By Sgt 1st Class Raymond Drumsta, Army National GuardApril 30, 2012
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (April 30, 2012) -- Country music superstar and veteran USO entertainer Toby Keith lit up the desert night here April 26, turning the base into a party on his 10th year of entertaining troops overseas.
Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and others packed the area in front of the USO stage here, cheering, laughing and often singing along as Keith and his band performed songs on his "Live In Overdrive" USO tour.
It was his 189th USO show, according to USO officials. Keith has done nine USO tours, beginning in 2002, performing for service members in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Bahrain, Belgium, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Cuba, and Kyrgyzstan, according to website.
Keith showed he was an old hand at entertaining as he tore into his opening number, "American Ride." Keith held his mike over the audience, who caught the hint and sang along.
"You can't control it, you can't contain it, it is a phenomena!" Keith shouted to the cheering crowd as he began "Red Solo Cup." Some people in the crowd had red Solo cups and held them above their heads during the song, as well as "Let's Get Drunk and Be Somebody."
Between songs, which included his rendition of Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold," Keith drew laughs from the crowd as he joked about all the places he'd entertained service members, including Kuwait.
"It all looks like the bad side of Phoenix to me," Keith said, grinning.
Later Keith joked that since service members had the perimeter secured, he was free to do as he liked.
"We might as well be in Wyoming," he said.
The crowd included Soldiers of the 112th Military Police Battalion, Mississippi Army National Guard, who have since deployed back to the United States. During their time in Kuwait, battalion Soldiers secured Khabari Crossing, the critical gateway for U.S. forces going into and out of Iraq, and were on duty there when the last United States forces passed through on their way out of Iraq.
"Are you guys working your way home?" Keith asked the troops at one point. "Or are you working your way out of Iraq? That's a good place to work your way out of."
Keith then sang what he called "the song that started it all" - "I Love This Bar."
"We're gonna get redneck in Kuwait right now!" Keith shouted to the howling crowd before starting the song.
Keith closed the show with "American Soldier," and autographed some red Solo cups for service members before leaving for his next concert date in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Soldiers of the South Carolina Army National Guard's 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, which runs Camp Buehring, helped set up equipment, load and unload trucks and provide security for the show.
Keith is scheduled to perform for troops in five countries over 12 days, according to his website.