|Keith Urban played Scotiabank Place in Ottawa Friday and at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Saturday. (ERROL MCGIHON/QMI AGENCY)
TORONTO - The movie stars were in town for TIFF this weekend and so was one huge country music star who is married to a big screen actress.
Australia’s Keith Urban, the husband of Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, brought his Get Closer tour to the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night drawing some 12,000 fans.
The inclusive and talented entertainer that he is, Urban more than lived up to that tour title named after his 2010 album.
Playing on brightly lit, semi-circular stage dominated by a large circular video screen and slanted ramps down the floor, Urban kicked off the night with the rollicking I’m Going To Put You in A Song and Days Go By, backed by his crack four-piece band.
“It’s so nice to be back up in Canada, I got to tell you,” said Urban, who had moved closer to the audience by the third song, I Told You, onto one of two small satellite stages.
Urban seemed to want to see the crowd too so he got out a large spotlight and panned the audience before finally pulling a blonde female fan up on stage with him who admitted she’d also seen him Friday night in Ottawa.
“Ontario is so friendly, God!” said Urban after hugging the fan. “If you want to sing and dance and scream, this is the concert to do it at.”
Certainly, Urban worked the room exhaustively over the course of two hours and 20 minutes.
After wailing away with electric guitar solos on Raining On Sunday and Stupid Boy (and later on Till Summer Comes Around while treading on a moving walkway no less), Urban used his acoustic guitar and mic stand in an impressive percussion display during a short solo version of Paul McCartney’s Silly Love Songs.
But it was when Urban left the large stage and high-fived fans before arriving at a smaller revolving and elevating satellite stage in the middle of the floor that he really had the crowd in the palm of his hand during I’m In and Jeans On.
“Who’s got the best seat now?” he asked, before switching to acoustic guitar on You’ll Think Of Me.
When Urban returned to the main stage after three songs, he kept the momentum going with such upbeat numbers as Sweet Thing, and Kiss A Girl, which featured a singing contest between four fans that Urban had dragged up from the audience.
When one female fan was interrupted by another, who pulled the microphone out of her hand mid-song while filming it all at the same time, Urban fell to his knees laughing and eventually the winner proved to be the last minute entry - Sarah from Brampton.
Not surprisingly, a snippet of the Twilight Zone was played by Urban on his acoustic guitar right afterwards, before he got more serious with Without You, the ode to his daughter with Kidman.
But it was the positively anthemic Somebody Like You, Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Me, and You Look Good in My Shirt (which saw Urban wander into the stands at the back of the floor to perform) that truly inspired.
Urban was also a generous performer allowing his bassist and two guitarists to take over on lead vocals, respectively, on snippets of U2’s With Or Without You, Tom Petty’s American Girl and AC/DC’s It’s a Long Way to the Top as he introduced them.
By the time Urban returned for an encore with Tonight I Wanna Cry and Better Life, the latter which included confetti and streamers, it was hard to believe there was an unsatisfied fan in the place.