Country music superstar Toby Keith, who grew up in Moore and lives in Norman, is eager to perform a hometown benefit show featuring Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn, Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, Mel Tillis and John Anderson. The show will also feature a special performance by Checotah native Carrie Underwood via satellite from Nashville.
Although he doesn't know her well, Keith also reached out to Underwood and invited her to join the benefit event. Since his fellow Oklahoma native already was booked to play at the Grand Ole Opry that night, their camps arranged for her performance to beam into OU stadium during one of the set changeovers.
“The Grand Ole Opry's been around a million years, and if you're a member of the Grand Ole Opry, you have to work so many shows a year,” Keith said. “It's a big honor and ... she wants to do something from the Grand Ole Opry stage.”
With so many big names on the lineup, Keith expects the Twister Relief Concert will boast no shortage of special moments. His daughter, Krystal, who released her debut EP in April, will perform with his band, and Keith also plans to do a duet with Nelson. He said Hagar and Dunn recently recorded a duet for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's upcoming album and are scheming to play together, too.
Plus, news releases have spread rather than quashed rumors of a special grand finale performance as well as a 10-minute fireworks display.
“It's like herding cats when you've got that many artists. ... Everybody's here to perform. We're not gonna look at the clock; we're just gonna let it go,” Keith said. “If everybody gets there and wants to mix and match and do a couple of things, then I know it'll happen.”
For Keith, who turns 52 on Monday, his Saturday set will mark his first full concert performance in the Oklahoma City area in about a decade. Over the years, he has trimmed his tour schedule to about 50 shows a year, and he favors mostly outdoor festivals and amphitheaters that accommodate 20,000 to 25,000, which doesn't leave many options for him to perform close to home.
But the devoted OU fan is thrilled to play a venue close to both home and heart.
“U2 and the (Rolling) Stones and people like that have played in that stadium. You know, I sold Cokes in that stadium when I was 13. I grew up in the shadow of that stadium. In fact, it's taken a long time because they just don't do very many shows there, but it's actually a dream come true to get to do a concert in there. Because that is the throne of my county,” Keith said.
“It'll be a big event, and I'm completely honored to host it.”