“It’s been awhile. You know what I’ve been doing. Been on the ol’ roller coaster, but the Almighty is riding shotgun, he’s letting me drive,” Keith told fans Friday in a video statement that accompanied the announcement of his two shows on Dec. 10 and 11 at the Park MGM.
“I was gonna sit around here and do nothing like I have been, or I could get up, go outside, don’t let the old man in, y’know what I mean? Through Covid and cancer, ol’ Devil’s at me a little bit. I got him by the horns right now, so instead of just sitting around and waiting, we’re gonna get the band back together.”
In June 2022, Keith revealed that he had been battling stomach cancer since the previous fall. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax,” he said at the time.
However, cancer hasn’t kept Keith from performing live, as he’s staged occasional concerts over the past year, including a marathon set at Norman, Oklahoma’s Hollywood Corners in July 2023. For the most part, however, Keith has been recovering and relaxing amid his health issues.
“First time in my whole life I’ve been off, over two years,” Keith said Friday, adding that the Vegas gigs would serve as “rehab shows” in order to “get the band back in sync,” hinting at future gigs.
Keith has also gradually been returning to the stage recently, performing at the People’s Choice Country Awards earlier this month and, just this past week, appearing onstage alongside Jason Aldean at that singer’s Oklahoma City show.
In July, Keith told The Oklahoman he was feeling well, describing his status as on a “positive trend.” “I expect next time I look for that tumor to be even less,” he said, “And I’ve only got one that’s shown up.” At the time, he was also eager to get onstage again. “I’ve got more wind,” he said. “And I’m thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours.”