Toby Keith’s publicist responds to accusations he was drunk at Indiana concert

FILE - In this April 7, 2014 file photo shows Toby Keith performs at ACM Presents an All-Star Salute to the Troops in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — When country star Toby Keith stopped at Klipsch Music Center in the Indianapolis suburbs on Saturday, his fans used social media to talk about his apparent drunkenness.

Multiple fans said via Twitter that Keith couldn’t remember lyrics to his songs while performing in Noblesville. Some joked about his drunkenness, but others said they felt their concert experience was ruined. Here are some of the tweets:

24-Hour News 8 spoke with Keith’s publicist, Elaine Schock, over the phone Tuesday. She said she’s seen hundreds of his shows and that he’s never had too much to drink. But she admitted she didn’t attend his concert in Noblesville. And several people who did buy a ticket tell a different story.

Ashley Mayhew said she knew something wasn’t right with Keith the moment he stepped on stage. It was the show she’d been waiting for all year and had her phone ready to record.

“We were like five rows back,” she said.

But Mayhew said seeing Keith up close wasn’t enough to make up for what she was hearing.

“A lot of people have said, ‘he sings about bars, he sings about drinking, that’s what he represents.’ But I kind of feel like, you know Jimmy Buffet sings about drinking and partying but he doesn’t show up to his shows wasted away in Margaritaville,” she said.

Searching three key words on Twitter, “Toby-Keith-Drunk,” a trail of upset tweets regarding his performance filled the feed.

“I feel like he’s better than what he showed his fans and maybe that’s why he’s getting so much negative attention because people know he can do better than that,” said Mayhew.

Music website Saving Country Music has written about the concert, including video some fans think illustrate Keith sounding drunk while performing.

“People are going to mess up lyrics, people are going make mistakes. But this was like an entire concert of slurred words, eyes closed kind of thing and it was just a disappointment,” said Mayhew.

Not all fans were disappointed. Others tweeted about having a great time, an experience Mayhew hopes to get if Keith comes to town again.

“I think I would give him another chance because I do think that he’s a witty writer, he’s very talented,” she said. “If he can drink and have a good time with his fans and still deliver that for them, then that is his business. But when the performer is just as drunk as the fans, there’s not a good balance there.”

Keith hasn’t publicly commented on the fan reaction to the show. 24-Hour News 8 reached out to Klipsch Music Center for comment on Monday but had not received a response as of Tuesday morning. A call was also put into Live Nation, the company in charge of the performances at the venue, Tuesday afternoon but the call was not returned.

Keith’s tour continues Saturday at the Washington State Fair.

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