onto stage to a deafening roar, with fans stomping in the stands to welcome his arrival. While he couldn't play every one of his No. 1 hits 58 total fans didn't leave the show disappointed, getting to hear songs from his latest album and favorites such as 'Check Yes or No.'

Between taking the fan by storm with songs, Strait mentioned McBride with a smile, 'That girl can sing.'

McBride fired fans up with fierce female hits coupled with gentler ballads. She debuted a new song, 'Long Distance Lullaby,' in a honey-sweet voice for the crowd.
'I cannot believe that I get to tour with George-freaking-Strait,' McBride told a lit-up crowd.

The diamond-shaped stage centered on the Cajundome floor provided the entire arena with views of both McBride and Strait as they circled around for their performances. A microphone at each of the four corners allowed fans in any seat a clear view of the superstars.

Abbeville resident Julie Bradley, 38, and her best friend Sandy Sagrera, 44, both sat front row at the concert, holding posters, one which read 'Strait to Bossier... See you there!'

'This is probably my 40th or 42th concert George Strait concert,' said Bradley. 'I've been following him since the seventh grade. I lost all my ticket stubs in the hurricane Hurricane Rita.'

Bradley introduced Sagrera to Strait's music, and now the two spend much of their time following the country legend around the South.

'We're going to Bossier (City) tomorrow night, leaving tomorrow at 4:30 in the morning. Yes, we are,' Bradley said.

Loranger resident Brendon Averett, 23, has been a Strait fan his entire life. Averett used to ride bulls professionally and saw Strait live one time in Houston.

'I'm here because I'm a George Strait man,' he said. 'I just want to hear him sing. He sounds just like he does on the radio.'

Cathy and Dwayne Guidry, both 63, went to the concert to see McBride.

'I've seen George Strait about eight times,' Cathy Guidry said. 'I'm really here for Martina McBride because no one can sing like her.'

Dwayne Guidry attended the show for McBride as well.

'It's date night,' he said. 'It might be the first time I've seen George Strait. Either I'm working or she's with her girlfriends. When I heard Martina McBride was singing, I said, 'Oh, cool. I'll go with you this time.''