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Watch Toby Keith’s Last Performance of ‘Should’ve Been a Cowboy’ at Final Concert

Just two months before his death, the country icon said goodbye to fans with a three-night stand at the Park MGM in Las Vegas

The world woke up Tuesday morning to the sad news that country icon Toby Keith died Monday night following a long battle with stomach cancer. He was 62.

Keith last toured in 2021 and devoted much of his time over the past three years to his health, but in December 2023 he booked three shows at the Park MGM in Las Vegas. Fans from all over the world traveled to attend. The final one took place Dec. 14.

Keith seemed too weak to stand for the bulk of the night, but his spirits were high, and his voice was strong. The set was a mixture of big hits and fan favorites. He even played random songs requested by audience members.

“Through Covid and my illness there’s been all this social streaming shit going on,” he told the crowd midway through the set. “Everyone walks up to me no matter where I am in the world and they show me their playlists, [including] songs that were never singles. ‘That one’s my favorite.’ I go, ‘That wasn’t even a single.’ I won’t play all the hits, but I’m going to play some things that you guys ask for.”

Near the end of the night, he broke out his 1993 debut single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” (Check out fan-shot video above.) The lead single off his first album, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” was rich in Wild West hero imagery, namechecked singing cowboys like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, and was written solely by Keith. It hit Number One on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

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After sitting for much of the show, he found the strength to stand for that one. “Go west young man, haven’t you been told?” Keith sang. “California’s full of whiskey, women and gold/Sleepin’ out all night beneath the desert stars/With a dream in my eye and a prayer in my heart.”

These were the words of a brash, young talent that was eager to make a name for himself when the song hit 31 years ago. They felt very different that night when delivered by a 62-year-old reckoning with mortality and legacy.

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