Keith Urban Honors All the ‘Wild Hearts’ At Nashville Concert, Pays Tribute To Loretta Lynn
Keith Urban and his ace band (which includes former The Ranch bassist Jerry Flowers) ripped through a two-hour set at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Friday (Oct. 7) as part of Urban’s The Speed of Now World Tour, beginning with the ferocious opening of “Tumbleweed,” backlit by white and neon lights.
Urban’s passion for music and performing hasn’t waned in the nearly four decades he’s spent honing his craft, from tiny clubs to sold-out arenas. That time period also produced a musician with not only ace guitar skills and an encyclopaedic knowledge of a wide range of music, but also a level of musical dexterity that allows him to interweave his own hits with snippets and riffs of everything from Ram Jam’s 1977 hit “Black Betty” to Ed Sheeran’s “Bad Habits.” Urban and his band’s exceptional musicianship made the meticulously planned set feel spontaneous and freewheeling.
He themed the evening “Broad to the Big Time,” offering a look back at his career, including footage from his former trio, The Ranch, performing at Jack’s Guitar Bar off Nolensville Road in Nashville in 1997.
“I started playing in clubs when I was about 15 years old, four hours a night, five nights a week,” Urban explained to the audience, “all the way up until the late ’90s when I was still playing the clubs… So we’re going to highlight the journey from places like that to those who play at Nissan Stadium tonight.”
Though Urban’s set was noticeably lacking early-career songs — such as The Ranch’s “Desiree” or their rendition of “Some Days You Gotta Dance” (recorded prior to the Chicks’ 1999 hit with the same song), as well as “Where the Blacktop Ends” or “But For the Grace of God” from his 1999 debut solo album — he instead used that time to shine a spotlight on a couple of the “Wild Hearts” putting
Kayley Green, a regular performer at Nashville bar The Stage, was welcomed by him. Green was accompanied by Urban as she delivered an immaculate rendition of Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” before duetting with Urban and singing Miranda Lambert’s vocal part on “We Were Us.”
Urban, on the other hand, welcomed Luke Combs, the reigning CMA entertainer of the year (an accolade Urban first won in 2005 and again in 2018). Combs performed “When It Rains It Pours,” later taking on Eric Church’s vocal role on the 2015 Urban/Church collaboration “Raise ‘Em Up,” raising the decibel levels inside the building.
Urban also paid tribute to Country Music Hall of Famer Loretta Lynn, who died on Tuesday (Oct. 4) at the age of 90. As images of Lynn, including one of the late icon with Urban, lit up the massive screens, Urban performed “Blue Kentucky Girl” and “If You’re Looking at Country.”
“We adore you, Loretta,” Urban exclaimed.
Throughout the evening, Urban demonstrated not only how to entertain an audience, but also how to connect with them and make them feel as one with the entertainer. As is customary at an Urban show, he took time to read various signs held up by fans throughout the arena, and he grabbed a pair of binoculars to see signs in the farthest reaches of the venue. That was good news for a young girl from Starkville, Mississippi, who held up a sign requesting a photo with Urban and claiming she skipped school to attend the concert. Urban complied, inviting the young lady and her family onstage.
He then ripped into his 2002 hit, the gratitude-filled “Somebody Like You,” changing a key lyric to sing, “I don’t want to take this life for granted like I did in 2019.”
Following that, he sailed through the moody “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” followed by “The Fighter,” albeit without his duet partner Carrie Underwood, who was out of town for her Denim & Rhinestones tour.
The concert ended with a confetti shower and applause from the audience as he exited the stage, only to return shortly after to perform “Stupid Boy” accompanied only by his guitar. A riser elevated Urban, who had swelled the acoustic performance into a feverish guitar solo by this point. Urban hoisted his guitar into the air as the final notes rang out over the arena, as balloons and confetti rained down on the audience.
Ingrid Andress and Tyler Hubbard opened the show for Urban.
Andress’ short set was effective for her relaxed performance style. Her voice was still clear on “Seeing Someone Else,” “Lady Like,” and “More Hearts Than Mine,” despite the slightly muddy sound. Sam Hunt made his way to the stage for the first surprise appearance of the evening, collaborating on “Wishful Drinking.” But it was on a cover of The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post” that Andress shone brightest, dropping to the floor and lying on the stage for the song’s grungy final notes.
“Didn’t expect that, did you?” “That was my favourite song to sing in college,” she explained to the audience.
Hubbard’s opening slot for Urban is his first as a solo artist after working as half of the duo Florida Georgia Line for 12 years. His set included new solo songs like “Everybody Needs a Bar” and “Way Home,” as well as FGL hits like “Cruise” and “Meant to Be” (with Andress returning to the stage to fill in for Bebe Rexha).
“I’m so grateful to have a second first single in my career,” he said before singing “5 foot 9.”
Hubbard handled lead vocals for FGL most of the time, so even his solo renditions of the duo’s biggest hits sounded familiar to fans. His gratitude for the opportunity to pursue a solo career was palpable, another “Wild Heart” relieved to see his dreams come true.
“I spent the last 12 years of my career with my brother BK chasing a crazy dream,” Hubbard explained. “I’m eternally grateful for those years.” I never want to take that time for granted again. You’ve been kind enough to let me try out some new songs.”
Get The Latest Updates From The World Of Music, Movies, TV, Culture, And Fashion In Musical States Magazine. Please Follow Us On Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, And Linkedin To Receive Instantaneous Updates