Keith Urban might have wrapped up his Aussie touring commitments last night with his date at Perth Arena, but we sent our reviewer Brad along to his show in Melbourne earlier in the week to see what all the fuss was about. Though Brad’s not what you’d call a huge country fan, he came away from the Rod Laver Arena show suitably impressed.
Brisbane folk–pop band Sheppard are currently riding high with their no.1 hit ‘Geronimo’, so it’s perfect timing for them to open an arena tour.
However, it was apparent that the slightly older Keith Urban crowd wasn’t too receptive, despite the group performing some promising new material.
New songs ‘Smile’ and ‘Grade A Player’ were both particularly catchy, though neither got much of a crowd reaction.
I was a bit surprised that they did ‘Geronimo’ halfway through their set, but even that didn’t get quite the reaction expected for a recent no 1 hit.
It’s ironic that they probably would have gotten a better reaction in a smaller venue, but really they were pretty damn good. Their harmonies were top notch, they added some tambourine and harmonica to freshen things up and their overall stage presence was quite charming.
I decided to do a little experiment here. I have never listened to Keith Urban before this show, so I decided to live dangerously by going in with fresh eyes and open ears. I was pleasantly surprised.
I may not have rushed to download his greatest hits afterwards, but Keith is a killer songwriter and has many fantastic tunes.
It was a hit-laden set (admittedly at the time I had no clue as to what were previous hits and what was from his new album ‘Fuse’) and there were no time-consuming outfit changes, leaving the female-strong audience praying that he would throw his sweat-soaked t-shirt into the crowd at the show’s end (SPOILER : he didn’t).
Now for the nitty gritty; at first, the crowd wasn’t too responsive. The fans on the arena floor were all on their feet but Keith struggled to get the sides up. He soon got everyone to sing along on fan favourite ‘Only You Can Love Me This Way’ before getting a standing reception for ‘Kiss A Girl’.
What I really liked was Keith’s in-between-songs banter. He didn’t seem at all rehearsed and even encouraged the crowd to get involved and run amok.
He showcased killer harmonies with his band on ‘Stupid Boy’ before running through the crowd to a microphone stand in the lower section to perform hits ‘Days Go By’ and ‘You’d Look Good In My Shirt’.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, he took an avid interest in the signs in the crowd, and even invited one girl on stage for a quick selfie despite running overtime.
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the show was when he dedicated ballads ‘Without You’ and ‘Once In A Lifetime’ to his wife Nicole. It was these songs that brought out his best vocals of the night; haunting, vulnerable and pitch perfect.
At some points, the crowd seemed a bit too quiet (which even Keith at one point acknowledged) but hits such as ‘You Gonna Fly’ and ‘Put You In A Song’ seemed to wake them up again.
It’s so easy to pigeonhole Keith as just a country artist, but what I saw on Wednesday night was more country-tinged pop-rock, perfect for the whole family. The whole audience just seemed joyful and ready for a mid-week break and Keith and his band delivered in spades.
Brad attended the concert as a guest of Visa Entertainment. Visa Entertainment gives all Visa cardholders access to exclusive concert ticket pre-sales for concerts. Sign up today for free at visaentertainment.com.au or find them on Facebook.