One day after his 51st birthday, country music star Keith Urban rocked the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York with the 58th show of his Graffiti U World Tour. Appearing on a riser above the stage to an exhilarated crowd, Keith began with his current line-dancing party song, “Never Comin Down” off his eleventh studio album, Graffiti U.
Followed by successful hits “Days Go By” and “Coming Home”, the former American Idol judge paused to chat with the audience, upon which he selected Emily from Long Island to join him on stage. Together, they sang a shortened, acoustic version of “Stupid Boy” to a cheering crowd.
Keith then continued with “Somewhere In My Car” and “Long Hot Summer” during which we got to experience the visuals on the panoramic screens that spread across the length of the stage, and the first of many “what did he just do?” guitar solos. Being one of the best guitarists in the biz, Keith provided the audience with several awe-inspiring solos that left us wanting more.
Backed by his four-man band, the award-winning country singer from New Zealand produced a 29-song set that lasted more than two-and-a-half hours. His tunes kept everyone on their feet most of the night as he played hit after hit spanning his 20-year career.
About ten songs in, opener Kelsea Ballerini came back out to sing Miranda Lambert’s lines with Keith in the duet, “We Were Us”. By the way, Kelsea Ballerini performed a generous 45-minute set to open for Keith. She came out saying, “What’s up, Brooklyn?” and proudly announced that the little glimmering dress she had was bought in New York. She sang all of her hits, but had a mishap during “Yeah, Boy” where one of her press-on nails from Walgreen’s flew into the audience by accident. It was comical to say the least, and the nail was never found.
Back to Keith: There was another acoustic reprise of “Stupid Boy” where Keith stood center stage with two orange spotlights on him which was followed by the upbeat “Somebody Like You”.
At the halfway point of the concert, Keith mentioned that while his wife, Nicole Kidman, was filming the upcoming movie, “Boy Erased” in Georgia with actor Russell Crowe, Crowe kept badgering him to listen to a particular band. Keith then introduced the audience to Rebecca and Megan Lovell – sisters of the rock duo, Larkin Poe. Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are descendants of the late, great author, Edgar Allan Poe. They performed two songs with Keith on stage, “Wade in the Water” and “Where the Blacktop Ends” with an awesome guitar jam during the latter. I highly suggest you give them a listen since they were exceptionally talented.
“The Fighter” had Carrie Underwood projected on to the big screen behind Keith and as the sing-a-long continued, Keith walked through the crowd high-fiving everyone he could, and settled on a U-shaped secondary stage set up at the front of house. He sang a medley of “Kiss a Girl”, “Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me”, “You Look Good in My Shirt” and the Tiësto & Dzeko cover of “Jackie Chan” before signing the guitar he was playing and handing it to an unsuspecting fan in the audience. He then worked his way back to the main stage, again, high-fiving everyone in his path.
The crescendo of tunes started with “Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)”, the medley of “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” and the Police cover “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” and ended with everyone on their feet exuberantly singing “Wasted Time”. Keith waved to the audience and left the stage as the crowd screamed for more.
Hardly anyone left the building, and after a few minutes, Keith sauntered back out on stage alone and humbly asked “Brooklyn, you still here?” The crowd responded in a loud cheer as he began his encore performance. As an image of Waylon Jennings appeared on the screen, Keith told the crowd that the guitar he was about to play was from the late, great country musician. He added that he was going to play the third single from his first album, and that “But for the Grace of God”, happened to be the first song to reach number one status, “and you never forget your first,” he said. He then ended the night with the band joining him for one last song, “Horses”, off the new album, before the night was over.
The Graffiti U World Tour heads to Europe on Jan. 23 and ends in Dublin, Ireland on March 10, 2019. This is the twelfth concert tour by Keith Urban.
Photos and Text by Debby Wong