Sunday, June 28, 2009

Escape Tour - June 28th

Sunday, June 28th

iwirelesscenter, Moline, Illinois

Opener: Taylor Swift


Urban and Swift bring the i wireless Center to life

Originally Posted Online: June 28, 2009, 11:43 pm
Last Updated: June 29, 2009, 7:21 am
Feana Kotter,

The calendar lied Sunday night when Keith Urban made the i wireless Center come alive with his distinct blend of explosive and energetic music.

"It's like a Friday night in here," Urban said to a roaring audience.

The walls morphed into a fortress housing the Escape Together World Tour and its performers -- Urban and teen sensation Taylor Swift. Though there was no king or queen to speak of, both performers played their roles as one would expect in a royal court.

Swift is the self-declared princess who pens anthems scolding the foolish prince who broke her 18-year-old heart. The princess, though young and relatively inexperienced, is capable of giving an entire audience the gusto to loathe a cheater. Though her voice lacked the power of an older performer, songs like "Should've Said No" and "Just Another Picture to Burn" gave the impression of a princess who is very quickly tiring of lame suitors, also known as 18-year-old boys.

The audience was attentive and curious about Swift, as was evident by the various age groups.

Sarah Witt, of Freeport, Ill., brought her niece Rachel Riley, of Lanark, Ill., and both said they enjoyed Swift's performance.

"She was very charming," Witt said.

"One word: Amazing," Riley exclaimed.

With a few more years and experiences under her belt, Swift has a decent chance of becoming as talented as she is enthusiastic.

There was, however, no mistaking when Urban entered the arena. Thundering drums and flashing lights ushered in the troubadour -- the musical genius who travels around the room showcasing his talents.

"It took us a little while, but we made it back," Urban said.

As the beginning guitar chords for "Days Go By" echoed around the room, Urban's eyes began to twinkle. He walked around the lower bowl, methodically strumming his guitar and feeding off the audience. This troubadour is not satisfied merely standing in place.

Paula Welsh, of Dubuque, was seeing Urban for the third time and said movement is one of the best things about his live show.

"He goes around in the crowd a lot," she said. "No matter what seat you have, it's good."

Urban is a force to be reckoned with on the guitar. Whether acoustic or electric, he commands the strings like a veteran player. His searing solos were equal parts powerful and passionate and expertly executed during "Sweet Thing" and "Stupid Boy."

Don't let his Nashville-by-way-of-Australia roots fool you -- Urban's unique fusion of rock, blues and country sets him apart from any performer in either genre. Whether playing an up-tempo song such as "Kiss A Girl" or a ballad such as "Memories of Us," his fingers gracefully strum notes and riffs that seem to bring the room to life.

Though he was sweating, the troubadour played on in the fortress. His band, full of stringed instruments and heavy percussion, produced a powerful and enticing sound. Very few people were focused on anything other than Urban.

If Swift is lucky, she might learn something from such a prodigal performer.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Escape Tour - June 27th

Saturday, June 27th

Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines, Iowa

Opener: Taylor Swift

The video for Keith's newest single is being shot at this show. Unprecedented..... filming a video when the single is released!!!! What a concept!!!!


Urban, Swift keep sellout Des Moines crowd involved

By SOPHIA AHMAD • • June 28, 2009

Take a show by country music star Keith Urban, add a sultry blond siren — country pop star Taylor Swift — and throw in a rowdy Saturday night audience, and you get a double-header big enough to be the first sellout at Wells Fargo Arena this year.

The concert, part of Urban's "Escape Together" world tour, opened with Swift, 19, riling up the crowd with an 11-song set.

Swift, whom Urban called his "soul sister," is just a teenager but proved her maturity on stage. Her songs tackled love, heartbreak and betrayal, themes ripe for some of her revenge ballads and fiery lyrics. She wove "You're Not Sorry" into a medley along with a cover of Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me a River," complete with headbanging and some writhing on the piano bench.

