The majority of country music concerts open up with a bang, and Toby Keith's show at perfect Vodka Amphitheater last night was no exception.
The crowd, full of camo and flannel, screamed as the lights went off. After a brief Ford-sponsored skit about a party at Keith's house, the country star opened with fireworks and a rendition of "Hadn't Had a Drink All Day" while sipping out of a Solo cup (natch). A brief burst of fireworks later, he worked his way into "American Ride."
Following "Made in America" and "Beer Ago" (more songs about brews and the USA – go figure) was the catchy "I Want to Talk About Me." The '90s single was a crowd favorite with plenty of singing, swaying, and even a repeat chorus at the end.
Showing off his smooth, strong vocals, Keith launched into "Whiskey Girl." The country star sounded just as good, if not better, than on the radio. After toasting the audience and "underappreciated" firefighters and armed forces, he went into "Beer for My Horses,” followed by "God Love Her," "Who's That Man," and "Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine on You."
"I felt bad about missing Charles Barkley's birthday party, but when in Rome," laughed Keith, talking about the time he smoked weed with Willie Nelson and missed Barkley's party. Of course, this was the appropriate time for him to sing his acoustic rendition of "Weed With Willie.”
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It was only fitting that "Red Solo Cup" followed, complete with giant inflatable red Solo cups and graphics as well as dancing band members. Swigging from a bottle of whiskey, Keith accepted a cigar from an audience member and started into the sassy "Who's Your Daddy,” followed by “How Do You Like Me Now?!” before leaving the stage.
After the audience changed "U-S-A,” the man came back onstage. He brought with him a wheelchair-bound veteran who fought on Normandy Beach. The shouts of "USA" grew louder, and Keith sang "American Soldier." Needless to say, it was an extremely emotionally charged song, especially when the veteran was wiping away tears.
After an brief instrumental version of the "Star Spangled Banner," Keith grabbed his American-flag guitar for "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." The emotion exhibited by Keith, the audience participation, the fireworks, and the patriotic colors made it the perfect closer. "Don't apologize for being patriotic — fuck 'em," the singer concluded.
Whether you like him or not, one thing is for certain: Keith is a die-hard nationalist, talented singer, compulsive gum chewer who is always down to party.