Keith Urban covered lots of ground Friday night at the Sprint Center.
By TIMOTHY FINN
The Kansas City Star
His set list covered 10 of his Top 10 country hits. He covered songs by a variety of other performers, including Adele, Fun, the Who and REO Speedwagon. He covered lots of territory inside the arena, leaving the stage a few times, once to trot to a satellite stage at the other end and back and once to mingle with some of the 10,000 fans in the place.
And during his encore, which included “You Look Good in My Shirt,” he covered his own shirt with a Chiefs jersey, which set off an uproarious ovation. He also brought onstage his opening acts to accompany him: Little Big Town on “You Gonna Fly’; Dustin Lynch on “Kiss a Girl; and Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town on the duet “We Were Us.”
On top of all that, he brought a dazzling video display and other visuals (lights, confetti) and a four-piece band that sounded at times like a band twice its size. And more than a dozen times, at least, he reminded everyone in the arena what he can do with a guitar, electric or acoustic.
It all made for a rollicking, fast-paced show from a guy who has been in the music business for more than 20 years but hasn’t lost his zest for performing and treating his fans like friends and royalty.
The two-hour show began with little fanfare: The PA was still piping in recorded music as Urban took the stage, alone, starting a slow wave of applause and cheers. Then the rest of his band joined him, one by one, and played an instrumental. Then the stage lit up and they played “Long Hot Summer,” the first song on a set list that would exceed two dozen numbers, including a few snippets of songs, like Fun’s “Some Nights.”
He is touring on “Fuse,” his eighth studio album, released in September, but Urban played only a few of its songs, including “We Were Us,” the duet he recorded with Miranda Lambert, whose role Fairchild filled more than capably. The rest of the set was loaded with hits, his own and others, and the rowdy crowd before him was in a mood to join in all night, vocally and otherwise.
Urban is a country star, but his music is rock and pop with country accents. His songs, many of which he has written or co-written, typically address romance and its ups and downs and not the small-town/dirt-road/pickup-truck lore that fills so much country music these days.
His personality only embellishes his image: the matinee-idol looks, the movie-star wife (Nicole Kidman) and his role as a judge on “American Idol.” Yet he handles his celebrity with humility and grace. He stopped the show for several minutes to bring onstage three women, who then got autographs, hugs and a few phone portraits.
With so many hits at his disposal, he had little trouble keeping the crowd engaged, rattling off all those Top 10 songs, anthems and ballads like “Raining on Sunday,” “Good Thing,” “Kiss a Girl,” which he sang with Lynch, “Better Life” and “But for the Grace of God,” a song he co-wrote with two members of the Go-Gos. For his encore, he came out wearing a No. 1 Chiefs home jersey with his name on back, took a seat at a piano and sang a bit of that before segueing into “Keep on Loving You,” which ignited one of the loudest sing-alongs of the evening.
He closed with one of his biggest hits, “You Look Good in My Shirt,” a song about the morning after — sex, romance and love on the mend. Yep, he covered just about everything Friday night.
To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.