The opening night of the Australian leg of Keith Urban’s GRAFFITI U tour followed the special one-off show supporting the farmers in Tamworth, and it was clear from the start that the good vibes were still very much in play!
A pretty much sold old venue, pretty full despite the early start, saw a lively set from support act Julia Michaels, a highly accomplished pop songwriter for the likes of Britney, Bieber, and Gwen Stefani, who kicked off her own singing career 2 years ago. With a full band, Julia delivered a slick, up-tempo pop country set, including Issues, the Grammy-nominated track from the recent 50 Shades movie.
After the short break, the absolute superstar that is Keith Urban appeared in silhouette at the back of the stage, and the band kicked off Never Coming Down from the new album, followed by Days Go By from 15 years earlier. Keith sings most of this one from side of stage, before rolling into the single he wrote with his support act, Coming Home.
Then we get an impromptu review from Keith of a few banners and signs, including a “Please Will You Play At My Wedding” which saw the young lady hauled up onstage, and on discovering her fiance was at home, Keith ‘face-timed’ along with 10,000 fans, for a chat! A couple of selfies with Keith and the crowd, in a really easy, informal way, and then we are back off with the music, and Somewhere In My Car from the FUSE record.
Unsurprisingly Keith has a super tight band of multi-instrumentalists, including Jerry Flowers from Keith’s initial band, The Ranch, on bass and guitar, Danny Rader on guitars, keys, banjo and mandolin, Seth Rausch on drums and Nathan Barlowe on keyboards and guitars – and the sound in this large tin-shed is of superb quality. But there is no doubt where the focus is, on the ever-smiling front-man, who, just quietly, can absolutely rip on the guitar.
There is great interplay between Keith and Danny at the start of Long Hot Summer, and features a tasty solo from Keith on the riser stage front, teasing the crowd with fretwork, tapping and picking before the band builds it up behind him. A change of mood for the sensual Parallel Lines, and then the drums pick up the beat again for the ultimate driving track, Put You In A Song, which motors along like a Corvette on the freeway, and sees the crowd get stuck into one of several singalongs!
Keith delivers a consummate performance throughout, and picks up an acoustic for a cracking solo spot of bluegrass hoe-down guitar which slides into the older Stupid Boy. The crowd sings the start of Somebody Like You even before the band kicks in, and allows the Nathan Barlowe to show off his vocal talents in little cameo performance of With Or Without You, before the lights all go down, and Keith asks for some help – the Arena lights up from 10,000 phone lights!
A first-time outing for a new song written with Julia Michaels, from her forthcoming release, sees her join Keith onstage for a fun duet of Lie To Me, and then a real riff cranks up over an up-tempo beat, and we are back in stadium country-rock mode for Good Thing with Keith’s guitar really cutting through the mix. Slow down again for a delicate acoustic-tinged Blue Ain’t Your Colour, and then he swaps guitar for bass for the almost industrial-pop Drop Top which includes Kassi Ashton doing her vocal lines on the big screens.
The stage turns blue for the hit Cop Car which turns into a real rock ballad, and then both Danny and Jerry get their chance to sing a few bars and show-off, before the intro to The Fighter sees the crowd erupt – helped by Carrie Underwood doing her vocals on the screens. During this, Keith makes his way all the way through the crowd, high-fiving and hugging anyone in his path, to the “U Stage” at the back of the arena, where he conducts a more intimate singalong with a few friends, rips into a medley of Kiss a Girl/Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me/You Look Good in My Shirt while ripping the licks out of his guitar, and then pulls a young girl up onto the stage to hand it over as a trophy!
Keith makes the long way back to the stage where the band is still going, and the banjo intro to Gone Tomorrow (Here Today), and then a funky bass-driven version of John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16 and a slick solo from Danny Rader. The set proper closes with the classy pop-rock of Wasted Time with a guitar duel and another crowd singalong.
You know he is coming back for more, and sure enough after a decent period of adulation, the crowd gets the massive hit from the new record sung with Lindsay Ell, Horses – and then it is over! What a show, from a truly special performer!
KEITH URBAN “GRAFFITI U WORLD TOUR AUSTRALIA”
With Special Guest Julia Michaels
Tickets at www.ticketek.com.au
Friday 25 January, 2019: Sydney, Qudos Bank Arena
Saturday 26 January, 2019: Sydney, Qudos Bank Arena
Sunday 27 January, 2019: Canberra, GIO Stadium
Thursday 31 January, 2019: Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
Friday 1 February, 2019: Brisbane, Entertainment Centre
Saturday 2 February, 2019: Brisbane, Entertainment Centre – SOLD OUT
Tuesday 5 February, 2019: Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena – SOLD OUT
Wednesday 6 February, 2019: Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
Review and photos by Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
Dallas Davidson is a name that many people will not know, and I reckon a chunk of the crowd who made it in to the Enmore from the storm outside might have thought he was the low-budget warm-up act doing covers of country number ones…..the thing is, Dallas wrote all of these for Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Bake Shelton, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum…..so he really is entitled! Continue reading Live Review : RANDY HOUSER at Enmore Theatre, Sydney – 13 December 2018→
It feels like only yesterday that I was lucky enough to see Melbourne’s Circles supporting Tesseract at Sydney’s Metro Theatre. OK, so it was mid-September. However, in that time the band have been touring non-stop, including a jaunt to Europe and all that road time has paid dividends.
