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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.