Toby Keith: Highlights From Three Decades Of Touring Success

Toby Keith Receives BMI Icon Award at the 2022 BMI Country Awards
Toby Keith performs onstage for the BMI Icon Award during the 2022 BMI Country Awards at BMI on November 08, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BMI)

Country recording star and touring artist Toby Keith, who died Feb. 5 after battling stomach cancer, was a consistent presence in Pollstar throughout his three-decade career with box-office success chronicled on the charts stretching back as early as 1994. Grosses from more than 800 concerts archived during his years as an entertainer surpass $406 million. Altogether at venues primarily in the U.S. and Canada, along with a handful of shows in Europe (2011) and Australia (2014), more than 9.5 million tickets were sold for his headlining concerts.

His shows were set in clubs, theaters, fair grandstands and a wide range of venues as a Mercury Nashville artist during the country boom years of the 1990s, but with his move to DreamWorks Records and a blossoming career in the early 2000s, he became a staple at outdoor amphitheaters and arenas.

His best-attended shed date during the era came on July 2-3, 2005 during his “Big Throwdown Tour II” with Shooter Jennings and Lee Ann Womack. He played for 33,750 fans over two nights at Post-Gazette Pavilion (now The Pavilion at Star Lake) in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. At arenas, his top attendance was recorded on Feb. 8, 2003 at Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington during his “Unleashed” tour. With Rascal Flatts and Amy Dalley as the opening acts, the sold-out concert drew 20,249 fans for a single performance.

Keith’s best gross on record was reported at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on July 24, 2004, the opening night of his “Big Throwdown Tour” where he performed with Jo Dee Messina, Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson and Scotty Emerick. The show racked up $2.9 million at the box office, valued at about $4.7 million in today’s dollars.

Although his public appearances were rare after his cancer diagnosis in 2021, the two-time ACM Entertainer of the Year performed as recently as last September at the People’s Choice Country Awards. Then in December, he made his last appearance as a concert headliner with a three-night engagement in Las Vegas, attended by 15,408 fans. The shows were held at Dolby Live at Park MGM on Dec. 10, 11 and 14 and grossed $2.23 million