Review: Toby Keith in Chicago

by Alison Bonaguro

Special to the Tribune

Published September 21, 2009


These days, country music has something for everyone -- pop hooks for tweens, bittersweet ballads for soccer moms and for the cowboy in us all, there's Toby Keith.

At his nearly sold-out show Saturday at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Keith pulled out all the stops, playing 20 of his country hits about all things rural.

While Keith's newer songs showcased his artistic sensibilities, the crowd responded best to his older tunes. Songs such as Keith's debut hit, "Should've Been a Cowboy," "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" and "How Do You Like Me Now?" set off an enthusiastic connection, as did his longer version of "I Love This Bar."

And like many wartime country shows, it ended with fireworks, flags and a song of retaliation: The show's opener, Trace Adkins, joined Keith onstage for a moving performance of "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)."

Adkins' 45-minute set was the perfect mate to Keith's brand of rough-and-ready fare. Like Keith, Adkins has a knack for bringing out the pleading baritone on heartfelt tunes such as "You're Gonna Miss This" and then turning around and knocking "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" out of the park.


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