DIARY - 1 NOVEMBER 2003
ROD LAVER ARENA
The Geezinslaw Bros describe it as bad rock 'n roll - country frocked
up in muddy rock mixes.
That's what Keith Urban suffered when he opened for LeAnn Rimes in the
cavernous canyon of this titanic tennis stadium.
Urban's entrée - his latest U.S. No 1 hit, Who Wouldn't Wanna
Be Me - and second song were indecipherable.
a word could be heard under the gaudy guitar and drum deluge.
But I've since learned the second song was You Look Good In My
Sure, it was a scorching version but he and audience deserved to benefit
from a decent vocal mix.
By the time he reached Darrel Brown-Radney Foster tune Raining
On Sunday the sound mixer located his voice - an essential ingredient
of You Won, an evocative tune co-written with Rodney Crowell.
It was perfect for Slim Dusty tribute Pub With No Beer and
a co-write with Go-Gos gals Jane Wiedlin and Charlotte Caffrey on
the hit But For The Grace Of God featuring Jason Mowrey on
And the Chris
Lindsey-Bob Regan wedding hit Your Everything, replete with Dollywood
Urban revealed that when he decamped from his tour bus at Dolly Parton's
theme park he heard his huge hit being played at a wedding in a little
"I took my guitar to the church, told the bride's father at the door
I was the guy singing it and then did it for them live," Urban joked.
"I only charged them $2000. No, actually $1500."
Urban, 36, then confessed he, of course, performed gratis.
A pleasant surprise was the countrification of ancient David Dundas hit
Jeans On that seemed out of place on Urban's huge selling fourth album,
Urban reprised his Ranch song, Walkin' The Country, and Mowrey's
fiddle adorned yet another hit, Where The Black Top Ends.
Timing was perfect - the fiery finale was chart topping smash hit Somebody
The banjo-drenched belter was the highlight of a performance that promised
so much but drowned in the horrific sound mix of the early songs.
Urban received a well deserved, thundering ovation for his guitartistry
and showmanship but when you have a voice distinctive as Urban it's criminal
to have it buried.
Rimes had no such problems - she was pitch perfect from entrée
One Way Ticket to show-stopping finale Over The Rainbow.
She telegraphed her punches from biographical Life Goes On
and Wound Up - tunes she wrote for huge selling ninth album
Rimes has broadened her music but covered all bases - from Cline
like delivery of Willie Nelson's classic Crazy to Dianne
Warren penned Can't Fight The Moonlight and But I Do Love
You from Coyote Ugly.
This ballad stanza ended with embryonic Bill Mack penned hit Blue
and Warren weeper How Do I Live, cut by Trisha Yearwood in
the Con Air movie but a Rimes hit.
Rimes pacing was impeccable - she revved up a cover of Janis Joplin
song Summertime, new single We Can from Legally Blonde
2, and Big Deal.
into a tumultuous trilogy of Kristofferson hit, Me & Bobby McGee,
Twisted Angel title track and riveting rendition of Commitment.
Rimes maturity peaked as she encored with a solo stool rendition of "one
of my favourite all time songs" - Somewhere Over The Rainbow.
Rimes, just 21, proved to be a mistress of her art.
She dominated centre stage, with minimal accompaniment on her ballads,
and rocked out with a hot band that never drowned out her powerful vocals
on up-tempo material.
Such professionalism ensured she endeared herself to an enthusiastic audience
with large bevy of boys who haven't met the right girl yet and girls who
haven't met the right boy yet. - DAVID DAWSON
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