The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — When Garth Brooks gave an official “cowboy” salute at the end of his amazing performance to the 60,000-plus in attendance at Toby Keith’s Twister Relief Concert under a hot July sun Saturday afternoon at the University of Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium, it was fitting to all associated with the great event.
From Brooks to Keith, who rocked the stadium late into the night where he once sold soft drinks as a child during OU football games, and Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Sammy Hagar, Ronnie Dunn, Krystal Keith, Kellie Coffey, Mel Tillis, John Anderson and Bethel Acres native Wade Hayes, as well as Carrie Underwood via satellite from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, the performers are to be congratulated on a job well done.
Those in attendance will be talking about the eight-hour marathon show for years to come. Any time you can hear Brooks sing “Friends in Low Places,” Nelson’s “Good Hearted Woman” and Keith’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” plus many more award-winning songs during the same venue, country music fans know they attended a show for the ages — a show that had a true Okie accent.
Additionally, we tip our hat to so many others who made Saturday’s show a success: the volunteers who bared the 100-degree temperatures to help raise funds for those who were impacted by the May tornadoes; the behind-the-scenes workers who made sure the concert happened within a month of being announced — the promoters, sound and lighting technicians, concession workers, emergency personnel and security; the sponsors who helped underwrite the event — Ford Trucks, Verizon Wireless, Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives and Walmart; the University of Oklahoma who hosted the show; and the fans who bought tickets and concessions, we, like Brooks, salute all of you. If we left anyone off the list, please accept our apology and know we also appreciate your efforts.
As many of the celebrities and special guests — including Bob Stoops, Barry Switzer, Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis, OU Athletic Director Joe Castiglione and Gov. Mary Fallin — noted during the event, the show marked a time for the healing process to begin for the tornado victims.
More than six weeks after the storms and thousands of recovery hours later, we continue to see hope, strength and resiliency in the eyes of those who are rebounding from Mother Nature’s wrath.
The sold-out charity event, benefiting the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund, set a record for the largest paid audience for a concert in the history of OU’s stadium, exceeding attendance for the Rolling Stones and U2, according to Keith’s publicist Elaine Schock.
Finally, we would like to give special thanks to Keith. A Clinton native who grew up in Moore and now lives in Norman, Keith, who had several family members impacted by the May 20 tornado that ripped through Moore, went the extra mile to help his neighbors in a time of need. Keith’s generosity and efforts in making Saturday’s show happen will not soon be forgotten.