Watch George Strait Honor Merle Haggard at First Las Vegas Concert
Strait and his band sang "Mama Tried," "The Fightin' Side of Me" and "My Life's Been Grand." The giant video screens above his stage, at one point, switched from shots of Strait onstage to footage of old Haggard performances, earning a loud cheer from the crowd. Press play on the video above to watch a snippet of the medley.
"It was such a sad day for all of us because he was such a huge influence on me and all the guys up here," Strait told the audience. "It's so sad that we'll never be able to see Merle perform live again. His music will live on forever."
Shortly after Haggard's passing on April 6, Strait recalled the legend's influence on him and his own career.
“When he did "Okie From Muskogee" back in the ’70s, I kinda got hooked then, on Merle and country music," Strait explained at the time. "When I was in the Army and stationed at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, you know, Merle came there, and he played ... It just blew me away. That’s what I wanted to be like ... I can’t tell you how big of an influence he was on me. Just huge."
Strait's Sin City show, at the new T-Mobile Arena, was the first of a string of dates scheduled throughout 2016 and into 2017. According to a press release, the King of Country Music played to a sold-out crowd of 19,222 fans and performed for more than two hours.
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