Toby Keith to hold rare Saudi gig during Trump visit
Riyadh (AFP) – American country music star Toby Keith will perform in Riyadh on Saturday in a rare concert in the ultra-conservative kingdom, which coincides with US President Donald Trump’s visit.
Known for patriotic songs and holding numerous concerts for US troops abroad, Keith will share the stage with Saudi singer Rabeh Sager, according to an advertisement circulated online.
“An Arabian lute and American guitar unite in a star-studded night,” said the advertisement.
But the duo will perform for an audience made up only of men who should be above 21 and dressed in traditional Saudi thawb tunics. Access is free of charge.
The concert comes as part of attempts to open up the desert kingdom that applies a strict version of Sunni Islam, imposing tight restrictions on women, including barring them from driving and banning public cinemas.
The kingdom has created a government agency to support private firms organising entertainment events, under a wideranging “Vision 2030” plan for economic and social reform.
Keith performed at Trump’s inauguration in January.
The US president has chosen Saudi Arabia for his first foreign visit since taking office. He is scheduled to hold a summit with Arab and Muslim leaders on Sunday.