Country music has never been sexier, with the likes of Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood sharing the stage on the launch of Urban’s Ripcord Tour, in what was a musical tour de force at Adelaide’s Entertainment Centre on Tuesday night.
Supported by Aussie rockers Buchanan (who were great), Urban & Underwood gave memorable performances that were full of energy, emotion and drive. Grammy Award winning artist Carrie Underwood was both stunning and sublime with her vocal range in songs like Jesus Take The Wheel, and numbers from her Storyteller album such as Dirty Laundry, demonstrating a great hybrid of country and rock fusion whilst hitting each note to perfection. Her cover of Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You, sung in tribute to Parton, was simply divine.
Keith Urban donned the stage to a rapturous welcome, and launched into the banjo laden Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), sending fans into a frenzy. What is there not to like about Urban? He’s dashingly good looking, has an amazing voice, is a genuinely down to earth human and damn, can he shred a guitar! He graciously allowed a *young aspiring singer to come up on stage and share her original song, which she did along with a shameless yet harmless bit of self-promotion. You don’t get many headliners doing that during a performance, and having briefly met with him earlier in the day at his rehearsal, his warmth and affability are very genuine and there is little pretence with Urban. (*Incidentally, Amy Jennifer from Payneham was quite good- so look for her on Youtube.) He also gave away a signed guitar to an unsuspecting young fangirl as he is known to do in his shows- I’m sure those young ladies won’t forget that experience in a hurry!
Now, back to Keith Urban. He has selected a fine bunch of musicians as his band, and these guys are no slouches. They’re tight, well-polished, and are extremely skilled in each of their own right. Nathan on drum machine and guitar introduced us to his new toy called ‘The Phantom,’ an electronic contraption resembling linked iPads and synthesizers that provide back up for some songs. It was an interesting addition to the country music genre, taking it to another level.
A quick trip to a smaller stage at the rear of the auditorium saw Urban strip back to his roots (no, not his underwear ladies – sorry!) and literally walk the venue through his fans to get there. He acknowledged his days starting out, playing small venues to small crowds, and was evidently grateful for his good fortune. By the time it came for Urban to head back to the big stage, EVERYONE in the house was on their feet jumping at Urban’s command. He played a medley of songs from John Cougar, Bob Marley and The Police and, before you knew it, the show had ended. Of course Urban was demanded for an encore, which he kindly obliged with Making Memories, Stupid Boy, and Raise ’em up.
We left feeling elated, and any performance that leaves you smiling must surely be a great thing. It wasn’t just the great songs, fantastic music, or even the spectacular production values that made us feel like that- it was the warmth and substance of those lyrical preachers that just delivered one hell of a musical sermon.
I have to say this is the first time I’ve seen Keith Urban in concert, and he was bloody good!
By Dazz Hassan
GALLERY BY DAVE GARTLAND