Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Life in Overdrive

Toby Keith came to Virginia Beach, and I was one of the lucky hillbillies in the front row, or "pit", as it is affectionately known. Allow me to set the stage for those unfamiliar with the goings-on at a genuine Toby Keith concert. The venue was outside, and it just happened to be the hottest evening of the summer. Not to worry, I was surrounded by many other people suffering from the same summer heat, so we were able to keep each other warm.

To start things off, I'm so thankful we got to our standing positions in the pit early enough to catch the Ford commercial that started the show. It was like being at a drive in movie, you know, the nostalgia of it all. A giant white sheet was strategically hung in front of the stage so no one would miss it. A projector mounted 100 feet away gave all 20,000 of us a larger than life perspective of what it's like to be Toby Keith driving a Ford F-150. It was glorious. There he was before us, Toby Keith, in a commercial driving a truck on a gianormous sheet hanging down before our very eyes. I know what your thinking, Ford commercials are available at home in our living rooms on the TV, but this... this was special. Apparently, if you drive a brand new Ford F-150, several really cool things happen to you. You meet beautiful, sweaty, half-naked women sucking on popsicles. Dirty, empty bars suddenly spring to life when you plug in the juke box. Somehow desert roads become oases, and fame and fortune follow you everywhere. All, from a truck. How cool is that? I'm going to go get me one of those Ford's just as soon as I get a feather in my hat and call it macaroni.

But the concert wasn't over yet...

The sheet fell from the heights over our heads, and we stood there like excited villagers sacrificing a virgin before a giant volcano ignorant of the sweaty steam emanating from each of our bodies. Then the live music began with a loud pulse emanating from each instrument. Bodies jumped, sweat flung into my eyes, the lights turned on and the super amazing pyro-technics made me realize I wasn't hot enough.

Excitement overtook the sensation of having a fever, and I watched and listened while a tired sunburnt old man used the gift of song to tell 20,000 people how amazing they were. As I observed I realized that this was the most patriotic group of people ever. There was a shout out to policemen and firemen, a respect for veterans and politicians, and a long drawn-out video montage of Willy Nelson. I kid you not, an amputee literally threw his fake leg onto the stage for Toby Keith to sign it. And it wasn't any kind of normal fake leg either, it was decorated to the nines with paintings of bald eagles that were draped in American flags. It was one of the most questionably inappropriate things I've ever seen.

But that was nothing compared to the crowning achievement of the entire show. The climax of a good show is reserved for special subject matter. It's not enough to sing about cowboys and Willy Nelson and Ford trucks. They aren't special enough. Nope, you've got to give the climax to something special. And in this case that "special thing" is the Red Solo Cup that holds your beer. Toby Keith, held up a red solo cup full of some liquid and sang one of the most beautiful ballads ever written. While doing this four stage hands began pumping up giant red solo cup balloons about the size of Ford F-150s. Here are some of the lyrics to this beloved song:

Red solo cup, I fill you up
Let's have a party, let's have a party
I love you red solo cup, I lift you up,
Proceed to party, proceed to party
Now I've seen you in blue and I've seen you in yellow
But only you red will do for this fellow
Cause you are the Abbott into my Costello
And you are the Fruit to my Loom

For all the lyrics to this beautiful song click here

Now if that isn't just the sweetest thing ever then I don't know what is. It's very catchy and memorable.

What followed were some sweet guitar licks, a drum solo and few shots of my ugly mug on the big screen, but as you would probably guess it was all down hill after the Red Solo Cup.

I can tell you with certainty that Toby Keith is a great entertainer; he knows what his fans want and he gives it to them. So what does he give them? A sense of who they are, passionate, patriotic, gun-toting, beer-drinking, nature loving, NASCAR supporting, cowboy boot wearing, Caucasians. I was entertained, and part of me wished I had a pair of cowboy boots. This was my very first country music concert and I would do it all over again, except for the part about leaving early to miss the inevitable parking lot traffic jam. How do you like me now?


  1. LOL I was in an elementary classroom when a 6 yr old burst into "Red Solo Cup". We all just broke up laughing! :-)

  2. Li, that is hilarious. sounds like a new youtube phenomenon: 6-year-olds singing red solo cup.