Saturday, 28 June 2014

Lighting the fuse with Keith Urban.

On Thursday night I went with a friend to see Keith Urban at Rod Laver Arena. I'd never been to one of his shows before, but had heard good things. He had played the night before - his wedding anniversary - and was off to Narrabri in north-western New South Wales as part of his Light the Fuse tour.

We'd both had a long and busy day and had to prioritise dinner over the support act, Sheppard. We waited at the tram stop for about ten minutes and then were told, once we'd boarded our tram that we weren't going anywhere because they were waiting for the police to come and remove a drunken passenger from the tram in front. As we walked to the cab rank we passed a group of four Protective Services Officers standing out the front of Flinders Street Station. They are supposed to be the transit police, but they were no help at that moment. Two other pairs of women got off the same tram and I asked if they were also going to Keith Urban. They were, so four of us shared a $10 cab ride.

Our seats were fantastic. We were right up the front and it was such a pleasure to be at a big arena show and not have to rely on the screens to see the show.
Close enough to the see the man
© 2014 divacultura
The crowd was eclectic and the lack of cowboy hats and boots reflected that we were actually at a rock concert, rather than a country one, or even country rock. That was okay with me - I like to see talented musicians play anything (except any variety of Metal, as I've discussed before).

Keith Urban
© 2014 divacultura
The music was great. The band was on fire. There were banjos and mandolins, but this was still a rock concert. Keith stopped for a chat early on and read the many signs held up by fans. He made it clear that we wouldn't be needing security tonight and gained the crowd's agreement to be well behaved. A girl holding a sign that said "Dad said he'd give me $100 if I get a selfie with you" was brought up on stage to get the photo. Keith was hilarious. The holder of another sign that read, "Kiss me. I'm getting hitched!" was also brought on stage. She was wearing her souvenir Keith Urban hoodie and was quick to answer when Keith asked who's playing at the wedding: "You are." he asked for the date and then told the band to mark the date in their diaries.

Guitar great
© 2014 divacultura

Further into the show, he walked through the crowd up to another microphone that had been set up half way up one of the wings of the arena. He played and sang from there. The crowd was going wild - except for the sour looking woman standing next to his left leg. She was so absorbed in her mobile phone and trying to work out how to take a photo - and pushing her husband out of the way - that she didn't see a thing. And her face was something to behold.  I took some photos on my iphone, but really noticed a lot of people seemed to be only watching the show through the screen they held in their hands. What's the point of that?

At the end of the song, Keith signed the guitar he was playing and handed it to a boy who was wearing a Keith Urban t-shirt. The boy looked to be about eleven years old and he was beside himself with happiness and shock. It was quite moving.

The encore showcased some of the best music of the night and the band threw picks and drum sticks to the crowd. Keith's wristbands were also flung, one landing somewhere near us. People scrambled under chairs in the dark to find it.

After all the music had been played, the band took a bow and Keith stepped forward to thank us for coming. He acknowledged that it costs a lot of money to come to shows like these and he said he knew that most people wouldn't be able to go to every show they wanted to. That meant that we'd made choices and he really appreciated us choosing to come to his show. "Thank you."

Keith Urban is an incredible guitarist, pretty good song writer, vibrant performer and it would seem, humble and real. It brings something extra to the show.

In ballad mode
© 2014 divacultura

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