Band Concert Review
Keith Urban Tour Comes to an End
By Becky Baker
Dateline: February 25, 2006; Tallahassee, Florida
Keith Urban has spent most of the past 6 years on the road and is finally taking a well-deserved break. One may think he would take a complacent attitude about the last show for a few months, play a regular gig, and bid us adieu. But Keith is one of those rare performers who has music flowing through his veins. No other artist conveys the pure joy of playing the way he does. It appeared he could have stayed on stage all night and that the fans would have gladly allowed him to do so.
An impressive set list of 28 full songs with riffs and hints of others made a show that lasted nearly three hours. Keith was not being trite when he warned the audience that they were in for a long night. The show opened with an acoustic Hello video specifically recorded for Tallahassee before Keith bounded onstage to kick things into gear with "Days Go By." From there, he continued to play hit after hit along with album tracks and covers. All the while, it became more and more obvious that for all his vocal ability, charisma, and showmanship, Keith is a guitarist first. He expresses himself through his playing so that a song is never the same twice. He calls it inconsistency. I call it entertainment. I admit I was never that interested in guitar work until I saw Keith. One of the friends who attended this show as her first Keith concert expressed it in awe, "You don't know what you're missing." Until you experience Keith Urban live, it's possible that you do not realize how much variety, intensity, and passion one man can create with six strings. Keith has a devilish, flirtatious ability to make his guitar talk for him. During "You Won" he prowled across the stage creating his own soundtrack to match his moves. Sometimes he left me shaking my head in amazement and turning to Debbie to say, "Okay, now he's just showing off."
The crowd got to sing most of "You're My Better Half." Keith always makes the crowd part of the show by reading banners, speaking to people individually, even signing an occasional autograph when he's within reach. He also plays a bit of comedian with dry wit. For instance, he took a glow-stick from a girl and told her it was a great way to get his attention and added with a deadpan that he thought she had been eating uranium.
A few songs into the show, Keith took a trapeze/harness out to a stage at the end of the arena floor to play "Homespun Love"/"Rock and Roll Part II," "But for the Grace of God," the Eagles' "Take It to the Limit" and "Jeans On" acoustically. He flew back to the stage to "Get Back" where he joined the band and he and Steve King, the keyboard player, had a showdown of classic rock riffs. Led Zepplin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, AC/DC, and Ozzy all made momentary appearances. Then Keith left the stage for a few moments to allow the band to do a cover of Aerosmith's "What It Takes" which he joined in on the drums.
The typical show continued through many songs from Be Here and Golden Road. One of the most passionately played songs was "Nobody Drinks Alone." If anyone at Capitol Records has a lick of sense, this will be the next single from Be Here. It would be an injustice for such a song to be forever left as an album track. The encore began with Keith playing piano for his latest hit "Tonight I Want to Cry." Did I say encore? I should say the second half of the show. All rules were thrown out, along with the security guards at the front of the stage. Keith told them to move out and let the people come to the front. The atmosphere was that of the greatest bar band in the world, playing the biggest bar in the world. After delivering his smash "Better Life," he became the cover song king, playing an additional seven songs.
Keith had a clever way to get around the curfew... during "You May Be Right," the house lights came back on and the road crew started dismantling the stage. Not only did they dismantle it, parts of it were broken into pieces and given to anyone in the crowd who could catch them! (The larger parts are being donated to a school for the performing arts.) It was amusing to notice the stage was coming down as the band continued to play. Pat Green, the opener, joined Keith for "Glory Days." The party went on and on and on. Even the security guys were singing along. At the end of the show, Keith thanked us for sticking around for their longest show, sent out prayers for the troops, and said "God bless you all" twice. He ended with a "These Are the Days" which is a reprise of "Days Go By," bringing the show and the tour full circle.
I don't think there's a guy who deserves a vacation more than Keith Urban, but for the fans' sake, I hope he makes it a short one. Once you've been urbanized, you can not get enough of the live experience.