Fans were in for an extra treat when Urban, 41, took the stage. A notice was posted on his official Web site four days ago saying that his newest video, "Only You Can Love Me This Way," would include footage from the Des Moines crowd.

It appeared that most of the arena knew, because the audience chorus was just as loud as Urban's sweet tenor. There were two takes of the song, with touchups in between.

Urban said he felt silly about all the fuss but he went on and thanked the crowd. "You guys are the best — thank you so much Des Moines," he said.

Like Swift's, Urban's energy was high, always dancing around stage with his guitar strapped to him. At two points during the show, he walked through the crowd to get to stages near the back of the arena. "Who's got the best seats now?" Urban asked.

Shelley Preston of Clive was among those in attendance. She took her 13-year-old granddaughter, Kalee Rinnels of Eldora, to hear Swift. Preston was there for Urban.

"I really don't have a favorite song. I like them all," Preston said.

But Kalee dished. "Her favorite is 'Kiss A Girl' — she sings it all the time."

The passing of pop and R&B superstar Michael Jackson on Thursday was fresh on Urban's mind. He introduced three of his bandmates, and each sang portions of Jackson's songs "Man in the Mirror" and "The Way You Make Me Feel" along with the Jackson 5's "I'll Be There."

Both country stars appreciated the audience.

"Mighty fine singing, Des Moines," Urban said. "It sounds awesome."

Swift felt the same: "It really doesn't matter if you didn't have friends in junior high, you have 13,000 of your closest friends in Iowa."

Close. When the final attendance numbers came in, Taylor could count on 13,620 friends.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Escape Tour - June 26

Friday, June 26th

Milwaukee Summerfest - an 11 day festival beginning June 25th through July 5th. 11 days, 11 stages, 700 bands.

Very Special Guest: Counting Crows

Review from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Musical odd couple hit it off

For some music fans, the match of country heartthrob Keith Urban with the jangly folk-rock of Counting Crows might seem like a blend akin to chicken-flavored ice cream.

The Urban/Counting Crows marriage was the great booking experiment of Summerfest '09. As it turned out Friday night at the Marcus Amphitheater, even seriously smitten young ladies have a taste for folk-rock as well as hunky Aussie guitar heroes.

To these ears, Counting Crows has always worked better on disc than in person. A lot of that is traceable to Crows' frontman Adam Duritz, whose utter lack of humor and almost painfully earnest manner undercuts the jangly pleasure of the Crows' songbook.

Having said that, Friday was the best Crows show this observer has seen. Although he still sports the hair extensions, Duritz has lost a lot of weight, and the leaner Duritz was a more energetic and engaging Duritz.

There's nothing wrong with the Crows catalog, and Friday's opening set was an appealing mix of hits such as "Mr. Jones" with less-familiar material like "Washington Square" and "Richard Manuel Is Dead" (the latter of which Duritz messed up and took a second swipe at).
There were also covers from Gram Parsons and Bob Dylan. And they picked one of Dylan's wittiest tunes - "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere," which helped compensate for the dour Mr. Duritz.

As for Urban, like Brad Paisley, he is part Music City hottie and part down-home guitar god. He's also very good at charming a crowd.

Friday, he leaped into the audience and made his way to the top of the front sections, where he did a substantial mini-set of tunes in the wheelchair section.

For about 20 minutes, the folks in the cheaper seats had the good seats, which is never a bad move for one's populist country credentials.

Although Counting Crows was warmly received, once Urban came out there was no doubt who the crowd was there to see. The odd thing about Urban is that his best songs are often his ballads.

"Hit the Ground Running" was a clever launch pad, and "You Look Good in My Shirt" made a rousing encore, but the ballads like "Raining on Sunday" and "Stupid Boy" revealed Urban at his most nuanced, both as singer and player.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson

UM would like to take a short break from our normal routine and pay homage to the King of Pop. Michael's music touched so many millions of people in so many ways. His passing at such a young age deserves a tribute. It is so very sad that his music and talent were eclipsed by such an odd life. We hope that he will rest in peace. Thank you, Michael, for all you gave to the world.

