Staggering various deadlines for stories and photos with breaks between bands and late nights, I’ve fallen a bit behind with the ol’ area voices. So here’s to catching up…
So far Keith Urban has been the big surprise. I never saw him live before and wasn’t overly familiar with his music, but if there were others like me at WE Fest on Thursday, his headlining set may have won them over, too.
Sure, he’s equally as well known for who he married as what he plays, but man can he play. It’s not traditional country (the guy’s Australian after all), in fact it’s really just pop with country accents, but he pulls it off with real stage presence and real freatboard fireworks.
Which makes me wonder, when did country get all big on guitar solos and big drums? There is a correlation between that and making country more pop and rock.
But back to Urban. From the first tune, "Kiss a Girl," he commanded the stage and crowd. After the next couple numbers, "Days go by," "Stupid Boy" and "I’m in," it was clear he wasn’t going to let up.
He did slow things down toward the middle of set with some acoustic songs, but if you were in general admission, you had trouble hearing such hushed tunes.
After noodling around with some covers (Bill Withers’ "Ain’t no Sunshine" and Journey’s "Open Arms") he invited Troy Gentry fom Montgomery Gentry up to sing John Cougar Mellencamp’s "Jack and Diane."
The highlight was during "You Look Good in My Shirt" when he walked into the crowd and worked his way through the mob of Urban-ites to the back of the VIP seats. Once there, he got up on a wall and continued the song. Amazingly, he emerged with his shirt intact.
For an encore, he really took country global for a cover of Bob Marley’s "Is This Love?" He ended on his own note, the popppy "Somebody Like You."