The One About Toby Keith

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Music is what feelings sound like.
~Author Unknown

So B called me yesterday and asked if I wanted to join him at the Allegan County Fairgrounds for a free Toby Keith concert. I already had plans with Jamers to go and work out at the gym (stupid steroids!) but I called her to see if I could cancel on her. Now, I’m normally in the mindset that you don’t cancel on someone just because you get a better offer but we were just working out… if we had been doing something else, I probably wouldn’t have even thought about it. She said it wasn’t a big deal and told me to go (I had only been to two concerts previously–the last being nearly 10 years ago). Love ya, Jamers!

As a side note, I’d been asked to go to the Trace Adkins/Josh Gracin concert the night before with my friend Steph. They were going to be awesome 4th row, center stage seats and I was soooo disappointed that I couldn’t make it, but that’s life I guess. The part that made me feel even worse is that she wasn’t going to go if I didn’t go. Sorry, Steph 😦

But back to the Toby Keith concert. B got the tickets from an Army recruiter (B is currently a Navy recruiter who will be returning to his normal job of a submariner in either Seattle or Georgia in a year and a half) so we were in the section with a whole lot of Army folks and their families. They were free seats for the Army, so we were pretty much top row in the grandstands and off to the side. But hey! Free tickets are free tickets.

First of all, the time on the tickets said the show started at 7:30 but the sign as we drove into the fairgrounds said 7. Crap!Concert We both needed to eat, so we grabbed food first and waited in a long line just to get into the grandstands (little did I know it wouldn’t be the worst line of the night). We sat down in our seats somewhere around 7:35 and the opening band was playing. They played until 8 p.m. and kept teasing us with things like, “Are you ready for Toby? We’ll get to him in a bit.”

After the opening act, they just started playing country music over the sound system. By that time, we were ready for Toby. By 8:15 we were ready for Toby. By 8:30 we were ready for Toby. By 8:45 we were ready for Toby. By 9, we finally got Toby. Yup, that’s right, an HOUR of just sitting there while they did who-knows-what getting ready for him. Like I said, I haven’t been to many concerts, but this really seemed disorganized. I could see waiting 15 minutes or something, but jeez!

So finally Toby came on. I was geared up and expecting a knock-out, high-energy, crowd-rousing show. In my opinion, what we got was Toby singing without much enthusiasm. He’d crack a smile every now and then and point at someone in the audience, but he really looked like he didn’t want to be there. In fact, we were sitting behind someone who agreed with me and said he usually delivers a rowdy, fun-loving show. I’m sure there was a reason behind it, like he wasn’t feeling well or something happened in his personal life, but ya know? That’s why he’s paid the big bucks… he should be able to at least act like he was enjoying it (I saw him in a movie recently and he did a decent job).

Have you ever seen the movie Pure Country with George Strait that is about a country singer (Dusty) who gets tired of all the smoke and the lights and the effects? He ends up going on a “self-finding” journey and missing tour dates because all he wants to do is sing his songs… just him and the guitar. Yeah, that’s what the Toby Keith concert reminded me of for most of it.

And I say most because the last 20 minutes or so started becoming what I thought the concert would be from the start. HeConcert was genuinely smiling and really getting into the music and the crowd (or at least faking it better). It happened after he toasted the firefighters, the police officers and the men and women who serve our country. Maybe it was that that got him in a better mood… or maybe the beer started to take effect. Who knows, but it definitely got better.

So after the concert (well, we didn’t stay for the encore ’cause we wanted to get out before the crowd), B and I got some fries with vinegar on them (he hadn’t had them before and admitted they were good after teasing me about them!) and an elephant ear. Then, around 10, we headed back to the car to leave before the concert really got out and beat the crowd.

Beat the crowd? Yeah, right. While we were waiting to get out of the parking field (we hadn’t even left our row yet!), we saw two or three firetrucks with lights flashing leave. We were stuck for over an hour. We didn’t even get back to my place until 12:30… and I only live 45 minutes from there. Luckily for me, B drove home because I was tired as heck.

But hey, I got to spend some quality time with B and got to go to a free concert… what’s there to complain about?


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