Toby Keith Tremendous in Inaugural Show at New Coralville Arena [PHOTOS]
When Toby Keith strode out on stage Thursday night and blasted into his hit song 'Made in America', the crowd screamed their delight. The din of approval wouldn't subside until he left the stage 90-minutes later.
Country music fans have adored Toby Keith ever since he debuted 28 years ago with the smash hit, 'Should've Been a Cowboy'. Sure there's all those hit songs, many of which he wrote himself, but he's unapologetically done things his way all these years. And at the root of his music for all that time? A love of America.
As the crowd poured into the new Xtream Arena in Coralville's Iowa River Landing for the venue's first concert, newcomer Frank Ray entertained the crowd with a 30-minute set.
Next to the stage was Matt Stell. The 6'7" former college basketball player made it abundantly clear why his career has been heating up. Twice he's reached the top of the country music charts with 'Prayed for You' and 'Everywhere But On' and his 45-minutes on stage showed there's plenty more where that came from.
What everyone had been waiting for then arrived... a Toby Keith good time. And was it ever. The country superstar and legend powering through a number of hit songs before finally pausing to ask how everyone was doing. He then launched into a series of toasts for medical workers, law enforcement, and members of the military. Then, it was back to the party.
Verse after verse, song after song, everyone in attendance sang along with Toby Keith. His Easy Money Band was there to add great vocals and instrumentation, and his 3-piece brass section, which he calls The Knuckleheads, added that special flavor that you only get at a Toby Keith show.
28 years after we were first introduced to Toby Keith, he's still doing shows you wish wouldn't end. That, alone, tells you the kind of career he's forged. One that we've been lucky enough to enjoy for so many years.