The Harley-Davidson 10th Anniversary Celebration (http://110.harley-davidson.com/en_US/events/milwaukee2013) features three Marcus Amphitheater headliners, and Thursday night, Aug. 29, opening headliner country singer-songwriter Toby Keith got things started. Fellow country singer Kip Moore opened for Keith at 7:30 p.m. and played for about an hour. Toby Keith started at 9 p.m. and performed for two hours.
It's been years since Toby Keith has performed in Milwaukee and he made his return with an all-out multimedia show. Several screens projected photo and video slideshows relating to the theme of whichever song was playing. Many of these slideshows featured personal photos of Keith himself, specifically during "How Do You Like Me Now" and "American Soldier", where numerous pictures showed him throughout his career and in the military.
There was plenty of focus on the military and Keith's outspoken views of patriotism, as he closed with "American Soldier" and "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue". He repeatedly thanked all those serving in the military whether they be in the army, navy, marines, or air force, and closed the evening with his middle finger in the air saying,
Never apologize for being patriotic.
Among these famous patriotic songs, Keith played his top hits while drinking from a red solo cup, making the build-up to his song, "Red Solo Cup", all the more exciting. The chart-topping hit was definitely a highlight of the evening as two massive inflatable red solo cups shot up from the sides of the stage and the entire crowd sang along.
But Keith also played songs from his Shock'n Y'all "Bus Songs", or funny songs that he was sure would never make it to radio. Because of this, "Weed with Willie" and "Get Out of my Car" are rare tour treats for fans. Nonetheless, the crowd had an enthusiastic response to the songs whether they'd heard the song before or were getting a laugh from the first listen.
Toby Keith put on a big show fully-equipped with fireworks, fire spouts, a large group of musicians, a multimedia show and more, but in a way this was necessary to make up for Keith's lack of energy during the evening. He embodies the Southern drawl in how he walks, talks, and performs, but during a live performance with some of his more upbeat hits, a little more enthusiasm is needed. Even during songs like "Who's Your Daddy" and "I Wanna Talk About Me", Keith either stayed in place or slowly walked back and forth from one end of the stage to the other, spitting along the way. Fortunately for the crowd, fire and lights picked up the energy of the concert when needed. Toby Keith did manage to pick things up, however, when he handed his mic off to fans during "Should've Been a Cowboy" and at the end of his main set during "A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action" when went to prove how rock 'n' roll he could be by covering Ted Nugent's "Strangehold" mid-song. This was a very impressive shift that showed his versatility as well as the energy missing throughout the early part of the evening.
For more information on Toby Keith, visit http://tobykeith.com. For more information on the Harley-Davidson 110th Anniversary Celebration, visit http://110.harley-davidson.com/en_US/events/milwaukee2013.
Haven't Had a Drink All Day
Made in America
I Wanna Talk About Me
Hope on the Rocks
God Love Her
Beer for my Horses
Weed with Willie
Get Out of my Car
Red Solo Cup
Who's Your Daddy
As Good as I Once Was
I Love This Bar
Should've Been a Cowboy
How Do You Like Me Now
A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action/Strangehold
Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue