Toby Keith ended his 2019 tour, entitled That’s Country Bro!, right here in Tucson. The concert, at the Casino del Sol AVA amphitheatre, was a sold-out lively affair with opening act Colt Ford.
The lead photo captures Keith in a blaze of light holding his signature cup that he turned into a hit song, Red Solo Cup. He told the audience that he played the song during 22 shows in Europe but was told radio will never play it. By the time he returned to the States it had become a hit (it won music video of the year in 2012). He riled up the audience before he played the song by saying “I want people in Dallas to say ‘what the hell is going on in Tucson?’” and he certainly got a tremendous response.
He introduced another big song with a toast. “Let’s do a big drinking toast. It’s the 244th birthday of the Marine Corps today! Let’s drink to our firefighters and all the boys and girls proud enough to wear my country’s uniform. Let’s drink to the police force this keeping safe tonight. And one more, let’s drink to all the families of these people- thank you for your sacrifice. Now hold ’em high and repeat after me: Whiskey for My Man and Beer for My Horses!”
In a nod to current affairs, Keith noted “the world has gone batshit crazy. We need some cowboys to clean things up!” Images of John Wayne reinforced the idea, which was certainly popular in the Tucson audience with many there wearing cowboy hats.
“They just informed me right before I walked on the stage tonight that there’s no curfew tonight so we’re just to play a whole bunch of things. Some of you will remember songs from the 90s, some will remember from the 2000s, some from the last decade. If you hear a song you don’t like go get a hot dog! But I wrote all these songs and on the end of the tour we just kind of miss each other so I’m not really not running by a set list tonight.”
Among the many songs he performed in the 2-hour show were As Good As I Once Was, I Love This Bar, Should’ve Been a Cowboy, Whose Your Daddy?, Wish I Didn’t Know Now and A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action. He also did a duet with Colt Ford to great audience acclaim: Time Flies When You’re Having Rum.
Another memorable moment in this excellent concert came when Keith related that “I was with Clint Eastwood just before his 89th birthday. What are you going to do to celebrate your birthday, I asked? He said ‘I’m going to shoot a movie called The Mule. I get up everyday and try not to let the old man in’. So I wrote a song inspired by that, sent it to him, and he put it in the movie. He made a video and said ‘When you sing it live for your fans play my video.’”
The tour ended when a host of audience members who are former or active military joined Keith on stage for a patriotic finale. Easy to see why he won Entertainer of the Year twice from the Academy of Country Music Awards. A great show.
Photo by C Cunningham
For more shows at the Casino, visit their website: www.casinodelsol.com