Last Friday, I saw Toby Keith in concert. If you told me that I would see an even better concert a day later, I’d think you were crazy. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want to make it clear that Toby Keith put on a great show; I would pay to see him again (especially since Jaron and the Long Road to Love who sings “Pray For You” was opening … he was awesome). It’s just that Jimmy Wayne put on an even better show at, ironically, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in Mesa, AZ.
For the last seven months, Jimmy Wayne has walked from Nashville, TN to Phoenix, AZ (a total of 1700 miles and six states) to raise awareness and money for HomeBase Youth Services. HomeBase Youth Services helps homeless youth ages 18-21. Jimmy Wayne was homeless during part of a childhood and the free concert was celebrating him reaching Phoenix. On Sunday, he walked to HomeBase Youth sevices.
He sang most of his hits (although, he missed a few of my favorite songs, such as “Paper Angels” and “Brighter Days”) and songs such as “Do You Believe Me Now,” “I Will,” “Sara Smile,” “Stay Gone,” and “I Love You This Much.” It’s such a disappointment to me when I listen to a song on a radio and it’s not good live. But this didn’t happen — in fact some of his songs were better live like “Trespassin’.” I was in the audience thinking to myself, “There’s no way he can hit that note. No one can hit that note.” Then he hits that note. Absolutely amazing. Seriously, I have no idea how he does it.
He had so much energy on stage. It was more than a concert — it was a giant party. The guy broke his foot (and still walked the last five miles to Phoenix) and was still dancing on stage. His energy bounced off from the stage into the crowd. I had just driven six hours from Los Angeles to Mesa to catch the show (not to mention I had to get up early after going to bed late because of the Toby Keith concert), so naturally, I was super tired when I got to the bar. But Wayne’s energy gave me energy, as if I just had 10 bottles of Dr. Pepper. The fact that his energy gave me energy proves the guy has excellent stage presence. He also has a way of connecting with the audience. It seemed like he made eye contact with everyone.
During the show, Jimmy took the cameras of the people in the front row and took pictures of himself and them. After the show, he posed for pictures and signed autographs. There were shirts, headshots, candles and other Jimmy stuff. Everyone was pretty excited when he came out to meet and greet.
Toby Keith I Love This Bar and Grill was pretty good. The bar was shaped like an 85 foot guitar. I was somewhat worried about the prices, but to be honest, it wasn’t that much more expensive than the Denny’s I went to for lunch. I had a burger (the menu was pretty standard — burgers, ribs, sandwiches, etc.). The fries were amazing, although I was pretty disappointed with the BBQ sauce. It wasn’t my style. The BBQ sauce (and Toby Keith shirts) were available in the gift shop. It’s not only a place to eat, but it’s an experience. It’s a must-do for country music fans in the Mesa/Phoenix area. If I lived in Mesa, I’d be headed to the grill all the time. The service is great and it was in a nice area. I’m waiting for them to open one in Los Angeles.
I’ve seen a lot of concerts. I’ve seen most of the big names in country music (Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, Sugarland, Brooks and Dunn to name a few) and although they all put on good shows, my favorite singer to see is Jimmy Wayne.