For over twenty-five years now, Toby Keith has personified the big hairy calf fries of country music, refusing to take a dive and be anything less than the disgruntled drunken redneck from Moore, Oklahoma, that he truly is just as much off-stage as he is on. From supporting Jimmy Buffett and George Bush to supporting the troops and the weight of a restaurant franchise on his shoulders, say what you want about Keith, but at least in a music biz full of faux-farmers and grab-assers alike, he’s pretty much who he says he is and has the overpriced menu items to prove it.
And, as one of the few Big Dawg Daddies to play President Trump’s inauguration, he’s probably earned himself a lifetime pass to that special C.I.A. weed that only the upper echelon of elites ever get to puff, puff, pass, something that I’m sure that just had to be an integral part in his decision-making process--or lack thereof--when asked to play a special “men’s only” free concert in the Saudi capital of Riyadh this weekend in an event that celebrates Trump’s first overseas visit, according to an AP report.
Saudi entertainment website Lammt, which is advertising the event, says Saturday’s free concert is open to men only. It will also feature an Arabian lute player… Saudi Arabia adheres to an ultraconservative interpretation of Islamic law. Alcohol is banned and unrelated men and women are segregated in public.
First of all, I bet that lute oud player shreds like Yngwie سخيف Malmsteen!
While I’m sure many in our modern-day Western culture might find the idea of a “men’s only” concert nightmarish, like a Crawdaddy op-ed from guest columnist Margaret Atwood, ask any dude at a Rush concert who’s trying to violently air-drum during a 20-minute version of “Red Barchetta” just as his girlfriend picks that moment to have a state of the union relationship talk because he won’t put his thumbs through her belt loops and hold her close how he feels about sexually segregated concerts. I'm sure their answer would not only surprise you but inspire a least ten thinkpeices on Jezebel, none of them in your favor.
But even more than that, with the ban on alcohol, I have to wonder aloud if Keith will be allowed to even sing about alcohol, lest he tempts all them hot ‘n’ sweaty mens into taking a sip of the Great Satan's nectar. He doesn't seem like the type to play along with that Ed Sullivan bullcorn. Will he "spend some time together" or full-on "light my fire" before that riled Riyadh dudes ready to ultraconservatively rock? Will “Whiskey Girl” probably have to become “Goat’s Milk Girl” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” turn into “It’s a Call to Prayer Somewhere”? Because, let's be honest, the only thing that that “Red Solo Cup” is gonna be filled with is the blood of an infidel if Keith pulls one of his famously belligerent fall-off-the-stage finales, God forbid.
Remember, Tobes: this ain’t the Pensacola Speedway 500 Summer Jammmz Family Concert Series...you're a diplomat now, show some professional courtesy, will ya? Red, white, blue or otherwise.
One year ago, did you ever think that you'd see a story with a headline like that? Me neither. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.