Sure we talk about Kidman

You may have noticed that we have been a little lacking in the original blogs recently. We have not retired nor been scared off, it is just for many of us life has taken precedence over Kidman and Keith. Plus right now with Kidman in semi-retirement and Keith doing nothing but putting on good to terrific shows there isn't a lot to talk about. But we are still here and we do have a lot to say about both Keith and Kidman.

This blog is not a Keith Urban blog nor is it a Nicole Kidman blog; it’s about both of them. We will remind all of you again we don't like her. So, yes, right now the quiet is deafening and that usually means something is up. So hold on to your hats because we know she will do something that makes her come off as we have grown to view her: a not so bright, very lucky person.

This last week brought her 42nd birthday. There were no fireworks for her; no skywriting; not even a dinner out captured by the photographers. Mighty weird behavior for the Kidman star-making machinery. This week is their anniversary; will we get anything?

In a couple of weeks on either July 6 or 7 depending on which story you believe, Sunday Rose will be having her 1st birthday. If I were a betting kind of person my money would be on this event being exploited. Not by her father but by her mother. We will see, but with Katie sporting a baby bump, something about the natural child will probably hit the press.

In one of the comments recently we were criticized about this being a Keith Urban blog and discussing her and getting mad when he discusses her. That’s a bit skewed. We are giving our opinions that Keith Urban is reading from a script. Something that is so obvious that many can now predict which part of the “she saved me”, “I am balanced” and “I am complete” yarn he is spinning. Hopefully he has stopped that but probably, not yet.

If you want to talk about Keith Urban, we can discuss his shelf life with relationships. We will skip the one-nighters, the elevators, the booths in Nashville restaurants and the bathroom stalls where the Urban loving was consummated. Let's look at the relationships he has had since he has been famous. You have noticed that with each relationship he has climbed up the ladder of status. First we have Laura. We say her name because he dedicated the entire first American CD to her. They were together for 7- 9 years. There is some differing on when it ended. The songs that came out of that relationship were great. Unfortunately after having so much of his personal life exposed because of the Kidman glare of light, we know that this woman put up with a lot from Keith. Drugs, drink and other women; not to mention rehab. When they finally parted she didn't run to the press nor has she talked to the press since. We admire that. On to the next public relationship, one Nicole Taylor. Niki lost her sister, had a terrible accident, and chose to move to Nashville; then she got involved with Keith. There are no pictures of them anywhere; both of them chose to keep their relationship quiet. Why? Keith was building the barefoot poet persona and Taylor was trying to adjust to retirement and did not want the publicity. They were together for three years and both Golden Road and Be Here are the products of that union. To many those are his finest works. And finally for the last four years we have had to put up with Nicole Kidman. Yes, still more famous than Keith, but her career has gone into a tailspin and she looks to be just about over her fifteen minutes of fame.

Keith Urban is now famous, but not because of his music. The music has in fact suffered for it. What once was private and quiet is now thrown off the highest mountain in order for more publicity. Too bad, because in the long run it was probably better to keep many things about Keith Urban private. Now they are all part of the Urban myths.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The only REAL Dad... Dr. Antony Kidman

Did you read the spittle that came out of the aging Nicole Kidman this week? It seems that Nicole couldn't have gotten over her marriage ending with Tom without her Daddy. That’s nice; that’s even sweet; but what she said was creepy in a way. Her father showed her how a man should act. Seeing her father the way he was prepared her to fall in love again. I guess Lenny Kravitz, who many now believe was going to be Nicole's second husband wasn't quite up to the Dad standards. I love how this story paints her father as a hero and Tom as a failure. We do know that Tom does have custody of the children that Kidman agreed to parent. One of the children actually carried her father’s name as a middle name. We also know that Nicole's father’s profession is not one that is in agreement with the religion of Tom. We have also heard the stories that the Kidman household was combative and verbally challenging. This man that is so admired by his daughter actually allowed her to leave home and live with a man in another country when still in her teens.

