Keith Urban is far more than country
Anyone who calls Keith Urban a country music star is vastly underestimating the position the Whangarei, New Zealand-born singer has carved out for himself in the current musical landscape. Urban has crossed over long ago and transcends whatever genre he was originally categorized in when he released his first album in the United States and his second self-titled album in 1999.
The rocket took off with that record, with Urban captaining the ship straight to the pop and country stratosphere. Multiple hits were featured, most notably “But For the Grace Of God,” a twangy, fiddle-backed modern country track that was Urban’s first No. 1 on the country charts. It would be far from his last.
Urban really became a mainstream act with his 2002 hit single “Somebody Like You,” a catchy, guitar-driven ditty showcasing Urban’s skills on the axe with the refrain you have no choice but to sing, “Yeah, I wanna feel the sunshine / Shinin’ down on me and you / When you put your arms around me / You know there’s nothing in this world I can’t do.”
The song became so popular it was named the No. 1 country song of early 2000s by Billboard. Add onto that the countless number of weddings featuring guests wearing cowboy boots, bolo ties, ten-gallon hats and kicked-up dresses that it was featured in and the tune has become an integral piece in the fabric of pop culture.
Hit after hit, Urban has become a mainstay on the country and pop charts for two decades now. He also has expanded his public persona into something more than just a singing cowboy. The likable, blonde-haired hunk brought a wealth of knowledge to his role as a judge on the hit singing competition television show American Idol and was featured in a similar yet tweaked capacity as a mentor on the Australian version of The Voice. He is also an advisor to Blake Shelton and his team on the U.S. version.
Of course, Urban couldn’t avoid the spotlight even if he wanted to. He has been the husband of A-list actress Nicole Kidman since 2006, a favorite couple of fans and paparazzi alike. But the singer seems to take it all in stride, embracing his superstardom and public persona.
So why is Keith Urban, 51, currently touring behind his 10th studio album, Graffiti U, the perfect artist to rechristen The Colosseum in its new iteration? With rumors that the venue is moving away from residencies and more into can’t-miss shorter stands, one only needs to look back at Urban’s history in Las Vegas to understand why he was chosen.
A Strip favorite for years, Urban creates indelible concert moments. A premier example took place in 2009 when, during a Vegas appearance, Urban brought Glen Campbell onstage for a stirring duet performance of Campbell’s deeply American-rooted hit, “Wichita Lineman.” The two guitar slingers not only traded lyrics but traded guitar licks as well.
It’s almost a sure bet that Urban will create more Vegas magic when he returns this month.
Caesars Palace, 8 p.m. Sept. 6-7, starting at $59 plus tax and fee. 800.745.3000 Ticketmaster