Urban a big hit, so who wouldn't wanna see him?
By Ricardo Baca The Denver Post
With the rugged good looks of a young Brad Pitt and the big arena rock hooks of an '80s-era Berlin, country music star Keith Urban owned a near-capacity crowd at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.
The man who added the pop to country threw down a crowd-pleasing selection of songs that spanned his recorded history — diving back to his career-defining eponymous hit record from a decade ago but focusing on his new redemptive outing, "Defying Gravity."
Looking fit, wearing a chest-snuggling red-sparkle plaid shirt, Urban traversed the goliath stage with confidence and flair, unafraid to venture out to the crowd and onto an ancillary stage on the other side of the arena. Backed by a five-piece band that was competent in electric and acoustic guitar — along with mandolin and banjo — Urban's hits and B-sides alike sounded complete and full.
It helped that Urban is one of country music's finest (and, surprisingly, most soulful) electric guitar players. Urban's solo at the end of "Stupid Boy" was inspired and honest.
Among the show's highlights was the set's second song, "Days Go By," one of Urban's most likable tracks. The banjo and mandolin on "Where the Blacktop Ends" was refreshing, and it added a rootsy component to Urban's polished songs. One of his most recognizable ballads, "Making Memories of Us," was a potent moment that had the entire floor singing along with a country star who's a rock star.
Urban left a lot of the singing in "Raining on a Sunday," done solo on acoustic guitar, to the crowd. And "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" was an undeniable fun pop-country concoction, one that would win over nonbelievers.
The new "Sweet Thing" was a riotous pop-country ballad that Urban wrote in honor of his famous wife, Nicole Kidman. The upbeat song certainly hit a chord with the many twenty- and thirtysomething women there. "Kiss a Girl," another new song written for Kidman, sounded fresh and alive.
But Urban's appeal didn't stop at the women in the audience. Grown men sang along with his songs proudly, and it was obvious they were doing so out of a love for the music.