Isn't it also interesting that Antony Kidman named Nicole's third child? Remember, Keith Urban admitted it in an interview in June, 2009 on Australian television. "We got the name from Nic's father," he explained. Sure you did, why not Keith? You see the Kidman's are so far above the Urban's; you saw that at the wedding. Of course he also said a few months ago that she was named after the day of the week. Whatever works, depending on which interviewer from which country is interviewing you.

Wasn't Keith a wonderful choice for a second husband? A weak alcoholic drug addicted womanizer. Wonder how he passed Daddy’s radar? Nothing makes Daddy a hero more than a husband with a weakness. And when this marriage ends, and we all know it will, Daddy will be there and Nicole will continue to sing his praises. Perhaps in retrospect, instead of looking at Nicole and finding fault, we really should look at her father and blame him. At least Tom will be off the hook!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Escape Tour - June 19th

Raleigh, NC - RBC Center - Friday, June 19th
Opener: Sugarland
Capacity: 18,800

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Escape Tour - June 18th

Charlotte, North Carolina - Thursday, June 18th
Opener: Sugarland

Urban's wide appeal a hit in Charlotte

By Sarah
Posted: Thursday, Jun. 18, 2009

Keith Urban brought his Escape Together tour to Charlotte on Thursday night and did what he does best – a high-energy concert with wide appeal beyond the country genre.

Opening for Urban at Time Warner Cable Arena was country duo Sugarland, whose hour-long set rivaled the energy of Urban's. Lead singer Jennifer Nettles powered through 15 songs to the packed house, including recent singles “It Happens” and “All I Want to Do” as well as their 2006 hit “Stay,” performed with believable emotion from Nettles.

Many in the audience came just for Sugarland – it was the most full I had seen the arena for an opener -- but if they left before Urban took the stage, they truly missed a great show.

While Sugarland has a distinct country twang (Nettles let her Georgia roots show as she conversed with the audience, calling one woman “Honeypot.”), Urban's brand of country regularly crosses into rock territory thanks to his fast-fingered skills on the electric guitar and his guitar-heavy band. That rock-star style appeals to male fans, while the women swoon for his heartfelt ballads about love.

He provided a mix of both on Thursday, opening with the high energy “Hit the Ground Runnin'” from his latest album “Defying Gravity” and 2004's “Days Go By” before slowing things down with “Stupid Boy.” It was a formula he followed throughout his two-hour set, but he's clearly at his best with his faster-paced rock songs (I found the back-and-forth between slow and up-tempo made the concert drag a bit). Highlights included “Who Wouldn't Want to be Me” and “Somebody Like You” both of which were punctuated by his elaborate stage setup – five huge HD screens that showed every drop of sweat along his brow and a massive light show timed to the music.

Perhaps the biggest thrill for the audience came when Urban ventured into the crowd (twice), popping up on a stage toward the back of the floor (“Who's got the good seats now?” he asked nearby concertgoers who rushed the area for an up-close view) and again in the lower bowl.

He seemed genuinely grateful for his fans, and I think that's what makes his shows so successful – he cares about giving back to them whether it's giving an intimate performance to fans in the cheap seats or acknowledging that disposable income for things like concerts is harder to come by.

Before he ended his two-song encore, he took a moment to give thanks. “I know there are a lot of seriously hard times” right now, he said in a nod to the recession and the budgets many are operating under. “Thank you so much for choosing to come see us tonight.”

