Anyone meandering through Boston Friday evening, July 8, 2011 who heard threatening rumbles of what sounded like an earthquake need not be concerned. The explosion was country superstar Keith Urban delivering a two hour, hard-rockin’ country music performance of seismic proportion.
No, I Don’t Think Hank Done It That Way ! but Boston’s sure glad Keith Urban did.
If you were lucky enough to have a ticket to Keith’s Get Closer concert at the Boston Garden (TD Garden) Friday, July 8th you know exactly what that means. If you weren’t … you missed both a record-breaking performance and entertainer.
For a venue large enough to host a 19,000 capacity crowd, there was a very close, intimate feel to the entire evening. The curtain fell, the crowd rose, and for two hours Keith Urban left not one entertainment button unturned.
He immediately Put You In A Song then spent the evening electrifying, engaging and entertaining this standing ovation crowd. He wasted not one second Getting Closer in song, in spirit, in the crowd. And I’ve finally caught my breath, so let me fill you in on this amusement park themed concert that rolled through town.
To say Urban brought his passion for and feel of a summer carnival indoors is an understatement. But make no mistake about it, this was no circus act. From the props to the gimmicks, to the lighting, atmosphere and set list, Keith Urban’s Get Closer Tour is well planned and well orchestrated.
The ginormous Ferris wheel screen took turns highlighting Keith, the band, random footage and the audience. A side show that caused a symphonic squeal from the crowd as they recognized themselves going ’round. The remainder of the Ferris wheel danced in sync and intermittently with lighting, engulfing you in an illusion of amusement park fantasy as Urban physically, vocally and spontaneously emitted an electrifying pulse creating an atmospheric connection.
Keith Urban may not be selling out double-billed 50,000 seat stadiums. He may not even be selling out every venue. But most importantly, Keith’s not selling out the crowd.
Whether you were hung up in the less expensive balcony, front and center with expensive floor seats, encircling the venue in the loge or comfortably rubbing elbows with the echelon in the clubhouse, Keith noticed, included and acknowledged you.
As he did both the venue and the team that hung a banner overhead. Admitting “I don’t play hockey but I do plan on trying to make you feel as good as they did that night” Urban’s shout out to the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup winners caused a sonic explosion of clapping, cheering and howling that surely left the Zakim shaken – an eruption that could only be settled by Keith strumming a few strings on his Fender.
Urban definitely had his work cut out for him. And with a discography as large and awarded as Keith’s, I had pre-concert concern as to how he would possibly put together a set list. But leave it to Keith to have meticulously arranged an unending arcade of amusement.
The evening was by no means, though, an un-sequenced rolling set list. This carnival was well concepted and well concerted. Whether it was a guitar giveaway during Shirt, the enchanting seduction of Georgia Woods, the illusion of a star filled Long Hot Summer night or Keith’s Grammy winning, concert-themed and memory-inducing ‘Til Summer Comes Around, every performance was a prize to take home.
Re-introducing an old favorite, Urban put his Jeans On and took off. I’m not sure where he got the energy and stamina to continue after what he’d already delivered. But continue he did with high-powered guitar solos, engaging crowd dynamics, luscious ballads and country-rockin’ uptempos. Like Gumby, Urban played limbo with the microphone during an electrifying performance of I’m In, flawlessly picked a Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me outro while lying face up on the stage floor, and while I personally miss the depth of its piano performance, Keith’s encore of Tonight I Wanna Cry left me in teary-eyed reminiscence of … some Stupid Boy !
So who got the “big teddy bear”? It’s honestly hard to hand out. But I’d have to say it went to Keith’s Kiss A Girl sing-along performance which evolved into a Kiss A Girl sing-off contest with an earth-shattering eruption applauding a contestant named Brian from Attleboro, Massachusetts unquestionably as the evening’s “big teddy bear” winner ! This guy was a natural and Keith was enjoying every engaging moment.
Well, “if I could press play, repeat, how happy I’d be, wherever I’d go I’d have you there with me” definitely sums up this amusement park themed concert experience. So I’ll leave Keith’s grand finale for you to enjoy yourself if you’re smart enough to have snagged tickets to Get Closer to him.
But as the saying goes, “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” And while Keith painstakingly went out of his way to roll this indoor amusement park concert atmosphere into town, there was one major flaw – the evening eventually had to end and neither Boston nor Urban wanted to face it.