JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Country singer Charlie Daniels and his band performed for service members at Sustainer Theater here April 17 as part of a "Stars for Stripes" tour.
"We are here to perform for Balad because we want to; we care about what you all are doing over here," Daniels said prior to the show. "I just want to do my part, because I can't carry a gun, I can't go and fight — I'm too old. But I can come and perform for you all and, if it helps you all do what you do, then I'm happy.
"This is a special audience [of military members]; they can't go out and get concert tickets and see a concert anytime they want to," the legendary musician continued. "There are a lot of things they can't do. You can't go off base; you can't take a plane, or drive down to Florida for the weekend, or go fishing. You're stuck here inside the wire. That's a big commitment you guys volunteer to make. You come here because you want to be here. I'm here to support you and tell you all, 'you're doing a great job.'"
During the performance, the Charlie Daniels Band played some of their hits such as: "Simple Man," "Dixie On My Mind," "Long-Haired Country Boy" and "In America."
In addition, Mr. Daniels shared a few lyrics himself wrote called, "When I Get Back From Iraq." The lyrics depict what service members miss and what they are going to do when they return home.
In the middle of the concert, Mr. Daniels paid tribute to his friend, musical legend Johnny Cash, by singing the song, "Folsom Prison Blues."
Not surprisingly, the last song of the evening brought the audience to its feet, roaring with approval, when Mr. Daniels pulled out his fiddle and sang: "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
After the show, the band passed out more than 1,000 hand-autographed photos for the service members in attendance.
"I thought it was a phenomenal performance," said Master Sgt. Sean O'Daniel, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Protocol and long-time Charlie Daniels fan. "I never sat down the whole show."
"Charlie Daniels is a true patriot," added the Tucson, Ariz., native deployed here from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. "Everything they do, they express America, patriotism, and pride in what we do here."
Overall, the "true patriot" left JBB with a special message:
"From the bottom of my heart, I thank each and every one of you; not just active-duty, but Guard, Reserve, anyone who wears the uniform," Mr. Daniels said during the concert. "You are the best America's got."