Photos - Toby Keith - September 19, 2003, Germain Amphitheater, Columbus, OH
Official Site
Anyone can be a star if all goes according to plan. Think about it. Even if I were up on stage, and all went perfect, the band was tight, the background singers were hot and swaying and the sound was perfect, 100 or so people may come to see me. But what makes a star a good performer is when they dominate the night in front of over 10,000 when not everything is up to par. Toby Keith was the star performer that night in Columbus.

Even with a very muddy sound that made it almost impossible to understand Keith’s lyrics (if you were one of the few not singing along to every song), Keith was able to rise from his transforming Ford pick-up truck and make every dollar spent that night worthwhile.

While a lot of artists would have let the fans down with bad sound, Keith’s charisma and well, let’s face it, tight jeans and rugged good looks were able to keep the fans enthralled. And of course a vast majority was female.

The show kicked off with Junior Brown who brought to town some great, down-home country twang with his double guitar, half slide and half 12-string. Playing everything from Jimmy Hendrix to his own old-school country blues, Brown’s half-hour flew by and it wasn’t long before tall and lanky Blake Shelton took the stage.

Shelton had the great mix of country and 80s rock that helped pave the way to Keith’s more rocking sound. Where Shelton is more country, Keith is more rock and roll attitude in a country boy’s body. Mentioned briefly above was the transforming Ford, and it was just that. Like a Decepticon in the Transformers cartoon series, Keith came out of what seemed like an ordinary pick up. But what it evolved into was something that was straight from Star Trek. Hydraulics and power was what it was all about, and Keith emerged from the bowels of the truck like bad country fried steak. From the time the spots hit the stage until it was all said and done, Keith showed why he is near the top of the country music game. As entertaining as all hell, Keith is still able to give the aura of someone you would approach in a neighborhood bar and swill some beers with. And not that foo foo stuff, either. Good ol’ Budweiser would be the champagne of the evening.

Overall, this was a great show and a great show to end the season at Germain Amphitheater. It had all the hype and glitz of a big rock show, but was able to broaden the gap and bring in many country fans that were waiting all year for this show to get to Columbus. As usual, there was not a whole lot of country coming through Columbus except for the State fair, and Keith was able to tide those fans over until next concert season.

Keith did ask the question, of course, “How do you like me now?” Well, over 10,000 people liked him just fine. Even if he wants to head to good ol’ Mexico.

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