Keith Urban wows lucky fans
By JANE STEVENSON, Sun Media
Last Updated: 12th May 2009, 3:30am
Country music superstar Keith Urban's Escape Together arena tour, which kicked off last week in Connecticut, was scaled down for a select group of about 1,000 contest winners, music industry guests and fan club members at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Monday night.
In truth, Urban's hour-and-15-minute show was taped for an upcoming CMT special to run in the summer followed by an online version at Sympatico/MSN as part of their Live @ The Orange Lounge series, thus the presence of cameras on cranes and tracks and major lights throughout the small club.
"We're breaking some fire codes tonight," joked the cute Aussie, who makes his home in Nashville with actress-wife Nicole Kidman and their infant daughter, Sunday Rose.
Kicking off the 12-song concert on a major upbeat note with the older tune, Days Go By, Urban and his ace five-man band seemed thoroughly warmed up and were genuinely having fun even if their frontman was slightly punchy at times.
Urban laughed when he forgot the words to Better Life, the final song of the night, and even spontaneously broke away from the planned set list to perform a solo acoustic version of Once In A Lifetime.
"I got to get centered," said Urban by way of explanation as he cleared the stage of his musicians. "We started this tour a week ago and it feels like we've played every night."
Still, Urban managed to bring out the best in almost every song he played with some great guitar work, particularly as he wrapped up older songs like Stupid Boy, or with the triple guitar attack of him and fellow axemen Chris Rodriguez and Brian Nutter, on You Look Good In My Shirt and Somebody Like You.
"Yee haw!" he yelled at the end of Shirt. "Hell, yeah, Toronto! You guys must have started drinking early," added the musician, who got clean and sober not long ago.
Urban's latest trek, in support of his new No. 1 album, Defying Gravity, doesn't arrive in Canada until mid-September when he will travel to seven cities (including an Oct. 3 date at the Air Canada Centre).
But the quality of the new tunes played by the charismatic and lively 41-year-old singer-songwriter and gifted guitarist bodes well for what concertgoers can expect.
Among the new tunes sounding even better in a live setting were the first single, Sweet Thing, the ballad 'Til Summer Comes Around, again with some exciting guitar playing by Urban, and Kiss A Girl.
Urban also made "Lindsey from Kitchener" one happy fan, when he pulled her up on stage to sign her copy of Defying Gravity, among other things she had in her purse, and finished off the encounter with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
WHAT KEITH PLAYED LAST NIGHT:
Days Go By
You Look Good In My Shirt
'Til Summer Comes Around
Once In A Lifetime
Making Memories Of Us
Kiss A Girl
Somebody Like You
Tonight I Wanna Cry
Sun Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Phoenix Concert Theatre