Urban Goes Rural!
|Keith Urban - five times better than you think!|
While The Inky Jukebox hung out in the parking lot before the Keith Urban show in Burgettstown, a roving reporter from the local country radio station ambled by and interviewed the older carload of fans nearby. He got them to cheer “Keith Urban Rocked!” into his mic for after the show, and when they declared they were Urban virgins, he said they were in for a treat.
He was right. It’s been three years since Urban was in this neck of the woods, and the locals were anxious to show him some love.
The Inky Jukebox has to take a step back for a moment and say that it was a long time before she could take Keith Urban seriously because he is so darn purdy-looking. But this show made her throw her hat in the ring, because that reporter was right: he rocked our asses off. For sheer professionalism, musicianship and fan appreciation, his show was the best of the year.
For a start, he opened his set by simply strolling out to center stage with the lights full on and backdrop still up, picked up a banjo and played an instrumental song. The crowd was caught unaware: usually the lights go down and background music hits the amps nice and loud. Once that song was done, the lights went down and when they came back on, the backdrop fell away to reveal a pretty great set: very simple, with a big bank of vertical screens.
He was in great form, delivering all the hits, and had plenty of interaction with the crowd, who were cold and wet. After spotting a sign he couldn’t read in the audience, he had the woman holding it come up on stage; it was a bride-to-be, and she wanted to sing a song with him — so she did. Pretty neat.
But that wasn’t the only way in which Urban went the extra mile to get among his fans. A smaller stage was set up over a section of seats at the far end of the pavilion near the lawn; it served as a fully miked and lit stage for several songs.
|An intimate second stage|
And if anyone left before the encore, they would have missed Urban’s second venture out into the crowd – this time slightly to the other side of the back of the pavilion, where he stood alone at a mic stand right amongst people to sing “You Look Good In My Shirt.” Afterwards, he signed and handed his electric guitar to a lucky fan.
|Up close and personal!|
Urban is a generous performer, too. He not only shared a song with each of his opening acts — Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town — but he gave each of his band members a turn in the spotlight to let them sing a bit of a cover song and play their instruments. This is what you can expect from a singer who is also the lead guitarist in his band.
|Who thinks we're sexy?|
|Little Big Town joined in|
Speaking of which — wow. They say Urban is the best guitar player in country music and they have a point. A Go Pro camera fixed to the head of his guitar allowed the audience to see just what his hands were doing on the neck, which was a really nice touch for those of us who are curious to see.
Urban doesn’t only play guitars though — he did "Tonight I Wanna Cry" all alone on the piano too.