By Maj. Will GriffinMay 11, 2010
Approximately 1,500 Soldiers and Family members packed Collier Field House on the night of April 29 in anticipation of Toby Keith's first stop on his 2010 USO tour. The clamor grew as the 7 p.m. start time came and went. Each time sound technicians and roadies took the stage to make final adjustments, the crowd chanted, "Toby, Toby, Toby."
By 7:15 p.m., the crowd's anxiety was palpable when finally, the lights grew bright and a lone figure took the stage.
"You are the lucky fifteen hundred," yelled Col. Dave Hall, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan, referring to the fact that attendance was limited due to a change of venue for the performance.
The crowd, responding with a roar of 15,000 people, demonstrated their appreciation and were ready for the show to begin. After a few administrative notes from Hall, Toby Keith and his band took the stage.
Without a word, the band launched into "American Ride," the title track from Keith's latest CD. It was a sea of swaying heads and moving lips as Soldiers and Family members sang along with their country idol, who began his eighth year of USO tours with stops in Daegu and Yongsan.
Keith, long recognized as a friend and staunch supporter of Servicemembers world-wide, 'doesn't apologize for being a patriot' and garners the same level of commitment from his fans.
"If you are not a Toby Keith fan, you are not a true American," joked Michael Coss, 2nd Infantry Division Family member.
For more photos from the concert and a pre-show interview with Toby Keith, visit the 2nd ID web page at www.2id.korea.army.mil.