ticians and musicians.
Confetti cannons were in full-blast and Santas danced as Oklahoma City rock band The Flaming Lips opened the night as the first music performance of the Centennial Spectacular. Lead singer Wayne Coyne gestured to fans, jumped around and took time to pop a giant yellow balloon to the sold out Ford Center audience.
Amy Grant followed the Lips with a lackluster rendition of her hit “Every Heartbeat,” that was plagued by sound problems and “Oklahoma!” musical star Shirley Jones brought audience crowds to their feet with “Oh What a Beautiful Morning.”
American Idol winner Carrie Underwood performed a spirited version of her hit “Ain’t in Checotah Anymore,” to audience members who stood, clapped, screamed and waved miniature Oklahoma flags.
Country superstar and Oklahoma native Garth Brooks drew enormous applause as he appeared on the stage and offered a remembrance to those who died in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Brooks, who did not sing, then introduced performer Reba McEntire.
Baseball legend Johnny Bench took the stage and introduced Claremore native country and decade-spanning pop singer Patty Page who delighted crowds with her take on “Route 66.”
Video montages from Oklahoma news meteorologists cycled through the video monitors, the last of which introduced Stillwater pop-rock band The All American Rejects, who rocked the most modern musical performance of the night with “Move Along,” “ one of their more recent chart-toppers.
As if on cue, thousands of audience members cracked green glowsticks to welcome country star Toby Keith, who played his hit “American Solider” as pictures of Oklahoma troops cycled across screens behind him.
With the trademark tribal beginning, country performer and Oklahoman Vince Gill roused audience members with “Oklahoma Rising” “ the state’s “official” Centennial song, that was penned by Gill and Oklahoma songwriting legend Jimmy Webb.
Fireworks marked the finale as Gill wrapped up his performance. A giant Oklahoma flag was raised and dancers, with twirling musical-inspired skirts encouraged the crowd to sing along to “Oklahoma!” as a last volley of firework explosions punctuated the spelling of O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A at the end of the event “ proving that Oklahoma has been doing more than fine “ and is indeed a grand state to be in. “ Joe Wertz