Toby Keith’s Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert took place on Saturday, July 6 in Norman Oklahoma at Oklahoma University’s Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with more than 60,000 fans in attendance. The lineup included performances by Toby, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn, Mel Tillis, John Anderson and Sammy Hagar with Carrie Underwood via satellite live from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.
Toby, the night’s final act, was introduced by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, reports USA Today. “We may have had setbacks here, but we will have a really strong Oklahoma comeback,” she told the crowd before Toby appeared onstage to begin his set with “Made in America.”
Toby made his way through a number of his fan favorites, ending his set with “American Soldier.” The audience was then treated to 10 minutes of fireworks. The concert kicked off with Toby’s daughter, Krystal Keith, performing the National Anthem. She later reappeared during her father’s set for a performance of her song “Get Your Redneck On.”
It was a day of coming together. Former University of Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys football coach Barry Switzer introduced Mel Tillis. Garth Brooks immediately called up Toby to volunteer his services after tornadoes tore through Toby’s hometown of Moore, Oklahoma.
“Everybody is here for the right reasons,” Toby said before the 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 shared the story of an 8-year-old boy he’d met at Children’s Hospital who was badly injured and lost his mother in the storms. “I was hoping to have him with me today as an assistant, but he wasn’t well enough to come,” Toby said. “All we can do is help as many as we can, but we can never replace things like lost family treasures.”
Garth Brooks, who was wrapping up three nights of sold-out shows in Las Vegas, flew into Norman early Saturday with wife Trisha Yearwood. After his set, which included a few songs by Trisha, the couple reboarded the plane and returned to Nevada for his final show. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, Garth joked about playing the stadium.
“It is fantastically hard for me to play here,” he 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. I’ll fly by the seat of my pants, and I’ve got a big (butt).”
Ronnie Dunn was one of the night’s final performers, playing a mixture of his own songs and a selection of Brooks & Dunn’s greatest hits. He told the crowd how he’d spent the last few days visiting people in the areas hardest hit by the storms.
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. To donate, visit unitedwayokc.org. Verizon customers can donate $10 by texting REBUILD to 52000.