September 4, 2010

Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman Updates 09/04/10

Keith Urban proves he's worthy of entertainer of the year accolades with electric Allentown Fair performance

Alyssa Young

Country superstar Keith Urban showed thousands at The Great Allentown Fair on Friday night why he’s nominated for the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award.

“Tonight is all about you guys,” Urban said during the first of several fun interactions with captivated fans. “If you want to sing and scream and dance and completely annoy the people beside you, this is the place to be.”

The male vocalist of the year nominee kicked off a nonstop string of hit songs with “Kiss a Girl” off his 2009 “Defying Gravity” album and juiced up each of his familiar, catchy tunes with electrifying guitar solos.

He showed he knows how to rock and has a great time doing it. He smiled and laughed often, especially while engaging the audience in sing-alongs — sometimes with made-up lyrics.

“I’m making this up as I go along. Something, something, something, something that rhymes with long,” he joked. The next line was “A” through “K” of the alphabet, and he was amused when the crowd repeated after him. “You went with it, I love it.”

The lineup included “Days Go By,” “Sweet Thing” and “Stupid Boy” followed by “Where the Blacktop Ends” and “You’re My Better Half.” He slowed it down for “Til Summer Comes Around,” “Memories of Us” and “Only You Can Love Me This Way.”

When he introduced his bass player and guitarist, teasing that they also play instruments such as the bagpipes and triangle, he divulged that they can sing, too. Each impressed by belting out a few bars.

Kris Allen, the winner of “American Idol” Season 8, returned to the stage midway through Urban’s set to join him for a lighthearted rendition of John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane” (see video below).

Allen had started the show ably, with strong vocals and stage presence. Besides his recent releases currently on radio play lists, Allen pulled from his “Idol” songbook with Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and “Come Together” by the Beatles.

It was hot in the grandstand’s uncomfortable wooden seats, and at least a few ticket holders sitting in the highest rows recalled choosing seats closer to the stage than they actually received. But the conditions didn’t matter once Urban and his band began flooding the fairgrounds with their energetic rhythms.

keith urban allentown fair grandstandView full sizeExpress-Times Photo | ALYSSA YOUNGKeith Urban performs "You Look Good in My Shirt" on the grandstand at The Great Allentown Fair.
Urban got the entire crowd on its feet during “You Look Good in My Shirt,” when he ran off the stage while playing a guitar covered in color-changing lights and moved quickly through the rows of ground-level seating to climb the stairs onto the grandstand. Fans who had been enjoying the show from a distance were thrilled for the special attention.

Back on the stage, he continued with “Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me,” “You’ll Think of Me” and “Better Life.” A rousing encore of “Somebody Like You” ended the night.

Urban has grown as an entertainer since his 2005 performance at Musikfest in Bethlehem, the year he won the CMA’s coveted entertainer and male vocalist of the year awards. He’s built a richer collection of hit songs and a more interactive show since then, so he certainly persuaded the Allentown Fair crowd he’s worthy of repeat victories in both categories.

Other show notes:

* It was funny hearing Urban say "Pennsylvania" in his Australian accent.
* Female fans didn't seem to care that he said "Memories of Us" was for his wife, Nicole Kidman. They hooted after the line, "I'm going to be there to greet you with a warm, wet kiss."
* It took much longer than normal to get to the fairgrounds due to traffic resulting from another tragedy Friday afternoon on Interstate 78.* Urban introduced his drummer as "born and raised in PA," but a YouTube video search turned up a clip from an Indiana concert during which Urban, coincidentally, said the drummer was an Indiana native.
* The show kept the complete attention of this reviewer's 5-year-old son from start to finish. He sang along and clapped and never lost interest despite the show continuing well past bedtime.

For more photos click HERE

Keith Urban rocks crowd

For an hour and 40 minutes Friday, country superstar Keith Urban kept an Allentown Fair grandstand enrapt with just his voice and guitar.

Yes, Urban had a three-piece band behind him. And his stage had a huge video screen and the usual smoke and lights. But it's not likely the crowd of 8,744 paid any attention to it any of it while Urban was singing.

The Australian Urban was that engaging. Through 17 songs, he sang loose and with abandon, soft and sensitive, and fast and fun. And his guitar playing was at least as good as his voice – and often an inspired match. Early in the show, on "Stupid Boy," his touching vocals paired perfectly with the equally aching whine of his guitar.

