Keith Urban: Livin' Right Now
by H.notes Staff Writer mmm_marica@hanson.net

I am not a big fan of country music. Actually I am not a fan at all. It has nothing to do with the lyrics although it helps. I mean, come on: Who You Gonna Believe, Me Or Your Lying Eyes? Or If the Phone Don't Ring, Baby, You'll Know It's Me. Mention country to me and the first thing that comes to mind is Dolly Parton and trailer trash folk. I know, I know - I am grossly generalising.

That's maybe why I resisted the repeated invites from a friend of mine and a fellow Hanson fan to check Keith Urban out. Not even the remark, "He reminds me of Taylor" could tempt me. He is country - end of story.

I resisted the temptation to check him out even when my beloved Nicole Kidman decided that "he was the one" and betrothed him. I mean, she is one of the classiest actresses today, says it all.

And then a couple of months ago, I heard an electric guitar solo coming from the TV in the living room. I listened to a few moments and was simply amazed at the skill and the melody. I dropped whatever I was doing to check it out and lo and behold, that was our future and favourite son-in-law. I listened and simply fell in love with the song and the catchy tune (You're My Better Half) but most of all - with his incredible guitar playing skill. This country? Hm.

So anyway - I got his CD "Be Here" and loved it, I checked him out on his website and a couple of tabloids (after all he was marrying one of the biggest Hollywood stars) and decided to get his DVD. And I watch it quite often and can't help grooving. The rhythm is simply irresistible.

The DVD was filmed in November 2004 during two concerts at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles (there you go - a Hanson connection!). It starts with Urban alone on stage playing acoustic intro to These Are The Days. Then after the first verse the band joins and from then on, the show never stops, loses energy to the last chord.

The show is dominated by Urban's prodigious talent as guitarist. His guitar playing skill is incredible, he's definitely a virtuoso on his instrument but what amazes me the most is the ease with which he plays. Never missing a beat, during Blacktop, he decides to take off into the audience, and do a walkabout throughout the theatre, mobbed by the fans. Sounds like an oxymoron, but the term "country rock god" comes to mind when watching this DVD.

Urban's perfectly pitched vocal also contributes to the whole feel. It's a lot of passion that he unleashes to his grateful audience especially in the few beautiful ballads Making Memories Of Us, You'll Think Of Me and Tonight I Wanna Cry. His connection and interaction with the crowd is amazing (I mean come on, who signs autographs and takes photos with the fans while singing?) and the crowd gets involved to the max (especially on the cover of Tom Petty's Free Falin')

Urban never wipes the smile of his face. It's not a showman's gimmick, you can tell that he loves every second of it. He is laughing and genuinely having a lot of fun and so does his band which consists of 3 guitar players, a keyboard player and a drummer - all very tight and seasoned musicians. I guess that's what years and years of playing gigs in bars do to you.

There are 19 songs in the concert part (from the last three Urban's albums) and 3 songs recorded during the sound check. Two hours pass in a flash, it's never boring, you never go for the skip button. You simply can't. The energy is simply contagious. Trust me.

Oh. And if you think that that's Aussie accent - you are wrong. The American twang is definitely there. But hey. Nobody is perfect!

Track Listing

1. These Are The Days
2. Days Go By
3. Better Life
4. Raining On Sunday
5. You Won
6. You're My Better Half
7. Blacktop
8. Grace Of God
9. The Hard Way
10. Making Memories Of Us
11. Jeans On
12. You'll Think Of Me
13. She's Gotta Be
14. You Look Good In My Shirt
15. Free Fallin'
16. Somebody Like You
17. Tonight I Wanna Cry
18. Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me
19. These Are The Days
20. You're Not Alone Tonight (Sound Check)
21. Don't Shut Me Out (Sound Check)
22. Homespun Love (Sound Check)