WATCH: Toby Keith Surprises Fans With First Performance Since Cancer Diagnosis

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Less than six months after announcing he has stomach cancer, country music legend Toby Keith surprised fans with his first performance since the diagnosis. 

According to Country Now, Toby Keith made his first public appearance since the cancer news to perform at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky. This event took place on Friday (November 4th). Keith was in the area for the 2022 Breeders’ Cup at the Keeneland Race Course. He then had dinner at Jeff Ruby’s, where he sang on stage for the first time a year. 

“Welcome to the Breeders’ Cup,” Toby Keith declared on stage. “I’ve been knowing this guy for a long time and I just told him back there I just came from London and France to get back to the Breeders’ Cup. Jeff Ruby’s has the baddest f—ing steak.”

Toby Keith then said that he hasn’t worked in about a year and decided to change things up. “Our tradition to get up here and sing with JR is we’ve got to do this song.” 

Toby Keith then performed with the house band his 2003 single I Love This Bar, Otis Redding’s (Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay. They also performed Lynyrd Skynard’s Sweet Home Alabama. 

Jeff Ruby took to Twitter to share a video of Keith’s performances. “He loves this bar,” Ruby added. 

Toby Keith Performs Less Than Two Months After Canceling Benefit Show Appearances 

The steakhouse performance comes less than two months after he was forced to cancel a benefit show appearance due to his health condition. 

In a statement, a spokesperson shared that Toby Keith would not be at the semiannual SabesWings Strike Out fundraiser in Paso Robles, California. A fundraiser he was previously committed for. “He is still in recovery and is having a tough week,” it was revealed. “[Keith is] not yet up for travel.” 

Toby Keith accepted the lifetime achievement award that was presented at the event through a pre-recorded video. Event organizations shared that Keith was heartbroken about the situation. This is due to the country music being passionate about the work that SabesWings does. Bret Saberhagen created the organization to help cancer patients afford to pay for their treatments. 

Toby Keith had previously announced he had to cancel the rest of his performances for the remainder of the year due to his health condition. 

In June 2022, Toby Keith revealed that he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation, and surgery,” he said at the time. “So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover, and relax. I am looking forward to spending time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”