George Strait, Willie Nelson, The Dixie Chicks, Lyle Lovett, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel: All can draw an amazing sell-out crowd in their own right. Last night, they gathered together for a six-hour music marathon before a 16,000-strong packed house at the Erwin Center. The Concert for Central Texas raised money for the victims of the wildfires that started on Labor Day and burned for more than a week.
Approximately 1,600 homes were lost, two people died and thousands of acres of Texas burned. This relief concert provided a respite for the victims and an opportunity the larger Central Texas community to help.
George Strait headlined the Fire Relief concert, playing for nearly an hour and crooning his way through a stunning array of No.1 hits.
Willie Nelson flew in for the show on a private plane while his band stayed behind on tour.
Willie can still pick on that iconic old guitar.
Dixie Chick Natalie Maines onstage. The Dixie Chicks returned to an Austin stage for the first time in five years.
Dixie Chick Marti Maguire on fiddle.
Dixie Chick Emily Robison.
The Dixie Chicks together onstage.
Ray Benson (left) led the planning for the Fire Relief concert and his Asleep at the Wheel band provided back-up for many of the performers.
He is joined onstage by actor, writer and Austin icon Turk Pipkin (right) who expertly emceed the night, keeping it on track along with Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler.
Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler (left) helped emcee the evening. He's pictured here with Ticket City owner Randy Cohen (center) and fellow FNL star Brad Leland.
Lyle Lovett played with a large band.
Joe Satriani rocked the house with fellow guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson.
Christopher Cross opened the show with his legendary 1980 breakout hit Sailing. The five-time Grammy-winner and Oscar-winner recollected his time in Austin, including his first show at the Erwin Center 30 years ago.
Fiddler Brady Black of The Randy Rogers Band.
Local Austin favorite and guitar virtuoso Eric Johnson.
Terri Hendrix played with Lloyd Maines early in the show.
Former Texas football star and current Cincinnati Bengal Jordan Shipley with his wife Sunny Shipley.