Urban had the crowd from the opening "Kiss a Girl," which already had them singing along. Actually, he probably won them earlier by playing Billy Joel's "Allentown" over the speakers right before he came on stage.
» SIGN UP FOR MOBILE ALERTS ... AND WIN!! The latest news, sports & more, plus a chance to win a new DROID X!

But he had them so completely that at one point, after letting the crowd sing a good chunk of "You're My Better Half,' he sang nonsensical words only to have them echo it back, then did the same with the A-B-C's.

"It was a great time," he imagined the crowd recounting the show. "We went to see Keith Urban and sang the damned alphabet." Earlier, he had told the crowd, "You guys are in a good mood; I can tell." And later, "mighty fine singing!"

But Urban earned that devotion. By the sixth song, less than a half hour into his set, his hair already was matted with sweat. Later, during a seven-minute "You Look Good in My Shirt," he ventured through the crowd and into the grandstand, where he stood singing and playing, then played as he walked back through the crowd. (When he had a woman sing a chorus, the crowd even cheered her.)

The secret to Urban's success may be that, except for an occasional twang, he's essentially a rocker. "Where the Blacktop Ends" was straightforward rock – and harder rock at that. Even his solo on the more country "Sweet Thing" was a hard-rock solo – he lifted his leg in a swimming motion as he played.

But perhaps the best part was a three-song slow section, with him on a stool with an acoustic guitar, in the middle of the show. "Making Memories," which he introduced as "a song for my wife" (actress Nicole Kidman), was lovely, with its soul-bearing lyrics. When he sang the line about meeting her in the afterlife with a "warm, wet kiss," the crowd roared.

The night's best song was "Til Sumer Comes Around," on which Urban was in very good voice. It captured the melancholy of the late summer night, with its lyrics about Ferris wheels, and mournful guitar solo. And talk about special effects: A cool breeze wafted through the arena as if on cue.

He brought his opening act, "American Idol" winner Kris Allen, on stage for a nice cover of John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" – which fit Allen pretty much perfectly; that's the musical style he needs to follow.

He closed with "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me," the crowd singing the whole first verse, then — again seated and acoustic — "You'll Think of Me," and finally "Better Life."

He came back for an encore of Dusty Springfield's "I Only Want to Be With You" [Although, judging by the ages of the crowd, they probably knew the Bay City Rollers' version better] and a rollicking "Somebody Like You," which he not only extended, but mashed up with "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)." He jumped and leaned way over backward as he played and even blew water out of his mouth.

And so strong was the crowd's applause that, two minutes after leaving stage, he came out for a second bow. "Great night, tonight, Allentown," he said, and he seemed sincere.

Allen's set of nine songs in 42 minutes often was surprisingly good. On many songs, his voice was far stronger, forceful and more disciplined than when he was on "Idol" — such as the opening "Can't Stay Away" and a thumping, gutsy cover of Kanye West's "Heartless" that segued into Coolio's "Gangster's Paradise."

Perhaps his best — aside from the aforementioned "Jack and Diane" cover — was "Alright With Me," a loose, jaunty folk-pop song that was so good, it got the audience clapping spontaneously.

Keith Urban covers Dusty Springfield's "Only Want To Be With You"!


New York magazine already has the 2011 Best Actress Oscar race pegged as a "death match" lol

Oscar Death Match: Is This the Best Best Actress Year Ever?

Typically in these newsless final weeks of August, bloggers look ahead to Oscar season and bemoan the shortage of plausible Best Actress candidates. Not this year, though! Might 2010 be the greatest-ever year for the category? In the past week, Oscarologists Scott Feinberg and Peter Knegt both surveyed the field and found a glut of strong contenders. Already we've seen Oscar-quality performances from Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Tilda Swinton (I Am Love), and Julianne Moore and Annette Bening (in The Kids Are All Right) — and there are plenty more where those came from.

Other likely candidates include: Lesley Manville (Another Year), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine), and Naomi Watts (Fair Game) — all performances that have been seen and raved about at festivals.

But they'll presumably have heavy competition from Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs), Hilary Swank (Conviction), Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech), Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Robin Wright (The Conspirator), Reese Witherspoon (How Do You Know), and Helen Mirren (The Tempest).

And, hey, if any of the above should disappoint, there's maybe Diane Lane (Secretariat), Jennifer Connelly (What's Wrong With Virginia), Bryce Dallas Howard (Hereafter), and Diane Keaton (Morning Glory).

For more click HERE.


For fun, here's a Jonas Brothers cover of Keith's "Somebody Like You" from their recent VA Beach show


Post a Comment