Despite already being a tight, taut and polished modern metal outfit, Circles dominated the Cambridge Hotel stage tonight with an obvious growth in confidence – not only in themselves, but also in the tracks off their latest album that make up the bulk of tonight’s set list. In fact, there didn’t seem to be a single song off their first EP to be heard. What's even more impressive is that they pulled this off with a fill-in bassist while Drew Patton was sidelined by a new baby. Just phenomenal.
Brisbane’s Dead Letter Circus has a long history of wowing audiences and listeners alike. Forming in 2004 (their debut album landing in 2010), singer Kim Benzie estimated that the band had played the Cambridge stage some six times over the years and tonight’s near-full house is testament not only to their memorable modern prog rock songs, but also a willingness to put in the long miles.
Tonight, they’re on fine form, with an extensive set list covering their entire catalogue. Some seventeen tracks have the Newcastle crowd wowed before a venue curfew sees them leave the stage without an encore. Frankly, if anyone is disappointed, they shouldn’t be. We were all treated to a night of some of this country’s best forward-thinking heavy music.
Words and Photos by Ben Hosking – www.hoskingindustries.com.au
First a word of advice: It can really pay to check the opening times for a gig on more than one website! Thanks to an erroneous door time listing on one ticket website, this humbled reviewer ended up missing the brutal Thy Art is Murder.
Thankfully I didn’t miss the mighty Killswitch Engage, who tonight were playing the role of main support. For some, that might seem like an odd place for a renowned international act. However, when you look out across the sold out room at NEX in Newcastle (the old Worker’s Club), it seems like a pretty shrewd move and one that will no doubt win the Massachusetts band plenty of new fans off the back of a typically super strong performance. Continue reading Live Review : Parkway Drive and Killswitch Engage at NEX, Newcastle – 27 October 2018→
Review and Photos: Peter Coates – www.facebook.com/InsideEdgePhotography
Enmore the hip Sydney suburb was rammed on Sunday night – parking was a nightmare, the Duke was overflowing, and the queue to get in to the Enmore Theatre was round the block. All because a couple of 1990’s US rock bands had teamed up for a co-headlining tour, and Zaccaria Concerts & Touring had done a bang-up job of promoting and selling the shows. The Enmore was fully standing downstairs, and was packed early, with Mr Big taking to the stage around 7.45pm, and treating us to 85 minutes of flawless classic rock. Continue reading Live Review : Extreme & Mr. Big at Enmore Theatre, Sydney – 3 June 2018→
Some may have started as far back as the 60’s but the fab 5 that hit the stage at Bendigo on Saturday night could show todays youth a thing or two. On parade were ARIA Hall of Famers, international hit makers, a former TV Week Queen of Pop and countless number one hits. APIA truly brings songs of a lifetime to the modern era. Each artist Brian Cadd, Marcia Hines, Russell Morris, Leo Sayer and John Paul Young a star in their own right. Another interesting point all artists came up on Australian stages learning their craft in front of an increasing live audience. Countdown was paramount to all artists career, throughout the concert Molly Meldrum was referred to fondly. Continue reading Live Review : Apia Good Times at Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo – 26 May 2018→
15 years in the making, and Aussie rockers JET are back in the swing of it, using the 15th Anniversary of their debut album GET BORN as an excuse to get out and re-introduce themselves to the kids who bought the record back in 2003, and who are now in their early thirties and perhaps better able to appreciate quality songs and great live performance than they were! Continue reading Live Review : JET + A. Swayze & the Ghosts at NEX, Newcastle – 29 May 2018→
Newcastle has always played host to international bands. It’s just that it has never been with the same kind of frequency of our neighbours south to Sydney. In fact, my very first proper concert experience was Pantera when they played the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on their Far Beyond Driven tour.
Another resounding success for the Groovin The Moo machine as it landed in Bendigo on Saturday. The day started well with unusual warm weather and a bumper crowd all 22,000 of them confirming another sell out to this ever increasingly popular festival. Although predominantly catering for the teens to twenties there was also a fair bit of grey in the crowd validating the popularity of diversity in the lineup, essentially there was something on the bill for everyone. Continue reading Live Review : Groovin the Moo – Bendigo, VIC – Saturday 5 May 2018→