Keith Urban thrills crowd with wild 'n' rockin' show at Oakdale Published: Monday, September 06, 2010, 2:11 AM Updated: Monday, September 06, 2010, 2:28 AM Kevin O'Hare, The Republican Kevin O'Hare, The Republican
WALLINGFORD, CONN. – Keith Urban is 42 years old but he makes teenage girls scream as loud as their mothers.
He also manages to ignite the animal instincts in virtually every female of any age but this is no boy toy under bright lights. Urban may be well chiseled and camera friendly but he’s also a phenomenal entertainer, a barn-burning guitar player and a passionate singer, as he proved again and again Sunday before a packed house at the Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre.
The Australian heartthrob – husband of actress Nicole Kidman – turned in a rollicking two hour finale to his “Summer Lovin’” tour, often drawing Beatlemania type shrieks from the predominantly female audience. Wearing jeans and a tight, short-sleeve black shirt with three buttons undone, he kicked off the night with the pulsating “Kiss a Girl,” ably backed by his three-piece band.
Urban is classified as country but he’s marginal country and falls a lot more into the crossover rock territory. Except for an occasional bit of twang it’s tough to figure why any rock fan would write him off thinking simply that “he’s that country guy.” Indeed, Urban can rock with the best of them and his high-energy stage show is absolutely one of the best in the business.
After a rockin’ “Days Go By,” other early set highlights included a harmony-filled “Sweet Thing,” a kickin’ “Where the Blacktop Ends,” and the highly-melodic crowd fave “You’re My Better Half.” A strong “I’m In,” off Urban’s latest album “Defying Gravity,” followed before the atmospheric, slow building “’Til Summer Comes Around,” which featured some stellar guitar work by the star.
The acoustic-based ballad “Making Memories of Us,” and the sing-along “Only You Can Love Me This Way,” each shined, but after that, Urban and his bandmates turned up the power and the intensity for the rest of the night.
Opening act Kris Allen, winner of the eighth season of “American Idol” joined Urban for a rousing cover of “Jack and Diane,” and when Allen briefly drew a blank on some of the lyrics, Urban had the rising star and the crowd laughing when he shouted out “And you won ‘American Idol?’”
The crowd went into near total hysteria when Urban jumped into the audience for a raucous rendition of the playful “You Look Good in My Shirt.” This wasn’t just an obligatory step or two into the first couple of rows. Urban raced up the aisles singing the song, providing quite a challenge for the security staff trying to keep up with him – while trying to keep fans from some overly-aggressive star-grabbing. Urban even stood in the center of the theatre, singing heartily near the soundboard to fire up the crowd in the back of the room. Mission accomplished and then some. He was laughing by the time he finally returned to the stage, ending the song flat on his back, evoking a deafening roar from the throng.
There was still time for plenty of passion however, especially during the lyrically stinging “You’ll Think of Me,” a classic break-up song. In a classy gesture, Urban brought out his friend and Australian country star Troy Cassar-Daley who took center stage for a fine version of Curtis Mayfield’s gospel soul classic “People Get Ready.”
After the optimistic “Better Life,” Urban returned for encores that included a solo version of Dusty Springfield’s often-covered “I Only Want to Be With You,” and the full-band workout “Somebody Like You.”
Allen’s opening set was well received, sparked by a driving rendition of his newest single “The Truth,” his breakthrough hit “Live Like We’re Dying,” and covers of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and The Beatles’ “Come Together,” the latter two culled from his “American Idol” appearances.
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