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Toby Keith dead at 62: A look back at his many Lehigh Valley concerts over the years

Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.
April Gamiz/첥Ƶ
Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground’s grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.
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Country music star Toby Keith died Monday night after battling stomach cancer. He was 62.

The acclaimed singer-songwriter, known for hits such as “Red Solo Cup” and “Beer for my Horses,” died peacefully surrounded by his family, according to a statement on his website.

While Keith played all over the country, he was no stranger to the Lehigh Valley. He played here several times over the past two decades.

His first appearance was in May 1998 at the Cat Country 96.1 Listener Appreciation Concert at the Allentown Fairgrounds, according to 첥Ƶ archives. The show drew 11,200 people.

He then appeared at the Allentown Fair in 2001 as a guest of Brooks and Dunn. It would mark his first of many appearances there until just a few years ago. He next played there in 2002 to a sold out crowd of more than 10,000 people. Keith would return to the fair again in 2008 and 2013.

He even showed up at a Wine and Spirits store in South Bethlehem before the 2013 concert to sign bottles of Wild Shot mezcal, which he owned.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

  • Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand...

    April Gamiz/첥Ƶ

    Country music star Toby Keith plays The Allentown Fairground's grandstand stage on Thursday, Sept 2. Other acts scheduled for the grandstand this year are country star Carrie Underwood on Friday, indie-pop trio AJR Sunday and the fair-closing demolition derby on Monday.

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He was initially scheduled to play at the fair in 2020, but it was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The concert was rescheduled for 2021, and he played for a crowd of about 6,800.

Outside of the Allentown Fair, Keith also played just a few years ago in Bethlehem, where he was one of the headliners for Musikfest 2017. He played to a sold out show of nearly 6,700 people.

On Wednesday, both Allentown Fair and Musikfest officials expressed condolences.

“Rest in peace, Toby Keith. We are grateful to have had you grace our stage in 2017,”

The Allentown Fair thanked Keith for the memories, and noted his five performances there over the years.

“Your patriotism, larger than life persona and music will be greatly missed!”

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