See Keith Urban's Tribute to Tom Petty, Chris Cornell - Rolling Stone
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See Keith Urban’s New Year’s Tribute to Tom Petty, Chris Cornell

Country star covers hits of those we’ve lost in 2017, including Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman, during dazzling performance in Nashville

Just as he did last year, Keith Urban devoted a portion of his headlining set at Nashville’s New Year’s Eve party, Music City Midnight, on Sunday to pay tribute to artists who died in 2017.

Fighting off below-zero wind chills, Urban, in a puffy coat and scarf, but no gloves, played guitar and sang his own hits like “You Gonna Fly” for an estimated crowd of 100,000. Just before midnight, however, he turned somber, plucking the opening notes of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun.” The song, an homage to Chris Cornell who committed suicide in May, was the first of a lengthy medley honoring other musicians who died this past year: Gregg Allman’s “Midnight Rider,” Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” Don Williams’ “Tulsa Time” and even the iconic riff from “Back in Black” as a nod to AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young.

Urban wrapped up the tribute with a full performance of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” joined onstage by wife Nicole Kidman and their two daughters. The singer already has dates on the books for 2018, including the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in April and Stagecoach in Indio, California, that same month.

Watch below: Tom Petty’s rock-defining essential songs, from his Seventies classics to his Nineties hits.

In This Article: Keith Urban


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