When Keith Urban’s tour bus pulled up to Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving Day 2010, the Dallas Cowboys were in the middle of a losing season. Urban, on the other hand, was riding high on a winning streak. His seventh album Get Closer had hit stores less than 10 days earlier, and the kickoff single “Put You in a Song” was already in the Top 40. To top it off, he’d been picked to perform the halftime show during the Cowboys’ turkey day matchup with the New Orleans Saints – one of the most-watched games of the season.
There’s plenty of prime-time spectacle in the video above, which shows Urban and company hitting the stage alongside the Cowboys’ cheerleading squad. A portion of the stage appears to be made of LED video screens, and several young fans in the front row look as though they were selected by a CW network casting director. The whole presentation feels a bit scripted, perhaps, but the music itself is genuine, with Urban’s band performing a guitar-heavy grab bag of old standbys and newer material.
Backed by a lineup including drummer Chris McHugh, guitarist Brian Nutter and bassist Jerry Flowers, Urban makes the most of his seven minutes on the field, squeezing abbreviated versions of three songs – “Days Go By,” “Put You in a Song” and “Better Life” – into a satisfying medley. Intros are shortened and several verses are cut, but every song still features a guitar solo on Urban’s Telecaster. You can take the guy out of Nashville, as they say.
More than half a decade later, the Dallas Cowboys are still booking country acts for their halftime shows on Thanksgiving afternoon. Eric Church will perform his own set today, hitting the field midway through the Cowboys’ battle against the Washington Redskins.