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REVIEW: Go Fest With Toby Keith

Sarah Ayad |
August 15, 2011 | 5:55 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Toby Keith at Go Fest! (photo by Sarah Ayad)
Toby Keith at Go Fest! (photo by Sarah Ayad)
Southern California proved Saturday night that they sure do love their country music. Looking around the humble Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, Calif., the large venue was filled to capacity with nothing but cowboy boots, hats, belt buckles, checkered shirts, American pride, and beer.
Prior to the main concert with Toby Keith, three newcomers performed on the side stage.

1. Jason Charles Miller was the first to perform. Raised in Clifton, VA Jason made the big move to Los Angeles where he currently has a recording studio passionately continuing to grow as a new recording artist. You may recognize his first solo recording, “You Get What You Pay For,” as it was featured on HBO’s hit series "True Blood." Although I was unable to make it in on time to see Jason’s performance, I was able to introduce myself to him and obtain a copy of his CD “Uncountry!” Check it out!

2. Peter Brandon was one of my personal favorites. He is a Southern California native and it showed as he was right at home at Go Fest 2011! He was very involved with the audience and his band, and had a great stage presence! His true country sound was mixed with a hip and memorable feel. I personally got to meet Peter Brandon, and his warmth and love for his fans and what he does really exuded from him. Also, a special shout out to his fiddler, Mathias Chaidez! Great Job!

3. Bradley Gaskin is a singer and songwriter from Duck Springs, AL. He finally took a chance and uploaded some of his videos onto Myspace, after several suggestions from his wife which eventually got him recognized! You may know his big hit “Mr. Bartender” which was a great song to end on!

Everyone filed into the amphitheatre awaiting the headlining act, Toby Keith, and his opening acts Eric Church and JT Hodges. Other than “Hunt You Down,” fans weren’t really familiar with JT Hodges’ set list, but he had a lot of movement on stage and did his best to get the crowd pumped up. Fans began to scream long before Eric Church stepped on stage. After his second song he squirted his fans with water, and later even got the audience to hold up their boots to “These Boots.”

Toby Keith’s opening video was very funny and the ending made for a great entrance with the stage fireworks. Once Toby took the stage, the audience went crazy! His performance was right on point all the way down to his horn section which were in sync with coordinated movements. Toby’s set list included favorites “Made in America,” “Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine on You,” “I Love This Bar,” “Beer for My Horses,” and “God Love Her.”  Toby Keith is a country legend, and he contributed to arguably the biggest Go-fest that Southern California has ever seen. I really enjoyed how he even mixed in some older songs. Toby Keith put on such a strong performance, I am confident that he was able to convert some country naysayers in attendance.

It doesn’t matter if all of the performers were singing about the men and woman that fight for this country, about love, or even about family. One thing that rings true about country music is that it comes from the heart. Overall, Go Country 105, Southern California’s Country Station put on an unforgettable Go Fest 2011. The fans seemed to span all age groups, as youngsters and old folks alike donned their country gear and sang along to all of the acts on the various stages! YEEHAW!

Reach Staff Writer Sarah Ayad here.



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