He’s a country star from another hemisphere whose surname is Urban, but nearly two decades into an illustrious and hit-studded career, Keith Urban remains one of music’s brightest stars.
Thursday night, the New Zealand native drew a crowd in excess of 15,000 to the Providence Medical Center Amphitheater in Bonner Springs. He delivered two hours of music that tapped into strains of hard rock, pop and soul, plus the occasional acknowledgment of country music, the genre and radio format that has made him a megaplatinum artist. A couple of songs veered into the electronic/disco realm, like his version of “Where the Blacktop Ends.”
He opened with “Gone Tomorrow (Here Today),” a single from his latest album, “Ripcord.” From there, the set list bounced through his prodigious catalog: to “Long Hot Summer,” a track from 2010’s “Get Closer” album; then to “Break On Me,” a “Ripcord” single; then to “Where the Blacktop Ends,” a favorite from his self-titled album, now 17 years old.
Urban is a guitar slinger who’s not shy about showing off his skills, which he did throughout the show but without indulging in clichés or showboating. He also played banjo on “Wasted Time” and bass on “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” which also included a solo by drummer Seth Rausch. (Earlier in the show, Urban brought on stage two fans from Oklahoma, who gave him a guitar strap emblazoned with “John 3:16.”)
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He performed duets with both of his openers: “We Were Us,” with Maren Morris, and “Somebody Like You,” with Brett Eldredge, which was performed on a satellite stage set up at the front of the lawn section, facing the rowdy throng on the hill. Carrie Underwood also made an appearance via video on “The Fighter.”
The stage show included elaborate lighting that added more flash to a show that reached a fever pitch several times, like during the dramatic version of “Cop Car.”
Other highlights: the hits, including “Days Go By,” “Everybody,” “You Look Good In My Shirt” and “Long Hot Summer,” all of which prompted loud and widespread sing-alongs.
The show ended with a blizzard of confetti, then a three-song encore. Urban performed the first two as solos on guitar, as if he were singing in a coffee shop: “Grace of God,” then “Stupid Boy.” His band joined him for the finale, “Raise ’Em Up,” an anthem with spiritual and patriotic themes that sounded as country as anything Urban performed all night.
Gone Tomorrow (Here Today); Long Hot Summer; Break on Me; Where the Blacktop Ends; Somewhere in My Car; Everybody; Blue Ain’t Your Color; Gettin’ In the Way; Days Go By; We Were Us (with Maren Morris); Cop Car; The Fighter (with Carrie Underwood); You Gonna Fly; You Look Good in My Shirt; Somebody Like You (with Brett Eldredge); That Could Still Be Us; Little Bit of Everything; Sun Don’t Let Me Down; Wasted Time; John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16; But for the Grace of God; Stupid Boy; Raise ’em Up