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Live: Toby Keith at Cruzan Amphitheatre, October 15

Toby Keith's "Locked & Loaded Tour," with Eric Church and J.T. Hodges
Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach
Saturday, October 15, 2011

See a slideshow of the action here.

Better than: The "Gun Control Means Hitting Your Target" Tour.

Toby Keith turned 50 years old a few months ago (don't tell anyone), but he never really gets old, as evidenced by last night's final stop of the "Locked & Loaded Tour," and the impending release of his 15th studio album, Clancy's Tavern.

There aren't many surprises with Keith comes to town -- there will be drinking, there will be partying, and there will be pro-American sentiment. And it never gets old.

You could tell where the night was headed by around 8 p.m., when Eric Church took the stage. Church is one of the most exciting new-ish faces in country right now, and he plays a style of music that bridges the modern country style of the good guys like Brad Paisley with the attitude and swagger of a backwoods bad-boy like Hank Williams III.

The backdrop behind Chuch and his band could explain away his personality -- a skull with aviator sunglasses and a Busch Light trucker hat, with a pair of deer jumping across either side.

"Love Your Love The Most" is probably his signature song, but the crowd was into his party tunes, like "Jack Daniels" -- which "kicked my ass again last night" -- and the tongue-in-cheek "I'm Gettin' Stoned."

Not surprisingly, Church ended his set by cracking open two shaken-up cans of beer and simultaneously slamming 'em down.

Then there was Toby Keith, who's cooked up quite a catalog of songs over 15 albums.

It became a total party scene -- aside from the ever-present scent of Budweiser floating around the venue -- when he brought out the antics for one of his new singles, "Red Solo Cup." This included men dressed as 6-foot-tall plastic cups, women in bikini-type outfits crafted from the cups, and a Solo cup launcher to hurl the empty beverage containers into the crowd. Of course, Keith held his beverage in his own red Solo cup, which fit conveniently into the cup-holder attached to his microphone stand.

There were also the songs from Keith that no one would really expect, like "I'll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Again" -- an obvious ode to Willie Nelson's pot-smoking antics, which came with some stoner-ific on-screen graphics -- and the near-hookup song "Get Out of My Car."

Nelson wasn't the only one to get a musical tribute last night -- Keith's guitarists played Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" riff, which was easily identified by the old-school rockers in the crowd.

Keith also managed to cycle through all his anthems in-between, with fireworks and shiny lights to boot.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Willie Nelson needs to be present for "Beer For My Horses," as well as his contributions to the weed culture in general.

The Crowd: Beautiful. You can't explain it better than that.

Overheard: The "U-S-A" chant broke out while waiting in line to enter the venue.


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