When I heard the news this morning that Toby Keith has passed away, it reminded me of a scary winter night when I drove through ice to see him in Portland.

Why Did You Have to Go to Portland?

Things were so different before the Waterfront Concert Series came to Bangor. We had concerts at the Bangor Auditorium, but some of the really big acts would only travel as far as Portland. So to see them, you had to make the drive south. Such was the case when Toby Keith came to the Cumberland County Civic Center. For those who don't recognize those two locations, they're now known as the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

What Made It the Worst Drive Ever?

I really wish I could remember what year Toby Keith was in Portland on a slippery, stormy night. All I remember is that my car had nearly bald tires and my kids really wanted to see Toby in concert. (so did I) So we headed down the highway, doing 35 to 40 miles per hour, all the way there. Do you know how long it takes you to get to Portland at 40 miles per hour? Too long.

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Once we got to the concert, we forgot about the ice and cold. I had the chance to meet Toby, and he was sweet and gracious, and really, really tall. The concert was incredible and Toby encouraged everyone to meet him and his crew in the Old Port for some drinking with the Big Dawg.

Rest in Peace, Toby Keith

I remembered that trip when I read the news this morning on Toby's Facebook page. Toby passed away last night, February 5th, 2024, at the age of 62. Gone far too soon after a battle with stomach cancer. He was surrounded by his loved ones when he passed. While he will be greatly missed, his music lives on. What a wonderful gift he has left behind.

May he rest in peace.

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