NORMAN , Okla. - Toby Keith did his hometown proud at Saturday's Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert at the University of Oklahoma as a sold-out crowd enjoyed an oppressively overheated show packed with country music superstars and one Red Rocker.
The lineup at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium featured Keith as headliner, plus Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, Ronnie Dunn, Carrie Underwood and Wade Hayes, but the coup of the day was an appearance by Garth Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood.
It was well after dark when Keith was introduced to the record-breaking crowd of 60,000-plus by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
"We may have had setbacks here, but we will have a really strong Oklahoma comeback," she told the raucous audience before Keith strolled onto the stage wearing a guitar emblazoned with sponsor Ford 's logo and began his show with Made in America.
"How you Okies doing tonight?" he called out. He continued with Beers Ago and a reprise of Beer for My Horses, a song he'd done with Willie Nelson earlier in the show.
The relaxed country star then raised his red cup, which has its own holder on his mike stand, and invited all of his assembled closest friends to sing Red Solo Cup with him.
He continued with Who's Your Daddy, I Love This Bar, first hit Shoulda Been a Cowboy,As Good As I Once Was, A Little Less Talk and How Do You Like Me Now?He got serious for his ballad and final song of the set, American Soldier, lifting his red cup and saluting the crowd as he left the stage.
Rather than an encore, he treated the audience to 10 minutes of fireworks.
The show kicked off just before 3 p.m. with Keith's daughter, Krystal Keith, singing the national anthem. She reappeared during her dad's set to do what she coyly said may or may not be her new single, Get Your Redneck On.
Former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer introduced Mel Tillis, who slickly started his set with a swinging Right or Wrong, then hitsCoca-Cola Cowboy and I Got the Hoss.
Brooks has been performing regularly in Las Vegas, but after the tornadoes tore through central Oklahoma in May, he immediately called Keith to volunteer his services .
"Everybody is here for the right reasons, " Keith said in a brief press conference during the eight-hour show. "You really have to see the devastation with your own eyes to appreciate how bad it is. It's probably what a war zone looks like."
He talked about an 8-year-old boy he'd met at Children's Hospital who was badly injured and lost his mother in the May 20 storm.
"I was hoping to have him with me today as an assistant, but he wasn't well enough to come," Keith said. "All we can do is help as many as we can, but we can never replace things like lost family treasures."
Brooks is wrapping up three nights of sold-out shows in Vegas and flew into Norman early Saturday with Yearwood to play for the grateful audience. After his set, they reboarded the jet and headed back to Vegas for his final show.
The country superstar, who graduated from Oklahoma State University, OU's state rival, joked about playing this show. "It is fantastically hard for me to play here," Brooks said. "I've never played in Norman.
"In Las Vegas, I play parts of 82 songs a show, but now I'm going to go have fun and help the healing process starting today," he said. "I'll fly by the seat of my pants, and I've got a big a--."
He had the crowd on its feet, singing every word to Rodeo, Two of a Kind and Papa Loved Mama before doing a duet with his wife, In Another's Eyes. He turned the stage over to her for She's in Love With the Boy and How Do I Live Without You?
Brooks stood just offstage, smiling as she sang and sometimes sang with her. She kissed her husband as he took the stage again to sing Calling Baton Rouge, The Thunder Rolls, his mega-hit Friends in Low Places and finally the ballad The Dance.
John Anderson took the stage for a brief set, including Swinging, Straight Tequila Night andSeminole Wind.
Country legend Willie Nelson cruised through his hits, then stopped long enough to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his hit duet with Keith, Beer for My Horses. The duo continued with Mama Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys, and Keith hung around singing backup on tunes like I'll Fly Away, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Dieand closing with I Saw the Light.
Red Rocker Sammy Hagar cruised though his set with I Can't Drive 55, Why Can't This Be Love, Right Now and Mas Tequila. The closest he got to country was his performance of new song Bad on Ford and Chevrolets from his upcoming album.
The song, written by Ronnie Dunn, has a great tagline: "I'm bad on Fords and Chevrolets but I'll be good to you." Hagar has two songs by Dunn on his new album, expected out at the end of September.
Dunn followed Hagar as the sun set and the weather finally cooled, after afternoon temps in the 90s that sent hundreds of people to seek treatment for heat. His set included songs from his early solo albums, a few tunes from his days as half of Brooks & Dunn and songs from his new album Country This.
Yelling, "Hey, you Okies!," Dunn sang Play Something Country, Ain't Nothing 'Bout Youand Red Dirt Road. He was jointed by a mariachi band from New Mexico for How Far to Waco? He continued with his new single, Kiss You There, Cowgirls Don't Cry,Boot Scootin' Boogie and My Maria.
Dunn told the crowd he had spent the last few days talking to people in the areas ravaged by the tornadoes and dedicated the song Peace, Love and Country Music to them.
Carrie Underwood opened her brief set via satellite from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville with Good Girl, then greeted everyone watching in Oklahoma. She continued with Jesus Take the Wheel and ended with her hit Before He Cheats.
Bethel Acres native Wade Hayes sang Old Enough to Know Better just before Keith took the stage. Hayes' hometown was badly damaged by the tornadoes.
The concert had the largest number of paid attendees in the stadium's history, and all proceeds benefited the United Way of Central Oklahoma's May Tornadoes Relief Fund. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation committed $1 million to the fund.