Singer-songwriter Toby Keith, known for his patriotic and sometimes alcohol-focused lyrics, will be in Saudi Arabia this weekend to perform at a men-only event in the capital, Riyadh, according to advertisements in the country.
Keith, a superstar in the American country music scene, will be visiting the Middle Eastern kingdom at the same time as President Trump; it's Trump's first foreign trip as leader of the United States. While in Saudi Arabia, Trump is scheduled to give a speech in support of moderate Islam.
It is not clear whether Keith's performance was designed specifically to coincide with Trump's visit. (Keith performed at Trump's pre-inauguration concert in January. He also has performed at the Obama and Bush inauguration events and is a registered independent.)
Earlier this week, the White House said Keith would not be traveling with the president and that it was not aware of any concerts by the singer.
A representative for Keith confirmed he was performing in Riyadh on Saturday. Osama Nugali, a spokesman for the Saudi Foreign Ministry, said that the event was organized by the country's General Authority for Entertainment to mark the end of exams for students.
— #فعاليات_السعوديه (@eventat_ksa) May 18, 2017
The advertisements for Keith's concert Saturday night in Riyadh bill it as a night of “Arabian lute and American guitar,” with the American musician sharing the stage with Rabeh Sager, a popular Saudi singer. The entertainment website Lammt, promoting the event, says only men are able to attend. The event is free, the website says, though formal dress is required.
It is unclear whether Keith would be able to perform all of his back-catalogue in Saudi Arabia, a socially conservative country where alcohol is banned. Many of the singer's more famous songs contain references to alcohol, including “Whiskey Girl,” “I Love This Bar" and "Beer For My Horses."
Keith is also known for writing songs that feature patriotic lyrics, such as “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” and “American Soldier.” In 2002, Keith refused to soften the lyrics of the first song for an appearance on a Fourth of July special for ABC and subsequently canceled his appearance.
Philip Rucker contributed to this report
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