Jason Aldean understood that Toby Keith had a prior commitment that might make him unavailable to jam onstage in Oklahoma on Friday night (Oct. 13). Still, he was crossing all of his fingers and toes.

"He's like, 'I should be back around 10:30,'" Aldean recalls. "I'm like, 'the show ends at 11, man.'"

Talking to Taste of Country Nights, Aldean reflects on Keith's surprise performance, explaining  how Live Nation President of Country Touring Brian O'Connell helped facilitate the meet-up.

"It was good to see him in good spirits and doing well," Aldean tells Evan Paul. "I know he's gone through a pretty tough couple of years here. You just hate to see that, but you love to see somebody get up and do what they're so good at and have done for all these years."

Related: Watch Toby Keith Join Jason Aldean Onstage in Oklahoma

It almost didn't happen. the "Try That in a Small Town" singer says that Keith told him he was going to his grandson's football game that night, but was going to try to make it back in time. Finally, a few songs before the end of the show, Aldean got word that Keith had arrived, so he set about welcoming him to the stage.

"I was gonna give him this big announcement, set it up to blow the roof off the place," Aldean says.

"I'm in the middle of that and I look over in the pit and people are already going crazy ... he's already walking on stage, just sashaying on stage like he does. Place went crazy."

After the show, Keith stuck around and hung out with Aldean and his band for several hours. Aldean had seen the '90s and 2000s hitmaker a year ago and kept tabs on his cancer battle, so he wasn't shocked to see him thin. Given everything he's been through since 2021, Aldean says, Keith looks pretty good.

"He's a tough guy. All the things he's gone through the last couple years ‚ to still jump and play and still wanna do that — it says a lot about him."

The full Taste of Country Nights, On Demand interview will drop on all podcast platforms and YouTube on Nov. 1. Aldean has just two weekends remaining on his 2023 Highway Desperado Tour.

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