My Night with Keith Urban
It wouldn’t have been my first choice, a Keith Urban concert. I am not a country music fan, I wouldn’t be able to identify a Keith Urban song if my life depended on it.
My in laws had tickets to see him at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut. During the day as they were driving down to Rhode Island my father in law texted and asked me if I wanted to go because he wasn’t feeling well. My mother in law is a huge fan, so I went with her.
My mother in law loves going to concerts. We took her to see Bon Jovi, one of her faves, in Boston years ago. I joked that she looked like one of the women you’d see in the footage of Beatles concerts in the 60s, absolutely beside herself, when she saw Jon Bon Jovi sing.
We sat in our seats in the Mohegan arena, we were on the opposite end of the arena from the stage, and we had a great view of the opening act Kelsea Ballerini. I’d never heard of her, but she has one of those powerhouse voices that blew me away.
Then we waited. Then Mr. Nicole Kidman arrived on the stage. After a few songs, he stopped to talk to the crowd. He paused to read the signs that people were holding up.
“Oh, your first time seeing me? Thanks for coming!”
“Oh, you just had a baby? And you’re here? That’s so cool! Congratulations!”
“There’s one way up there with lights on it…. I can’t read it. What does that say?” He visored his eyes with his hand. “I can’t make it out.” So he pulled out some binoculars and held them to his eyes. “Still can’t read it.” He whipped out a spotlight and shone it in the direction of the sign.
“Ah yes…. It’s on your bucket list? To meet me? Well, then let’s do that. Come on down here,” he gestured to the stage.
He read a few more signs while I scanned the crowd to see whether the holder of the sign was taking him seriously. Then they appeared on the stairs leading up to the side of the stage. He welcomed the couple, hugged them, and chatted with them for a few minutes. They joked on microphone. He took selfies with them and sent them on their way so he could continue his show.
The thing I always look for when I go to a concert is whether it looks like the performers are having a good time. Sometimes you can tell that this is a performer’s job in the way they act on stage. Keith Urban acted like he was at a New Years Party in the middle of Disney on a sunny afternoon surrounded by unicorn ponies. He looked like he was having the time of his life. But while he was having the time of his life, he didn’t miss a note (not that I could tell at least.)
Toward our end of the arena there was a raised platform in the shape of a U. I wondered if he would come over to that end and play for us over there. Jon Bon Jovi did that when we went to see him. He started to sing the opening song and my mother in law scanned the stage, “Where is he?” she asked. I looked down and to my right and he was standing on a small platform maybe 30 feet away from us. I tapped her on the arm and pointed. Then she turned into the women on the Beatles’ footage.
Keith Urban walked off the stage, and walked down the aisle toward our end of the arena. He high fived everyone as he walked and then climbed up onto the U platform. He played a song or two for us from over there, while his band was still on the main stage. Then he did one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen at a concert.
“I have a souvenir for someone. But I’ll warn you, it’s sweaty. It’s curvy…. But yeah, sweaty.” He took his guitar off and held it away from his body. A stage hand gave him a towel. He wiped off the guitar, and then with a sharpie he signed it. “Who wants a new guitar?” he paced back and forth on the outer edge of the U. “Who will it be?” He stopped at the bottom of the U. “You.” He pointed. Then he handed his guitar to a woman three rows back.
He gave her. His. Guitar.
We filed out at the end of the show, my mouth hanging open. We played the slots a bit and then we went home. I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Todd about this amazing concert I’d just seen. If I ever have the chance again, I’d see Keith Urban in concert all over again.
Thank you Keith, for loving what you do enough to make us all love what you do.
added on 11.12.18