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Keith gives solid, down-home performance

Utah seemed ready to party Saturday night and country star Toby Keith was a willing host, dishing up a two-hour set of solid hits during a performance at the USANA Amphitheatre.

The mood of the evening was mostly playful, as Keith sang a list of songs about beer, women and bars. Some moments, however, were more sentimental and patriotic.

His last song, which was a rendition of "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue" with long-time friend Trace Adkins, had the crowd on its feet. Some in the audience were actually crying, while a group began chanting, "U.S.A."

"This is an unbelievable crowd," Keith said at the close of the song.

His openers did their job of revving up the crowd. Upcoming group Trailer Choir did a quick, but spirited 20-minute set with songs such as "Rockin' the Beer Gut," and "Off the Hillbilly Hook." Then, Adkins came on stage. Although a seasoned performer himself, he has been touring with Keith this summer as an opener. He strode onto the stage and was an immediate presence with his long hair, deep voice and tight jeans.

Adkins ran through a series of high-energy hits such as "I Got My Game On," "That Don't Make Me a Bad Guy," and "Songs About Me." A high point, however, was when he closed with the irreverent dance tune, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk."

"I will see you again," Adkins said as he left the stage.

Keith then came on stage with a bang, literally, as cannons shot out advertisements for Ford trucks and flames shot into the air from the stage. He opened with "American Ride," and "Big Dog Daddy."

Then, after a couple more of his popular hits, Keith brought out fellow artist Eddy Raven. It was a refreshing and candid moment of the show, where Raven and Keith sang a trio of songs together, including, "I Got Mexico" and "Who Do You Know in California."

Their voices, although sometimes out of sync, blended well. The duo laughed through the moments when things didn't quite mesh.

All in all, it was a solid show, with a lot of light-hearted moments, but still some sentiment. Utah seemed to relish the party.

e-mail: nwarburton@desnews.com