Last week, Keith Urban kicked off a 12-show residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. It’s a hard-rocking, on-your-feet-spectacle that, at nearly two hours, showcases a triumphant Urban blasting through a trove of hits, 17 in all. The January dates wrap up this weekend, before the country singer-guitarist returns in April for more (shows are currently set to run through November).
During Friday night’s engagement, he was particularly on fire, roaring through songs like “Days Go By” and “The Fighter,” and even tossing in an acoustic cover of Post Malone’s “Circles.” Here are the five best moments.
Urban’s guitar playing deserves its own show.
Urban has long been regarded as one of the best guitarists of the genre, if not the best. In his residency show, he proudly shows off those skills. A Picasso of the instrument, he breaks into deep solos during “Long Hot Summer,” “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” and his Don Williams-influenced Graffiti U track “Texas Time.” He may be a past Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, but on stage at Caesars, he’s a rock star.
He’s a musical chameleon.
Urban enjoys taking detours into other genres or singing songs that aren’t his (like he does at his annual New Year’s Eve headlining show in Nashville). While in between his own Number One hits, Urban unexpectedly started an acoustic version of Post Malone’s “Circles.” Later, after bringing a woman onstage for her birthday, he found out she was from West Virginia and began singing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” Last week, Urban was even nominated at the iHeartRadioMusic Awards for a cover song: his version of Taylor Swift’s “Lover.”
The production is overwhelming, even by Vegas standards.
Although the Colosseum seats less than 5,000, the show has a stadium feel, thanks in part to the oversized LED wall that enveloped Urban and his band. While the familiar singalongs are the centerpiece of the show, the production is part of its mastery, as Urban uses those lights and screens to add flair. In some cases, he’s singing while idyllic ocean waves lap behind him. Other times the screen places him at the end of a kaleidoscope. During “The Fighter,” a larger-than-life Carrie Underwood even cameos for a digital duet. Urban has called the show “very 2020.”
Urban takes long walks through the crowd…
Urban’s never been afraid to mingle with his fans. Late in the show, he began walking through the showroom (like Elvis used to at the International in the Seventies), eventually making his way to a makeshift stage in the middle of the audience. Performances of “Days Go By” and “You’ll Think of Me” followed, giving those fans in the back newly front-row seats. “This show is about EVERY person — no matter where you are in the arena — feeling like YOU’RE IT,” Urban tweeted after opening night.
…and gives things away.
As Urban fans know, he often gives stuff away during his shows — namely, his guitar. On this particular night, the country superstar noticed a man on a cell phone vying for a selfie. “I got something way better than a phone,” Urban told the guy as he took his guitar off his shoulder, signed it with a marker, and handed it to him. “That’s slightly used,” Urban quipped.