Toby Keith plays for 4,000 at Wiesbaden
May 30, 2007
By Carole Mann
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Toby Keith showed his support for U.S servicemembers by performing a free concert for almost 4,000 country-music fans at Wiesbaden Army Airfield here.
The May 25 show was sponsored by the USO, Installation Management Command-Europe and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, and was the only performance in Europe as part of Keith's overseas tour of military sites.
Hundreds of fans began lining up at the gate by 10:30 a.m. for the 3 p.m. performance, which lasted just over an hour.
Kris Fiala was the first in line with her son, Andrew, and best friend Tracey Ryan. "I saw Toby Keith last year in Schweinfurt, but the weather was much better this year," Fiala said.
Fiala and Ryan were not the only earlybirds for the concert, as many Soldiers, civilians and Family members from across Germany set up chairs and blankets while waiting for the gates to open at 1 p.m.
"I'm really excited to hear him sing and support our troops," said Casey McCoy, 9, as he waited for the show to begin.
One lucky fan, Sgt. Richard Wexler, a paralegal from Baumholder, Germany, won backstage passes and a meet-and-greet with Keith prior to the concert.
Once the concert began, the crowd stood on their feet and chairs as they watched Keith perform songs such as "American Soldier."
The Wiesbaden performance concluded Keith's fifth tour in five years with the USO. He has also performed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kuwait, Macedonia, Kosovo, Africa, Cuba, Belgium, Italy and Germany. Keith told USO officials that "as long as troops are here," he will keep returning.
"He's one of those guys that believe that the troops should be supported no matter what the politics are," said Keith Weaver, USO chief operating officer, who traveled with Keith during his 11-day tour.
"I'm here because Toby Keith supports the troops. Even if you don't like country music, you appreciate Toby for his support," said Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Rumfelt, of Wiesbaden. (Carole Mann is a member of the USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs Office)