Skip to comments.Keith concert more than crowd bargained for (Nugent Update !!!)
Posted on 03/11/2005 8:00:21 PM PST by 11th_VA
UNCASVILLE, Conn. - Toby Keith's crafted quite a career in country music and courting controversy.
So it's no surprise to find the country kingpin stirring it up again. But this time it's got nothing to do with what he's singing or what he's saying or even his celebrated old feud with The Dixie Chicks. Instead, it all revolves around his choice for his opening act on his "Big Throwdown Tour," which played to a full house at the Mohegan Sun Arena Friday.
Keith's enlisted "Motor City Madman" and screeching hard rocker Ted Nugent to open the shows on this leg of the tour, and Nugent lived up to every bit of his wildman reputation and then some.
As his fans know, Keith's a self-proclaimed honky tonkin' redneck cowboy, a six-foot-four inch former semipro football player from Oklahoma who mixes songs about patriotism and soldiers and flag waving with songs about women and drinking and smoking pot. He leans right, but he's also been quick to point out he's a registered Democrat who happens to support President Bush and his policies. Keith sells millions of albums and he's also a lot of fun to watch onstage - and Friday proved to be no exception.
On the other hand, Nugent is still playing with a whole lot less than a full deck. At 56, this passionate hunter and resident of Crawford, Texas, is more outrageous than during his "Cat Scratch Fever" heyday nearly 30 years ago. Not only was his music about 20 times louder than Keith's Friday - and that's hardly an exaggeration - he also made Keith look like a candidate for a lunch with the Clintons in comparison to Nugent's own hot-wired, politically charged manifesto. Case in point: Nugent closed his 50-minute opening slot with "Kiss My Ass," a guitar-wailing sledgehammer of a song that lyrically links Saddam Hussein with Ted Kennedy, John F. Kerry, Michael Moore, The Dixie Chicks, Jessie Jackson and a host of others not from Nugent's same school of political thought.
The crowd hooted as a bigger-than-life cardboard effigy of Saddam showed up above the stage toward the end of the song and screeched even louder when the Motor City Madman used one of his old stage tricks by shooting an arrow right into the effigy's chest. "I say we kill 'ze'em all!" howled the Nuge, clutching a gun and a hunting bow, reiterating his "This is my America" theme that he voiced repeatedly during the set.
God Bless America indeed. It was a fitting, completely over-the-top ending to a set that found Nugent taking the stage, waving the American flag and screaming the Pledge of Allegiance.
The audience automatically rose in unison and it was such a bizarre blend between the action on stage and the reaction from the crowd that at times it seemed as if one was watching an old black and white German propaganda film from the early 1940s. Fronting a power trio, "Uncle Ted" ripped through seven songs in all, including "Cat Scratch Fever," "Stranglehold," "Fred Bear," (which was accompanied by a big-screen film of hunters taking down deer) and "Great White Buffalo." He preceded that last song by saying "God bless the Indians, I salute anyone who gets away with not paying taxes," a sentiment that will no doubt get an interesting reaction from the folks at the Mohegan Sun who were paying his salary this night.
Mercifully, Keith's 90 minutes on stage were nowhere near as vitriolic and were instead filled with party anthems and booming country rockers. Backed by a six-piece band, three-piece horn section and a female singer, the Oklahoman spun through songs such as the show-opening "Stays in Mexico," "Who's Your Daddy?," "Whiskey Girl," his new single "Honky Tonk U," and "Should've Been a Cowboy," the latter of which featured a guitar intro lifted from the theme to "Blazing Saddles."
"I Love This Bar," was a major fan fave as were some of his "Bus Songs," which featured Keith playing acoustic guitar with his songwriting partner Scotty Emerick, triggering plenty of laughs, especially on "The Taliban Song" and "Weed With Willie," Keith's saga about getting high with Willie Nelson after smoking "a big fat one that put everybody in a coma."
After closing with "Beer For My Horses," Keith returned to encore with the patriotic "American Soldier" and then brought Nugent back to the stage for a Hendrix-styled take of "The Star Spangled Banner," before the two each played matching red, white and blue guitars for the show-closing "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," complete with pyrotechnics and red, white and blue confetti filling the arena.
Kevin O'Hare can be reached at email@example.com
Okay...so I'm old.
53 tomorrow (gag).
So Nugent was being Nugent and this is somehow news?
I read that again - and I'm not sure I understand what Kevin is complaining about. Maybe someone can explain it.
Add in Mojo Nixon, Reverend Horton Heat and Southern Culture On The Skids and it would have been a perfect night.
Sounds like a fantasic show!
Wonder if they are coming to Raleigh?
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Ah, Ted Nugent:
Probably the next non-Dimocrat (and non-female) governor of Michigan!
Wang Dang Sweet Poontang!!
Whose your daddy
Whose your man
Whose your friend
None of that matters when you're playing for the troops, of course, which is where these two hit it off. For Ted to be doing what he's doing for the troops more than makes up for a few minutes of off-kilter antics while waiting for the superstar to take the stage.
Toby should switch parties...the Dems won't share his values again in his lifetime...
and i was humming 98.6
best line of the night :-)
i busted a gut.
i'll be 56 soon and the nuge still trips my trigger. i loved his amboy dukes era. he sure gets a lot of octive action out of his short fret byrdland.
and now i'm stuck humming 98.6 the rest of my shift. darn.
Happy Bday, Dogonit.
Toby's appearing up here in August and the show is already sold out! But I don't think Ted's going to make it this far up north.
Happy Birthday. :)
No offense intended to Toby Keith (a great singer and patriot on his own right), but Nuge is a frickin' guitar god. He is the wildman, the madman, the ear-splitting, poon-chasing gonzo icon of millions of right-wingers (myself included, of course) who don't identify with the more stodgy personas of the Republican party (Fallwell types, etc.). Like Sam Kinison and South Park, Ted gets the message across with badass style and plenty of cool to spare.
God, Guns, meat, and Metal-- there's no way that Keith could keep up with Terrible Ted...and when the Nuge strikes up the opening guitar feedback of "Stranglehold", you better watch out!
Hey, I still have my Keith album that has "98.6" and "Ain't Gonna Lie." Good morning sun I say it's good to see you shining......
yes i still have mine also.
being a vinyl collector for years and at 4500 lps
i have 3 back up turntables.
when 98.6 came out it was a glorious 60's summer.
if my remaining brain cell serves me correctly.