DIARY - 18 MARCH 2005 - KEITH URBAN LIVE REVIEW
ST KILDA PALAIS - SATURDAY FEBRUARY 26, 2005.
Urban at the Palais
Photo by Linda Di Nola
was a show with a difference - a brace of banjos, dobro, accordion
and acoustic guitar doubling as a beat box.
Welcome to country music in the new millennia.
Sure, there's nothing subtle about playing Beatles hit I Wanna
Hold Your Hand over the P.A. before a triumphant return of expatriate
Australasian country superstar Keith Urban.
Urban Mania was the capacity crowd reaction to an artist whose country
rock hybrid has earned him album sales of five million plus.
The garrulous guitar slinger kicked off his energised workout with
an acoustic cameo from These Are The Days before a full blown
delivery of Days Go By - the first #1 hit from fifth album
Urban's anthemic celebration of life ignited an inspired flood of
nostalgia, hedonism and escape from jagged edges of broken hearts.
ignored by radio here, the Blundstone booted singer has a fitting
formula to drag fans from way beyond the city limits.
Horse of Troy invaded walls with rock theatrics without alienating rural
fans unencumbered by city fads.
Urban is a master communicator with a well-practised eye contact, stage
strutting and audience interaction.
And, of course, his guitartistry is something that peers and critics would
He punctuated embryonic hit Walk In The Country and Better Life,
with sweet solace of Raining On Sunday.
By the time he reached new #2 U.S. country hit You're My Better Half
band members swapped guitars for banjos that were more audible than
dobro or accordion.
Urban covered Where The Black Top Ends and generic seventies pop
ditty Jeans On but best response was originals You Look Good
In My Shirt, Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me, Somebody Like You and
Ranch era tune Homespun Love.
A decade on the tough international circuit meant prime pacing with ballads
- But For The Grace Of God, Be Here, You'll Think Of Me and solo
piano on Tonight I Wanna Cry a contrast.
didn't hurt that Urban included co-writes with Rodney Crowell on What
About Me and You Won and Crowell tune Making Memories
His crowd chant of Tom Petty tune Free Falling was ballast
but not U2's Beautiful Day - segue to exuberant finale These
Are The Days.
Urban, booked to perform the Logies, mines the melancholia motherlode
of the past but frocks it up with style to bend boundaries of a genre
once destined to blow flies and billabong backblocks.
And, with irony, the audience sang along to songs heard in the privacy
of their homes or on TV.
Certainly not mainstream radio - a genuine triumph.
Urban proved what most of us have known for almost two decades - he
is the biggest expatriate Australasian international country success
story of our times.
by Linda Di Nola
decision to decamp this murky radio backwater more than 15 years ago to
tackle the biggest market has been validated.
opened the door for peers diverse as Kasey and Bill Chambers, Catherine
Britt, Jedd Hughes, Greencards, Kylie Sackley, Adam Harvey and Audrey
with a little help from fellow expatriates Sherrie Austin and Jamie
O'Neal, he has lifted the profile of artists ignored in their homeland.
It's ironic that Urban's success has caused collateral damage to
some envious peers and cheerleaders for faux country failures.
But that's not the only battlefield where friendly fire can be more
dangerous than the enemy within.
Urban has risen way above the comedic dorks who still refer to the
genre as Country & Western and are prisoners of city fashion
photo by Linda Di Nola
/ back to diary