It had been five years since Keith Urban played Staples Center, and he delivered a show Thursday night (October 20th) that his Los Angeles fans won’t soon forget.
From the opening chords of “Gone Tomorrow (Here Today),” the first track on his current album, Ripcord, the evening was an instant reminder why Urban garnered four CMA Award nominations for the November 2nd awards show—including Entertainer, Album and Male Vocalist of the Year. He and his crackerjack band rocked the arena as he seamlessly segued from one hit to the next.
Urban brought a palpable sense of joy to the evening—through both his playing and the perpetual grin on his face— but no more so than when he brought Nile Rodgers up on stage. The legendary producer co-wrote and co-produced “Sun, Don’t Let Me Down” from Ripcord.
Urban introduced Rodgers by singing samples of some of the hits the Grammy-winning producer helped create, including Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and Chic’s “Freak Out,” as well as mentioning David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Madonna’s “Like A Virgin,” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
After sharing a warm hug and before they launched into the funky “Sun,” Rodgers had extremely kind words for Urban. “I just want to say one thing about this man. He is the brother I never had. He is the greatest gentleman in all of music. It’s true,” he said. “A few years ago, I was stricken with cancer. I met Keith and we just became bros. He gave me the best birthday party like you couldn’t believe and just working with him is the most loving experience ever.”
Rodgers wasn’t the only guest joining Urban for the two-hour show. Opener Maren Morris returned for a duet on “We Were Us,” taking the part Miranda Lambert sings on the recorded track. Then Brett Eldredge, who has the middle slot on the bill, emerged on a small stage near the back of the arena to sing “Somebody Like You” with Urban as the two traded verses and, to the delight of the crowd, goofy faces in a close-up camera, cracking each other up.
A member of the audience even got into the act. After Urban read her sign that stated she would get an A+ on her mid-term if she sang with him, he pulled the college student up on stage for a killer version of the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter,” a song he performed with Alicia Keys in 2007.
Urban’s Ripcord tour wraps up in the U.S. in November, before heading to New Zealand and Australia with special guest Carrie Underwood in December.