Concert Review and Photos by Janice Spicer
Although it’s finally getting cooler outside and fall is in the air, KEITH URBAN four time Grammy Award winner and previous American Idol Judge was the hottest ticket in Cowtown on Saturday night, October 1, 2022 bringing his Speed Of Now World Tour to Dickies Arena. Throwing down a triple shot bill the night was nothing shy of star power with TYLER HUBBARD who is most notably known as a member of the Nashville based duo FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE and rising star INGRID ANDRESS who released her debut studio album, Lady Like in March 2020. Both artists were exceptional! However, It was Urban who brought the house down with a finely honed performance recreated to perfection while he and his band members were having copious amounts of fun onstage that exuded into the audience.
The first time I attended a Keith Urban concert was in August 2017 and I was in awe of Keith and his talented band. I knew from that moment forward if Keith Urban came to town I would be present! I was fortunate enough to score a seat on the 6th row and it was thrilling to be up close and personal with Keith singing, smiling and slinging his guitar! In fact, I was so close I noticed Urban is sporting a new tribal tattoo on his right wrist and hand and I could clearly read the ink on his knuckles that spelled out “Mary” which is his wife, NICOLE KIDMAN’S middle name.
The concert was not a sell out but die hard fans and a broad fan base of all ages including parents who brought young children shuffled into the venue. Concert goers were decked out in cowboy hats, jeans, boots and denim jackets to young ladies wearing short dresses with decorative cowgirl boots. Being Saturday night there were plenty of beer drinkers in the house too!
The lights went out, the fog machine was rolling giving off a hazy mystery as the band took the stage playing, then KEITH URBAN strolled out to the center stage, held his fist in the air and began singing “Tumbleweed” a catchy tune off his latest album The Speed Of Now, Part 1. The backdrop was two massive screens that rolled red laser images and colorful images of bursting flames throughout the song. He segued into a snippet of “Black Betty” by RAM JAM but inserted “Fort Worth Texas is my band” and the audience cheered with delight! He performed “God Whispered Your Name” and “One Too Many” from his latest album as well. He followed with “Days Go By”, “Wild Hearts” and “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”.
His multi talented band consists of Jerry Flowers who was an original member of Keith Urban’s first band formed in 1997, THE RANCH. Flowers serves as the band leader, bass player and vocalist. Nathan Barlowe, guitar and vocals, Pete Kuzma on keyboards, Jeff Linsenmaier, Ableton Operator (a system with built-in instruments, sounds and effects) and Terence Clark, drummer.
The Urban Cowboy told the crowd he’s never been so happy and grateful to see so many people at one time. He stated “After two years we’re finally gonna get the chance to play some of the new songs we haven’t done live before” and “For the next two hours I’m going to make a utopian experience in this arena”! The crowd went crazy with excitement and braced themselves for a 20 plus song setlist that included a plethora of cuts from albums including Golden Road released in 2002, Be Here 2004, Defying Gravity 2009, Get Closer 2010, Ripcord 2016 and Graffiti U 2018.
Fans in the audience held up signs and Urban read the messages aloud and picked a young teacher from Kansas named Elizabeth who had a neon pink sign that read “My students bet you won’t pick my sign”. Urban invited her onstage and she was super stoked! She admitted to Keith she’s been trying to get him to pick her since she was 13 years old. What was really comical was she wouldn’t stop talking and Keith joked afterward that they still had 26 more songs to cover.
Sprinkled into the set were “Somewhere In My Car”, “Brown Eyes Baby” and “Where The Blacktop Ends”. Honestly, I didn’t recognize many of the selected songs but that didn’t matter. Urban made it a night of perfectly blended songs that captured the hearts of devotees. Every song is delivered with high energy, Urban’s vocals are in peak condition and he plays guitar like a natural and can make it sing so sweet! He periodically kicks the air with his feet and spins around in circles when he breaks into his riveting guitar solos. Keith displays liquid smooth finger techniques and his band is razor sharp, you’re in the realm of professionals who rank in the upper echelon of Nashville musicians.
The 54 year young Australian superstar was clad in his usual tattered jeans and T-shirt with streaked hair and a bright white smile that lit up the arena. He appears to be in pristine condition physically and doesn’t seem to age. Regardless of where you were seated you could see Urban and his band on the massive screens and periodically they showed various fans in the audience dancing and singing along which Urban encouraged.
Other highlights of the night included Nathan Barlowe, guitarist and vocalist who was totally wired. You couldn’t help but watch him prance around the stage having the time of his life! He also played an electronic pad called the Phantom. When it was his turn for a solo the rest of the band huddled close together and kiddingly tried to get him to wrap it up but he kept playing and it sounded like you were in a loud electronic disco. It was totally unexpected and out of the ordinary yet super cool! During “Long Hot Summer” Urban actually did a solo tapping the neck of his guitar with one hand and then tapping the microphone with his other hand which was also a first for me to witness. He also played a game with an electronic wheel that was shown on the big screen and he said whatever song the wheel landed on he would play. A ginormous lever was brought out and when he pulled it the song it landed on was “Texas Time”. Of course, the crowd screamed and yelled with glee! During “You Look Good In My Shirt” he pointed to individuals in the front who were wearing his t-shirts and the fans down front loved it! When Urban played one of his biggest hits “Somebody Like You” which catapulted him to the mainstream country eye the fans roared and willingly sang along. After a jaw dropping guitar solo Urban said “I think everybody has a guilty pleasure song, a song that you love that you don’t realize you love. Should we test this theory Fort Worth?” Urban then broke into “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” which became a number one hit in the U.S. by the TOKENS. Urban had 10,000 plus fans singing this song back to him as he chuckled and also sang along! Keith and his band equally implore as much fun and excitement as the audience does! He is constantly engaging with the fans. I adore hearing him speak, I just melt at his accent. The sexy, saucy Aussie is very witty and extremely charismatic. Combined with his good looks make him alluring to all the ladies.
An unlikely duo Urban collaborated on a song with P!NK “One Too Many” and she appeared on the LCD screen singing her part. I love this song as much as I love both artists. He also performed “The Fighter” a song he did with CARRIE UNDERWOOD and she also appeared on screen singing. This song actually won the CMT Music Award for Collaborative Video Of The Year in 2017.
Stepping off stage Urban made his way back to the audience and performed “Thank God I’m A County Boy“ by JOHN DENVER on his acoustic guitar. He signed the guitar turned around and handed it to a young girl in the audience. She was ecstatic and the look on her face was priceless! I believe this is a staple at his shows because he did the exact same thing at his concert in 2016. On his way back to the stage girls grabbed at him, he shook a few hands and stopped and took a photograph with a youngster.
During “Blue Ain’t Your Color” a fan favorite, the crowd was bathed in blue lighting. For the finale, near the end of “Wasted Time” confetti dropped showering the audience and the fans went wild! For the encore, KEITH URBAN said “You don’t want to go home? Will you please put your hands together for an extremely hard working road crew” and the fans obliged. He thanked the audience for allowing them to play and hoped he fulfilled his promise. Urban then played “Stupid Boy”.
Hands down this was the BEST concert I’ve attended this year and if you ever have the opportunity to see KEITH URBAN live I promise you won’t be disappointed! If you can afford to splurge and sit close to the front it will be an experience of a lifetime and you won’t be wasting your money or WASTED TIME!
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