Saturday Night: Toby Keith at The Woodlands

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Photos by Barry Sigman
Toby Keith
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
September 8, 2012

Toby Keith is America writ small: beholden to corporate interests, often hypocritical, prone to pursuing his baser urges while exhorting others to hold themselves to a higher standard. He is, in many ways, our exemplary artist for these modern times.

Keith's "Live in Overdrive" tour, which stopped by the Mitchell Pavilion Saturday night, was everything we've come to expect from the man. He was, by turns, patriotic, raunchy, self-deprecating, and obnoxious, with the entire concert experience inundated with enough Ford Motor Company product imagery to make us feel like were in the middle of a two-hour car commercial.

Then again, complaining about excessive advertising during a concert when just about every entertainment option available these days comes with an ad ticker, pop-ups or forced commercials seems almost... unpatriotic.

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Before Keith took the stage, we had the pleasure of seeing Brantley Gilbert, who appears to have adopted the new-country movement by way of American Eagle Outfitters. The heavily inked Gilbert's band even features a grungy lead guitarist and a drummer with a Mohawk that would do Wattie Buchan proud.

Gilbert himself is the closest thing we've seen to a country version of Bret Michaels. From the chain wallet in his designer jeans to the Christian tats to the dog tags around his neck to his bellowing "TEXAS!" before every song, the guy has already dug a hole from which not even Bon Jovi's "Wanted: Dead or Alive" can save him.

That brings up another interesting point: Keith and company seem bent on laying claim to the disenfranchised metal community. How else to explain the pre-show intro of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" and bumper music that included "Coming of Age" by Damn Yankees? It's either an attempt to include other rebellious musical elements or a distancing of oneself from newer American country music.

And going by his songs, Keith knows quite a bit about these United States. His first two numbers were "American Ride" (the video accompaniment prominently features Harley Davidson motorcycles) and "Made in America," about a man whose heart was broken seeing foreign cars "filled with fuel that isn't ours." Dude, didn't you know this was Ford country?

Location Info


Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX

Category: Music

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Ok I get it.  OU has won the past two Red River Rivalries so you take it out on a Toby's performance (and a few personal digs thrown at him to help you feel better).  But what did Brantley Gilbert ever do to you to get such vitrol from you?  Chill out dude...have a beer and might realize it's ok to have fun!




If anything Mr. Vonder Haar, you are consistent in your appraisal of Toby Keith and company.  You say it like you think it and I have to admire some one who stands by what they believe.  Not sure why you go see him every time he is in town.  I'm sure there are others, who could go to Toby Keith's concerts so that you don't have to bring yourself down to a level that you think is beneath you.  I would think if his concert was as bad as you lead us to believe there would have been many empty seats and there would not have been one person singing along with him or dancing to his music. I bet there was no clapping or asking Toby Keith and the Easy Money back on stage for an encore either.  I bet the military doesn't enjoy his trips to the Middle East every year to entertain them.  I can tell by the pictures the way they are holding up signs, singing with him, and having their pictures taken with him that they don't enjoy what he does for them one bit.   I, also bet his music will not be a mainstay in country music for many many years to come. BUT I don't have your job, I'm just a fan that doesn't know what the heck she is talking about, because he is what he is a great song writer and artist and you just don't get it!

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