Long, fun day

I love the NCAA baseball postseason. It’s probably my favorite time of the year to cover, so of course I enjoyed being at the ballpark yesterday.

But I also had other plans yesterday. My Christmas gift from my wife was George Strait tickets at BOK Center in Tulsa. We knew the tickets were for the first day of the regional, so it has been a wait and see deal the last several months as to whether we were able to use them. With the regional game set for the afternoon, we knew Monday that we could do both.

We left for Tulsa around 6:15 last night and didn’t get home until 2 a.m. It was a great time in between. Asleep at the Wheel, the great Texas swing band, was the opening act. George Strait came on stage a little after 9 and played until well past 11 - 31 songs and close to 2 1/2 hours in all.

It has always been a bucket list item for me to go to one of his concerts, so last night was a lot of fun. I was afraid I had probably lost my chance when I didn’t make it to the farewell tour a few years ago and figured I would have to go to Las Vegas to see him. The Tulsa concert was a special deal to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of BOK Center and we jumped at the chance to go. The arena was packed and full of energy.

The BOK anniversary season began by hosting U2’s start to their current tour. I saw them up the road a couple of blocks at The Old Lady on Brady (Brady Theater) in 1983 the day after they filmed the infamous Red Rocks video. Sold out 1500 seats that night and it changed me in ways I can still document today. Got to UA that fall and NO ONE knew who they were, save the two guys I met at the concert. We wound up being life-long friends (he was a groomsman in my wedding). Frank Broyles wouldn’t let them play Barnhill back on the Unforgettable Fire tour [“Pride (In the Name of Love)” was the big single] and the Traveler newspaper wrote an uninformed review about the album that led to a moment of fame for me (a letter to the editor was on the wall at Sound Warehouse on College and I got a deep discount for quite a while - the owner said my letter increased sales of U2 and related records!).

U2 didn’t use a warmup act (surprised that Strait did, actually) but played two sets totalling 3-1/2 hours. Not one song from Joshua Tree (the album everyone knows from the 80s) which was kind of cool. They aren’t through yet - this was anything but a “greatest hits” tour.

The BOK is a good venue for a show. I would have loved to have seen Asleep at the Wheel again. I was at UT working on my PhD and my parents visited. I had class and they wanted to go 2-stepping (Monday night, of all nights) and headed to the Broken Spoke. The house band that night? Asleep at the Wheel. Dad had all their albums at that point, I think, and we had a great time. The Broken Spoke was a legend by then and Ray Benson’s Stetson hat nearly touched the roof.

Too bad your trip was rushed - downtown Tulsa has become as cool a destination as any place I can think of. I like it better than Bricktown in OKC, Memphis, Little Rock, etc. I might be biased - I am downtown all the time for food, entertainment, etc. The only place better is Dickson Street (call me a sentimentalist!).

sounds like a fun day…

We were surprised that there was an opening act. Neither the tickets nor the website said anything about it. That was part of the reason we kind of rushed in, because we thought the main act would begin at 8 or a little after.

I love downtown Tulsa. We’ve been there a number of times the past few years for various reasons. Our company has won some awards from the Tulsa Press Club and their banquet each spring is at the Mayo Hotel.