Toby Keith Proceeds to Party in Hartford, CT

Toby Keith
Live in Overdrive Tour
w/ Brantley Gilbert & Thomas Rhett
September 20, 2012
Comcast Theater – Hartford, CT

It may have been a cool Fall night in Hartford, Connecticut, but things were sure on fire inside the Comcast Theater.  As a matter of fact, they were exploding at times.  Country music’s Big Dog Daddy, Toby Keith, brought his high octane Live in Overdrive Tour to New England with support from Brantley Gilbert and newcomer Thomas Rhett.  As usual, Connecticut made this show yet another sell out for Toby and they were not disappointed one bit.

Up first was Thomas Rhett, who recently released an EP to Itunes.  His sound is very new age country and his live persona was very likeable.  He sang typical country tunes about drinking, love, and being from a small town.  However, the standout song in his set was his newest single “Beer With Jesus”.  It’s a very lyrics driven song about what he would say if he could spend time, and have a beer, with Jesus.  I expect it will do very well at country radio and he sang the song with passion and soul.

At one point, Rhett jumped into the crowd and ran all the way to the back section with a megaphone as he sang and rapped the lyrics “Front Porch Junkies”.  It seemed to win over the crowd and keep them enticed to his set.  Overall, I was very impressed with his set and look forward to seeing more from him. 

Up next was Brantley Gilbert.  He is an artist who has turned from songwriter to country music’s rising star in one short year.  He penned such tunes as Jason Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” and “My Kinda Party” before scoring his own deal.  Both songs went on to be megahits for Aldean, but Brantley has started collecting number 1 songs of his own (Country Must Be Country Wide, You Don’t Know Her Like I Do).  However, it is his live performances that take him to the next level. 

Most of Brantley’s songs are loud and have a bad boy swagger.  His performance matched that description and more.  He stomped around the stage throwing up rock signs and flexing his muscles.  He had the crowd pumping their fists right along with him.  His songs like “Take It Outside” and “Kick It In the Sticks” had the energy level inside the venue up to a 10. 

However, it was on “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” that Brantley seemed to be most authentic.  It’s a song about a confident man trying to explain his love for a woman to someone who just can’t seem to understand.  Brantley’s live delivery made the song much more passionate and showcased the depth of his vocal talent.  The rest of his set was full of energy and he certainly had the crowd in the palm of his hand.  He sets out next week on his first headlining tour and I look forward to catching him again soon. 

The main event was yet to come and was preceded by the annual humorous Toby Keith/Ford F-150 video clip.  After the video, the shade over the stage fell and the first of many pyrotechnic exploded and out came Toby to the bombastic “American Ride”.  And in true Toby Keith form, the concert began with two American-themed songs (American Ride & Made In America) and ended with two American songs (American Soldier and Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue).

Toby’s setlists don’t change much from show to show as he likes to play his hits for the fans while adding in his newest singles.  While America was a main theme of his set, so was alcohol.  His last three singles are all centered around everyone’s favorite liquids and the crowd sang along to “Beers Ago”, “I Like Girls Who Drink Beer”, and the infectious “Red Solo Cup”.  Before singing the latter of the drinking anthems he proclaimed it is the song that “you cannot stop, you can only hope to contain it”. 

While those songs are all good and fun, it is some of his other material that makes me such a Toby fan.  “God Love Her”, “How Do You Like Me Now”, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and “Beer for My Horses” are classic country songs and among the genre’s best.  Toby let his band members have their shines as well, especially guitarist Rich Eckhardt who really showcased his immense talent at the front of the catwalk multiple times.

But in the end, Toby Keith concerts are defined by his encore, which I have often claimed is the best encore in music, period.  Some nights he brings out multiple soldiers, family members of military members, etc.  On this night, Toby brought out a single soldier to stand next to him while he sang his patriotic anthems.  The soldier had an American flag on his back and was visibly moved while Toby sang the meaningful lyrics.  Both “American Soldier” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” rang home a little more since we, as a Nation, just remember 9/11.  The soldier Toby brought up at the end was Marine Corps Sgt. Greg Caron. He lost his legs in Afghanistan last November when he stepped on a roadside bomb.

All in all, it was the typical Toby Keith show:  Opening acts who are major talents and got the crowd amped and ready, and a headlining show full of hits, action, explosions, and big production.  You know what you are going to get at Toby show and that is okay, because it is one of the best concerts, year in and year out, that music has to offer. 


Toby Keith

  1. American Ride
  2. Made in America
  3. Get Drunk & Be Somebody
  4. God Love Her
  5. I Like Girls That Drink Beer
  6. Beers Ago
  7. I Wanna Talk About Me
  8. Whiskey Girl
  9. Weed with Willie
  10. Who’s Your Daddy
  11. Get out of my Car
  12. Red Solo Cup
  13. As Good as I Once Was
  14. I Love This Bar
  15. Should’ve Been a Cowboy
  16. Beer For My Horses
  17. How Do You Like Me Now
  18. A Little Less Talk
  19. American Solider (ENCORE)
  20. Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (ENCORE)
Brantley Gilbert
  1. My Kinda Party
  2. Hell On Wheels
  3. Dirt Road Anthem
  4. You Don’t Know Her Like I Do
  5. My Kinda Crazy
  6. Courtney Must be Country Wide
  7. Take it Outside
  8. Kick it in the Sticks
Thomas Rhett
  1. All American White Boys
  2. Make me Wanna
  3. Beer With Jesus
  4. Front Porch Junkies
  5. Something To Do With My Hands


Beer With Jesus – Thomas Rhett
Country Must Be Country Wide – Brantley Gilbert
Beers Ago – Toby Keith
Red Solo Cup  – Toby Keith
Should’ve Been a Cowboy – Toby Keith