It’s a bit of a special night in Sydney as tonight the first show at the new ICC ‘Entertainment Centre’ or Sydney Theatre is happening, and it’s one I get to be at with Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood taking the stage it’s somewhat exciting to not only see two great artists but to also be a part of history attending this inaugural event here. Obviously some teething problems getting people in is expected for a first event, but when they got their mojo going it was flowing as smooth as you’d hope. I look forward to seeing how this continues, but we’re not here to really revue the venue (only partly.)
Carrie Underwood returning to Australia for only the second time begins her set with ‘Good Girl’ and her powerhouse voice instantly shines and she belts out the opener. Straight into ‘Undo It’ with a whole lot of na na’s making this a sing along favourite. Then ‘Church Bells’ took it up a notch and if there’s a song needing to be played live it’s this one as the big chorus filled the room making it definitely a highlight. I’ll just take a moment to talk about the sound in the new venue at the ICC I’m impressed as this sounds so good in here, acoustics, no bounce backs and every instrument is as clear as day! Oh man!! Ok this one is my favourite Carrie track and she played it!! This one is ‘Wasted’ and wow, the band absolutely slayed it, what a tune that really beefs up live and she nailed it. I’m happy now. Slowing it down now for ‘Jesus Take The Wheel’ which again allows her to use the big pipes to show us all why she’s still killing it as one of the world’s biggest country artists.
Next we get ‘Blown Away’… literally by this song, her and her band’s talent then we get rockin’ again with ‘Cowboy Casanova’ followed by newest single ‘Dirty Laundry’ with probably the hottest video backdrop for a song ever, holy moly Carrie just stop it, gorgeous metre overload. She just keeps banging out the hits as ‘Last Name’ takes its spot and these songs truly get the rocked up treatment especially with the eight piece band she’s got with her three of those guitars, outstanding. Slowing it way, way down with only her and a guitar player on stage she pays tribute to Dolly Parton with an unbelievable version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ wow, that’s all I’ll say about that. Volume back up to 11 with ‘Flat On The Floor’ ooh nice middle 8 in this one! Winner. She throws on a guitar for ‘Smoke Break’ then in to crowd favourite ‘Before He Cheats’ with crowd sing along but she closing her set with ‘Something In The Water’ she doesn’t miss a note. She looks great, the band is as tight and the songs are full of hooks, what more do you need? Come back and see us again soon, Carrie!
Keith Urban bounds onto the stage with banjo in hand and driving bass and ‘Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)’ kicking off the show and again, the sounds is pristine in here. Oh man ‘Long Hot Summer’ sounds amazing and the guy next to me is losing his mind over it, it’s the best ha ha I seriously had to duck out of the way at one point as there was much excited flailing. What a tune though! Keith grabs an acoustic and slows the tempo down with another new one from Ripcord ‘Break On Me’ but then throws on a Gibson explorer and we go way, way back ‘Where The Black Top Ends’ and I love that he still throws in the old tunes and even better when he showcases just how damn good he is on the guitar as he shreds away on this one. Holy shit this band is tight too! OK, that was great, he just got some people up on stage and in true Aussie style it was hilarious.
Back to the tunes and ‘Somewhere In My Car’ rocks it up as he makes his 52 Les Paul sound as good as it looks. Oh man old mate next to me is living the dream! ‘Worry ‘Bout Nothing’ fits into the set perfectly and again Keith just shows off, man that guy can play and I’m sorry I’ll probably say that a lot but watching him is a pleasure. ‘Blue Ain’t Your Colour’ with some awesome lighting followed by the catchy as all get up ‘You Gonna Fly’ before one that set the place alight ‘Days Go By’ as expected such a good tune and good time had by all during that one, these massive hits of Urban’s you can tell are what drew the crowd in and testament to his ongoing career as watching people react to the newer material such as ‘I Told You So’ which keeps the catchy songs of his going is great, then we slow it back down for ‘Cop Car’ and his voice really shines through on this one it’s nice seeing him play a Fender strat too! Awkward song from keyboard player and much better song from bass player happen before getting into ‘Sun Don’t Let Me Down’ which is a funky little song complete with um… the rap bit in the middle. Wow, it made my eye twitch a little but hey, evolution!
Now she sings it on the album but when ‘The Fighter’ was up and Carrie Underwood came out to sing it live, their voices just blended perfectly and delivered a song that many have attached to, it’s a ripper, but many of the oldies in the crowd loved the next one even more as Carrie stayed on stage to give us a cover of the Stevie Nicks / Tom Petty song ‘Stop Dragging My Heart Around’ and it worked. Carrie gets some praise from Keith as she waves goodbye and with that she’s gone…
Then in usual style Keith made his way through the crowd to a stage in the middle to get a little up close and personal with people for ‘You Look Good In My Shirt’ giving away his guitar as always. Jealous. Staying up there for another crowd favourite, ‘Somebody Like You’ and I’m happy as this is my favourite of his! As he makes his way back through the crowd shaking hands making his way back to the stage to finish the song and with a little bit of ‘Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Me’ thrown in, nice! Wow way to test out the stability of the new venue, Keith… he just got the whole place to jump and it looked unbelievable. This strong set continues, a little bit slower though with ‘Little Bit of Everything’ followed by all the Johns… Cougar, Deere and 3:16… With Keith on bass and a great little bit of love for the Cougar with some of ‘Jack and Diane’ followed by some ‘No Woman No Cry’ even a bit of The Police thrown in with ‘So Lonely’ that was awesome!
There is some big love for ‘Wasted Time’ from Ripcord and as it builds to what I feel like is the end of the set, ahhh there we go as the cannons explode full of KEITHFETTI* and it’s everywhere, I mean everywhere, sorry new ICC staff, that’ll be fun to clean up! What a song though to go out with as he smiles and waves through an absolute blanket of Keithfetti he leaves the stage.
Only to return with an acoustic guitar and a beautiful story of how he calls Nicole every time he runs off stage, I’m hoping it’s to tell her how amazing she was in BMX Bandits, but as if she needs a reminder of that! The solo rendition of ‘Making Memories Of Us’ followed by ‘Stupid Boy’ was a moment, I think it also let everyone catch their breath for a minute, but only a minute as the band comes back on stage to really close the set with ‘Raise ‘Em Up’ and as a jubilant Urban thanks everyone, takes a bow and then as the house lights come up stays out to sign things for people in the front, what a guy!
I’ve seen Keith a number of times, and I kid you not he keeps getting better. Tonight on all levels was outstanding. The venue, I look forward to seeing more in, Carrie and Keith, well it goes without saying I look forward to seeing and or hearing more from them both, and rockin’ country, yeah it kicks ass!
*Keithfetti is copyright TM MTRBWY 2016
Venue: ICC, Darling Harbour – Sydney
Date: December 14, 2016
Presented by: TEG Live
Special Guest: Carrie Underwood http://www.carrieunderwoodofficial.com
Keith Urban Set List
Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)
Long Hot Summer
Break On Me
Where The Blacktop Ends
Somewhere In My Car
Worry ‘Bout Nothin’
Blue Ain’t Your Color
You Gonna Fly
Days Go By
I Told You So
Sun Don’t Let Me Down
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
You Look Good In My Shirt
Somebody Like You
Little Bit of Everything
John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16
Making Memories Of Us
Raise ‘Em Up
Carrie Underwood Set List
Jesus, Take the Wheel
I Will Always Love You
Flat on the Floor
Before He Cheats
Something in The Water