Toby Keith turned down the chance to play a home state benefit gig to aid Oklahoma storm relief organisations a week after tornadoes ripped through suburbs of Oklahoma City - because he needed more time to reflect on the damage. Fellow Oklahoman Blake Shelton reached out to Keith and invited him to headline May's (13) Healing in the Heartland concert, which raised over $6 million (£3.9 million) for local charities, but the Beer For My Horses singer wasn't ready to perform alongside stars like Usher, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Shelton and his wife Miranda Lambert.
And, as he prepares for Saturday's (06Jul13) benefit gig which he has organised, Keith tells Country Weekly, "The first concert they did, that Blake and those guys did, was wonderful because it was a TV show and it pumped a lot of money in quick and fast.
"I just couldn't do it five or six days after (the storms) because it was just too soon for me to be downtown playing music. I had, you know, stuff to deal with here."
Keith's mega fundraiser in Norman, Oklahoma will feature performances by Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Ronnie Dunn, Trisha Yearwood and rocker Sammy Hagar, while another state native, Carrie Underwood, will appear via satellite from the Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tickets for Toby Keith's upcoming Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert sold out in less than three hours on Friday (21Jun13). The 6 July (13) gig at the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman will feature performances by Keith, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Dunn and Sammy Hagar.
After learning all 80,000 tickets had been sold, Keith went online and posted: "As of this time, there are no #TKOKrelief tickets avail (available). Once we finalize production, it is possible that there will be addt'l (additional) tix (tickets) released!"
Blake Shelton's televised Healing in the Heartland concert in Oklahoma City in May (13) helped raise more than $6 million (£3.9 million) for the recovery effort in Moore, Oklahoma, which was left ravaged by a deadly twister.
Kings of Leon and The Flaming Lips will co-headline another show benefiting victims of the storms on 28 July (13).
Garth Brooks, Toby Keith and Ronnie Dunn are joining forces for a second Oklahoma tornado relief benefit. Two days after Blake Shelton's televised Healing in the Heartland concert in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night (29May13) raised $6 million (£3.9 million), state natives Brooks and Keith have confirmed they'll be part of pal Dunn's upcoming gig in Norman, Oklahoma.
The former Brooks & Dunn star tells Tulsa World, "I talked to Garth, and he agreed that we'd keep our heads down until Blake's thing was done and until Toby took the lead.
"We'd be the second wave of efforts to help people because there is a need for a second wave. There will be a need for months and months to come."
Details of the gig are still sketchy but it is expected to take place around the Independence Day weekend in early July (13).
In a tweet on Friday (31May13), Dunn wrote, "Big day working to put another Okla. benefit together. Garth good to go with a date. Toby is good (?) waiting to announce."
Country star Blake Shelton pulled in a mammoth $6 million (£3.9 million) for the tornado relief effort in Oklahoma with his televised charity gig this week (beg27May13). Artists including Reba McEntire, Usher and Shelton's wife Miranda Lambert performed at the Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert.
Singers Miranda Lambert, Reba Mcentire and Usher joined forces with Blake Shelton on Wednesday night (29May13) to help raise funds for the tornado recovery effort in his native Oklahoma. The Honey Bee hitmaker leaped into action last week (begs20May13) to organise the televised Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert after a twister ripped through the state, devastating the city of Moore and leaving at least 24 people dead.
Shelton got proceedings at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City underway with a touching rendition of God Gave Me You, followed by performances from Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder.
Shelton's wife, Lambert, fought back tears as she highlighted the plight of animals caught up in the natural disaster by belting out The House That Built Me as images of rescued pets were beamed onto the big screens behind the stage, and McEntire reached out to first responders attending the concert to thank them for all their hard work.
She also made a small but poignant change to the lyrics of her Carole King duet, Everyday People, to reflect the tragic disaster of 20 May (13), singing, "They headed south... But not for sun/To Oklahoma where the storms had been", while Vince Gill dedicated Threatened Me With Heaven to the memory of the "24 people who didn't make it".
Shelton also called on pals Carrie Underwood, Alicia Keys and Toby Keith to record video messages urging fans to dig deep and donate to non-profit organisation the United Way, with country couple Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks reminding viewers just how close thousands more locals came to facing death.
They said, "Sixteen minutes. That's the only warning these people had from the time the warning signs went off to when the tornado hit the ground. Sixteen minutes.
"It's gonna take time to recover and rebuild in Oklahoma but recover and rebuild, we will. And you can help speed that along with your donation. United Way is taking donations that are gonna be directly distributed to communities affected... It's gonna stay right here for the people that need it. Make that donation now... As Oklahomans, we're asking."
Shelton closed the show by teaming up with his The Voice co-star Usher for a heartwarming performance of Home, before making one last plea for funds: "I wanna thank all my friends who helped out tonight, but most of all, I wanna thank you at home, who took time out of your lives to join us for Healing in the Heartland and remember anything you can do to donate, will have an impact.
"To the people of Oklahoma, you're in our hearts."
Blake Shelton has roped in his The Voice co-judge Usher and fellow country star Darius Rucker to perform at his Oklahoma disaster relief benefit on Wednesday (29May13). Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert will also feature Shelton and his wife Miranda Lambert, as well as stars including Reba McEntire and Vince Gill. Proceeds from the event will benefit the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund, which will help those affected by the twister which struck the state last week (ends26May13).
Country star Blake Shelton will stage his Oklahoma disaster relief benefit on Wednesday (29May13) in Oklahoma City. The Honey Bee singer, who is a state native, jumped into action as he watched footage of the storm, which ripped through the city's suburbs on Monday (20May13), and started assembling the line-up for the show.
He will headline Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena, while pals Reba McEntire and Vince Gill and his wife Miranda Lambert, who recently helped dispatch mobile pet rescue centres to the town of Moore to help care for injured animals, will also perform.
Announcing the concert, which will be televised live on various U.S. networks, on Friday (24May13), Shelton said, "Everyone has their way to help, and mine as an entertainer is to perform to help raise money and awareness for this tragedy. This is why I want to do this special and especially hold it in Oklahoma City, which is near ground zero."
Proceeds from the event will benefit the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.
Earlier this week (21May13), Shelton and his wife performed their duet of Over You on TV talent show The Voice and dedicated the track to those suffering in the wake of the deadly tornado, which claimed the lives of 24 people.