By Ms. Marie Berberea (TRADOC)July 8, 2010
FORT SILL, Okla. -- It rained, it poured ... and still the crowd came for the Independence Day weekend concert Friday. A rain delay held fans from storming Fort Sill's Polo Field, but it wasn't long afterward that more than 12,000 people accented the grass with brightly colored umbrellas and raincoats.
Like any big event, it was kicked off with a little prayer. This one was atypical, to say the least, as Jaron and The Long Road to Love sang a love-song-gone-wrong with lyrics that included, "I pray your brakes go out running down a hill, I pray a flower pot falls from a window sill and knocks you on your head like I'd like to."
The momentum kept going as he was followed by Joey + Rory, a married couple from Tennessee who became a duo in 2008 after competing on CMT's "Can You Duet." "Cheater, Cheater" traveled through the speakers and into the more than eager crowd and even serenaded the stragglers who were making their way to the now muddied field. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Finch, Marine Corps Artillery Detachment, said he eventually just went with the flow.
"The mud was up past my ankles, but I didn't mind at all. I just took my shoes off and stood in it."
In true Oklahoma form, the consent from those attending was, "Let it rain, we needed it anyway."
The only hiccup of the night was the Boost Motocross Team was not able to perform, but they were spotted taking pictures and greeting fans anyway.
The anticipation of headliner Toby Keith was visible as fans decorated a fence trying to sneak a peek of him while he was doing meet-and-greets with those lucky enough to get a picture and say hello. When he crossed the stage their roar was almost enough to make the band step back as he started to play his numerous chart-topping hits.
Keith shared a little bit about his journey to becoming a country superstar and ended it by saying his goal was to give back, specifically to Soldiers. Six thousand free tickets were given away to Soldiers for just that reason.
"I always missed his concerts by being in Iraq, so it's great to see him while I'm home," said Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Allen Broadbent, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery.
Everything on Broadbent was sopping wet except for his campaign hat, which was safely guarded with a waterproof covering.
Standing close by were two Advanced Individual Training Soldiers who traveled from Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, to visit Fort Sill. Spc. Robert Weekley, 344th Military Intelligence Battalion said his visit to Fort Sill was rich with history and being able to attend the concert was icing on the cake.
Soldiers, family members and civilians alike were swaying and singing along as Keith went from his patriotic themed songs like, "American Soldier," to the classic Toby Keith-party themed ones like, "I Love This Bar."
As the night drew to a close the "Star Spangled Banner," Jimi Hendrix- style (which fit right in with the Woodstock feel of the night), persuaded Keith out once again and he finished off the show singing "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" with no better venue to appreciate it, than Fort Sill.