Keith Urban w/ Jake Owen @ Prudential Center (July 14, 2011)
On Thursday, July 14, 2011 I made my way to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey to attend my first Country concert of the year featuring Keith Urban with Jake Owen. Due to a bit of confusion on my part to find the parking lot, I missed half of Jake Owen’s setlist. I was lucky enough to catch my favorite song from the Florida native, “Startin’ with Me” as I made my way to my seats. I sat in Section 4, Row B, which was to my liking very much. Even though I wasn’t close to the stage, I had almost straigh-away center so I could see everything the way it was meant to be seen.
Jake Owen played for approximately 45 minutes and after a half hour intermission, Keith Urban took the stage around 8:45. Typically, the majority (if not all) of the crowd was there to see Keith and jumped up from their seats in anticipation. He blasted off from the get-go with some high-energy, catchy songs “Put You In a Song,” “I Told You So,” and “You Gonna Fly.” The stage was decorated with one, large circular LCD screen that branched from what looked like a roller-coaster track on the backdrop.
For those who are unfamiliar with a Keith Urban concert, let me paint you a picture. Keith is without a doubt one of the better entertainers, not only in Country music, but popular music in general. He loves to interact with the crowd, whether that involves sing-a-longs or actually walking through the audience and singing a song in the aisles. His show is also full of state-of-the-art technology with a dazzling light show and special effects that always ends with a blizzard of confetti and streamers. Needless to say, it’s impossible not to have fun at a Keith Urban concert.
Just like the rollercoaster displayed on the stage in front of a packed crowd at Prudential Center, Keith Urban’s setlist was full of ups and downs, changing from fast-tempo hits to his slower and more melodic tunes. My favorite moment of the concert was was he made his way to a small side stage that was located in the middle of the arena. Here, he played my favorite track “You’ll Think of Me,” seated on top of a rotating stage to make sure he doesn’t have his back to any part of the audience for too long. Keith doesn’t have a more powerful song in his arsenal than that, and I was a bit concerned that the second half of his set would falter because of it, but I was wrong.
Once he made his way back to the main stage, he continued to play tracks off of his more recent albums like “Georgia Woods,” “Til Summer Comes Around,” and “Sweet Thing.” Now remember what I was saying about crowd interaction? During “Kiss A Girl” he pulled three random fans to the stage and they each sang the chorus individually in front of the thousands present. The idea was fun, but what made it memorable was one of the fans bouncing around stage and singing while he sang the chorus. Even Keith couldn’t help but to belt out a hearty laugh, and the crowd ate every second of it up.
To finish off his show, he went through his routine of performing “You Look Good In My Shirt” while walking through the crowd and then signing and giving his guitar to one very lucky fan. Then his encore consisted of an acoustic version of “Tonight I Wanna Cry” and then his anthem “Better Life.”
While the show was great fun, nothing really happened during this show that I haven’t experienced during the past two years of attending a Keith Urban concert. Don’t get me wrong, I had an absolute great time, but the thought is now beginning to slip into my mind whether or not I need to see another Keith Urban concert in the near future, unless he announces a change in his touring routines (or if he releases a gem of an album). But it has become a regularity to expect a show of this caliber from Keith Urban. He met those expectations, but he did not surpass them.