Toby Keith, Columbus, OH, Germain Amphitheater, September 17, 2004
Putting politics, feuds and any other controversy surrounding country superstar Toby Keith aside, Germain Amphitheater found itself again closing out the season with Keith wooing a near sold-out crowd for the second year in a row.

Again, Keith opened the show with a Ford commercial/personal video with his best buddy at his side, a flatulent Bulldog. Unlike last year, there was no transforming Ford F-150 gracing the stage for Keith to perch himself on top. This show was a more stripped down performance from the prior year, with more emphasis given to his very underrated band.

Keith came out donning his signature tight jeans, scruffy beard and raucous attitude. His fans seemed to be in the same vane as Keith, as they worked just as hard in their seats as Keith did on stage to keep the amphitheater at a fever pitch for the hour-and-a-half set. Hats were flying, boots were kicking (and cripes, in the crowded lawn I am sure a few were knocking) and hell was being raised like a newcomers barn on Amish Country.

Unlike last year, 2004 proved to be a big year for country concerts, with most of the big names coming through Ohio and Columbus, whether it was the Fair with Brooks and Dunn, the Schottenstein Center with Kenny Chesney, and Germain with Tim McGraw, Reba and now Toby Keith. But unlike what seemed to happen in other music genres, all the country shows sold well, and most were near capacity or sold out. And Keith was able to close out the season on a high note with many anxious from the 2005 season to arrive.

Walking through the venue, it was near impossible to find someone not dancing, screaming, singing or rubbing against his or her partner. And it was even more rare to find someone not raising a giant $7.50 beer in the air in salute of their favorite country star. Toby Keith again proved why he is one of the top country stars. Whether you agree with his politics or not, his talent for entertaining his fans is one thing that is not controversial or questionable. It is just straight fact that no one left Germain Amphitheater disappointed.