Although buoyant country music superstar Keith Urban always finds a way to keep his artistry and music coming for his faithful fans, lovingly known as monkeys, his performance on Today, this morning, September 3, proves there’s nothing like playing live.
Aside from playing “a few festivals” in recent weeks, the guitar guru affirms to co-hosts Al Roker, Carson Daly, Hoda Kotb, and Sheinelle Jones that his return to Rockefeller Plaza marks of fond place in truly taking a live stage again. Predictably, the most dedicated fans camped out overnight to see Keith Urban and the lines circled around the studio buildings several times. Carson Daly comments that he hasn’t felt this kind of energy since his days on Total Request Live.
Indeed, Keith Urban inspires and possesses an infectious enthusiasm. In fact, even his shorter haircut caused a stir last week. The crowd clamored with enthusiastic approval for the performer and his new coiffe. The “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” artist returns the favor with a set to remember.
Keith Urban feels good to be among friends
“Wild Hearts” is already a “smash” in the words of Hoda Kotb. Keith Urban playfully deflects the praise, urging “don’t jinx it.” Nonetheless, the irresistible late-summer ear candy has listeners hooked all day. The song only gets better when every note and riff pulsates from the performer on stage.
The master musician’s smile beamed in response to his audience, rising from his exquisitely tailored and perfectly torn T-shirt in his Citi Music Series opener. The song’s lyrics reference the “eagle on my back, Phoenix on my arm” etched in ink on the composer, and his “God-lit fire” burns brighter than ever now that he’s singing out in front of “real human beings” once again. There’s still plenty of jaunty jiggle in front with the short haircut, too.
“It’s like a bunch of wild animals,” Keith Urban describes to Al Roker in relating his return to live performances. Like their favorite artist, the fans have months of pent-up energy and devotion to release. At one point, a female voice in the crowd cries out “I love you. Keith!” Naturally, he replies with a warm and audible “I love you, too!”
Still plenty good with no Pink in person
“One Too Many,” of course, is a song that got plenty of love from fans and critics alike throughout 2020. Keith Urban has only good things to say about her and Taylor Swift, with whom he just completed two tracks on an upcoming album. “They’re such true artists– both of them,” the hitmaker credits, along with his “honor” in being a chosen collaborator.
It would have been a dream come true for fans to see Pink swirling down on the scarf from the scaffolding to sing with Keith Urban. Alas, instead, only the hologram in yellow and pink of Pink appears on stage. Urban sings effortlessly to the screen, seeming nearly as comfortable as he does in their stage duets. It’s a sure bet that virtual Pink will be packed away for the Australian tour in December this year. A person-to-person show, at least one, is a plausible possibility, too.
Between performances, Keith Urban makes time to mingle up close and personal with fans, leaving them with smiles and memories that linger forever, along with their signs. Like he did a few years ago, Keith chooses “Superman” as one of his selections, and the audience echoes every chorus. For his last Today broadcast performance, Urban goes solo on stage, accompanying himself on “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Naturally, the audience laps it up, and Keith Urban spices it up, throwing in “you sexy frickin’ thing” in the first chorus.
The Big Apple means cherished memories for Keith
Though returning to the road is a rejuvenation For Keith Urban, the superlative country music artist is still coping with the loss of his 72-year-old tour production manager, Randy “Baja” Fletcher. The unparalleled crewmember received the first CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement honor. He suffered critical injuries after a fall from the stage in Ohio last Thursday.
“I loved him. We all loved him,” Keith Urban reiterated in a statement to Billboard. In reflecting how Fletcher found commonality and love for every person he encountered, Keith offers that Randy’s “orbit of light” stayed with those around him forever.
Tragically, the loss will be part of the road for Keith Urban from now on, but so will the many good memories and the bonds of friendship. As it happens, Keith cherishes many memories from the Big Apple, not very far from Today’s home.
“I proposed to Nic not far from here, on the Hudson,” Keith Urban reveals on the morning show. Already, Country Music Alley gave fans the story of Nicole Kidman taking a ride to Woodstock with Keith Urban on his motorcycle. That day, she knew he was the man she hoped to marry, and the rest is romance history.
As for their daughters, Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret, Keith Urban suggests that “maybe a bit of both” music and acting lie in the future for the girls, but not in the obvious way. The doting dad sees “More directing than acting,” as likely creative pursuits for his girls, “which would be good,” Keith Urban concludes.
No matter what path children take, parents can only hope that they share the same passion that echoes in the refrain of “Wild Hearts.” Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman understand the power of passion to fuel dreams.