NORMAN — Toby Keith's Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert raised about $2 million for the United Way of Central Oklahoma's May Tornadoes Relief Fund, with donations still being tallied, his publicist said in a news release issued Tuesday.
“At the end of the day, Okies, all the way back to the Dust Bowl, are kind of used to picking themselves up and making sure each other's taken care of. Pretty amazing, resilient bunch,” Keith said backstage at the star-studded July 6 concert at the University of Oklahoma's Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
“Every time something happens (like this), music people get together. Music's a good healing for emotions and stuff, so the emotional relief you can provide through music always works. I knew when it hit Moore that we were gonna do something, I just didn't know … we were gonna get something of this magnitude together.”
Drawing more than 60,000 enthusiastic fans, the show set a record for the largest paid audience for a concert in the history of OU's stadium, exceeding attendance for previous monster musical draws the Rolling Stones and U2, said Elaine Schock, Keith's publicist. The concert is believed to be one of the biggest in state history.
The approximately $2 million raised will go to local recovery efforts in the wake of a series of devastating tornadoes that hit the area in May 2013.
The concert also featured Owasso residents Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn, Bethel Acres native Wade Hayes, Moore native Kellie Coffey, Keith's daughter and fellow Norman resident Krystal Keith, Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, Mel Tillis and John Anderson. Carrie Underwood performed via satellite.