His final song: “Better Life.” The chorus: “Someday baby, you and I are gonna be the ones, good luck's gonna shine. Someday baby, you and I are gonna be the ones, so hold on, we're headed for a better life.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Escape Tour - Wednesday, June 17th

BI-LO Center, Greenville, South Carolina - Wednesday, June 17th

Opener: Sugarland

Capacity: 15,000

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Escape Tour - Saturday, June 13th

Philips Arena - Atlanta, GA - Saturday, June 13th

Opener: Taylor Swift

Capacity: 21,000

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Escape Tour - Thursday, June 11th

Scottrade Center - St. Louis, MO - Thursday, June 11th
Opener: Sugarland
Capacity: 22, 000

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Escape Tour - Sunday, June 7th

Sunday, June 7th - Allen County War Memorial Coliseum, Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Seating - 13,000

Opener: Taylor Swift

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Escape Tour - Saturday, June 6th

Saturday, June 6th - The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, Michigan
Concert Seating: 23,000
Opener: Taylor Swift

The Palace of Auburn Hills has several different types of banners hanging from its rafters. These include all time great Pistons, both Piston and Shock team achievements as well as some musicians who have consistently sold out the venue.


Elton John & Billy Joel
Bon Jovi
Richard Marx
Fleetwood Mac
Neil Diamond
Kid Rock
The Eagles
Eric Clapton with Mark Knopfler

Friday, June 5, 2009

Escape Tour - Friday, June 5th

Friday, June 5th - U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio

Opener: "Very Special Guest" Taylor Swift

Venue seats 17,000

From the Cincy paper:

Swift, Urban sets a contrast in styles
Concert review
By Chris Varias • Enquirer contributor • June 6, 2009

After the fanatical response opening act Taylor Swift received at U.S. Bank Arena Friday night, you wondered if it should have been her – not fellow pop-country star Keith Urban – headlining the show. The 19-year-old singer, who has fashioned a fast-rising career out of autobiographical songs about teen romance, had fans shrieking through the course of her energetic hour-long performance.

Urban followed with a two-hour set that served as a contrast in styles. Where Swift came off as hungry for adulation and made a show out of giving back love to the audience, Urban played it cool throughout the evening. And the sellout crowd loved him as madly as it did Swift. It’s as if those shriekers wanted to be Swift and wanted to be with Urban.

The 41-year-old Australian singer and guitar player, also known to popular-culture junkies as Nicole Kidman’s husband, put on a perfect pop performance without it seeming as if he had to try to hard. Standing there in order to let the ladies admire him was half the job, and his lead-guitar playing – seldom thrilling but always technically sound – seemed to come as natural to him as looking pretty.

And, yes, it was a pop performance, though he works the country circuit. The 19-song set list, filled with middle-of-the-road rhythm and acoustic-guitar balladry, had more in common with the music of Bryan Adams than that of any honky-tonker you could name.

Urban visited several corners of the arena, three-quarters of which was set up for the show. Most of his performances took place on the main stage, with him either running around during an up-tempo rocker like “I Wanna Love Somebody Like You” as his five-piece band back him or sitting on a stool, playing acoustic guitar, and going it alone on a ballad like “You’ll Think of Me.” A smaller stage was set up at the opposite end of the arena floor. Urban went out there for more ballad action in the form of the song “Once in a Lifetime.” Later in the show, he ventured to a microphone stand set up in a section of the bowl of the arena. There he sang the rocker “You Look Good in My Shirt” while, for his trouble, he was pawed by most every female fan he passed. Back on the main stage, Urban was framed by an impressive array of video and lighting. The five-column video screen behind the band changed its location from song to song, and during “’Til Summer Comes Around,” the screen went from its vertical position to a horizontal one, become a ceiling above the band and radiating greens, blues and reds to augment the tune’s moody vibe with tremendous effect. Swift’s show was similar to her previous opening-act appearances in recent Riverbend seasons. She stretched out her set a bit longer this time, adding a theatrical piece of music-making where she banged away with mallets on rusted 55-gallon drums. Her strength is not found in emulating the Blue Man Group. Swift was at her best when she was setting up a song with a story, usually about a boy who wronged her, then letting the tune rip. It will be interesting to see her finally get the chance to headline her own show in Cincinnati, and judging by indicators like awards, hits, and record sales, that day should be coming soon.