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Concert Review: Toby Keith, Eric Church and JT Hodges at Darien Lake [PHOTOS]

Cheryl Gress-Medina images

From the moment I stepped onto the stage to welcome everyone and bring out JT Hodges, you could actually feel the electricity in the air at Darien Lake. We were about to witness the “Locked and Loaded” Tour 2011. This was going to be one concert that everyone would remember.  I got the chance to hang with opening act JT Hodges and his band before the concert. These guys were pumped! And when they hit the stage, they let loose with everything they had. They totally rocked it out for the Darien Lake crowd.

Eric Church can be pretty shy and reserved when you meet him, but when he hits the stage and starts performing, there seems to be a different personality that comes out. He sings and plays like a man posessed with a mission to show you what rocking country music is all about. His message is one of belief in God, working your butt off and relaxing after you have done so. Eric Church comes across as a cross between Hank Williams, Jr. and Kid Rock complete with the aviator sunglasses. He even did a short acoustic version of “A Country Boy Can Survive”. Church did not disappoint as he brought the faithful to their feet. Reverend Eric was presiding over his flock and his congregation was looving the message.

This was my sixth time seeing Toby Keith out at Darien Lake. His show is always a party.  Even if you are a casual fan of Toby Keith, you will be dancing at some point during the show. We were on our feet the entire time as every part of his show is entertaining.  His longtime back-up singer Mica Roberts did a solo early in the night with a cover of :Lady Marmalade which was outstanding. Toby played hit after hit and a few you don’t hear on the radio like my personal favorite, “Weed With Willie”. My wife’s cousin Bonnie attended the show with me and she thoroughly enjoyed it as well. We were a little concerned with the weather as they were predicting some strong thunderstorms. They did hit during the show. I think that was the first time I had ever experienced a show at darien where it rained with such intensity. We were up towards the front under the big tent and for a while we were a bit concerned at two huge bubbles of water began to form on the top of the tent and were clearly visable from underneath the tent. Security even cleared out a bunch of seats behind us until crews could get on top and move some of the water out.  All in all, I would have to say this was favorite concert of the year. If you missed it, you missed one hell of a show!

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