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Billy Ray Cyrus; Toby Keith

Reviewed Oct. 15, 1993.

Reviewed Oct. 15, 1993.

Billy Ray Cyrus’ performance at the Universal Amphitheatre on Friday was a no-frills presentation with both the artist and his music taking center stage throughout.

The singer appeared to enjoy himself immensely on this stop, the first L.A. appearance supporting his sophomore Mercury Records disc, “It Won’t Be the Last.” The hunky singer also drew from his debut “Some Gave All,” the album responsible for spawning “AchyBreaky Heart,” the quirky hit single that helped launch an unknown singer from Kentucky into the country music stratosphere.

But Cyrus’ full-throttled performance often veered from the expected, notably when he paid homage to the songwriters who put him on the proverbial map by sharing the stage with Keith Hinton and Don Von Tress, the scribes behind “In the Heart of a Woman,” and “Achy Breaky Heart,” respectively.

A roaring version of “Could’ve Been Me” and a ballsy working of “Wild Thing,” the set closer, were among the several set highlights.

Opening act Toby Keith delivered a mainly static, Country Music 101 performance of tunes off his self-titled Mercury Records debut.

The gangly singer, whose career was kicked off with the single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” which ironically and unexpectedly scored some playlist spots on adult contemporary radio, rarely strayed from his center stage microphone and hardly smiled.

His brief set nonetheless was comprised of some pleasing, albeit unimaginative, offerings that scored well among those who arrived early.

Billy Ray Cyrus; Toby Keith

(Universal Ampitheatre; 6,187 seats; $ 34.50 top)

  • Production: Promoted by MCA Concerts.
  • Crew:
  • Cast: Bands: Cyrus: Terry Fletcher, Barton Stevens, Greg Fletcher, Corky Holbrook, Keith Hinton, Don Von Tress; Keith: Michael Crosno, Chuck Sherwood, Johnny Helm, Keith Mellington, Chris Troup.
  • Music By: