Now I’ve never claimed to be some sort of entertainment critic, but when I find a good thing, it only seems right to spread the word. So it seems my latest responsibility is to tell you all how thoroughly impressed I was at Keith Urban’s concert in Noblesville, Indiana this past weekend. His Raise ‘Em Up tour is low-fuss, high-energy, dynamic country rock that appeals to an impressive spectrum of fans within the genre and beyond.
I’ve seen Keith play live once before, so I had an idea what I was in for. But that was back in 2008 when Kenny Chesney brought him to Lucas Oil, and this was 6 years and 3 albums later. Needless to say, the show has changed a bit. Along with Keith were Jerrod Neimann and my absolute favorite rising star in country music, Brett Eldredge. The three of them built a steady roar that echoed through Klipsch Music Center all through the night.
Brett kicked things off with songs from his debut album, including monster hits “Don’t Ya” and “Beat of the Music,” as well as a stint of Sinatra’s ever-loved “Fly Me to the Moon” and an unreleased but well-received song of his own titled “Can’t Behave.” His set started early and only lasted about 30 minutes, but concert-goers were on their feet and singing along nonetheless. When he stepped off stage, I started back to get in line for VIP to meet him (again) and get another photo together. He loved my necklace, which got us talking about fishing and how much he wishes he could have more time for that. He wrote that we should definitely go do just that when he signed my poster, and I have plans to hold him to it.
I returned, head over heels for the blue-eyed musician, to the Harrison College Lawn in the middle of Jerrod Niemann’s show. Not surprisingly, our front row lawn spots had been taken, so rather than fight the crowd, we made our way up the hill to the back. I’d never been more than six feet into the lawn, so this was a completely new perspective for me, and I still loved it. Jerrod is known for upbeat hits like “Lover, Lover” and “One More Drinkin’ Song,” but having recently released a new album, he was also having quite the time onstage with unexpected songs such as “Donkey,” and the occasional slow down for heartache pieces like “What Do You Want.”
Keith finally entered the spotlight right around 9pm, and brought the show to full-speed. His latest hit “Cop Car” along with older singles like “Better Half,” “Kiss A Girl,” and my favorite, “You Look Good in My Shirt” each amped up the energy until every person in attendance had forgotten their troubles. Keith had a contest winner come on stage to sing with him on “We Were Us” and then brought another lucky lady on stage after spotting her in the crowd with a sign that read “Bucket List: Have Keith Urban call me baby.” It was genius, actually. And of course, he obliged, leaving at least half of the audience swooning.
Halfway through, the star parted the crowd and made his way to a small platform set up in the lawn. He played three songs out there, and even signed and handed off his guitar to a very excited fan. It was so incredible because that girl bought a $30 lawn ticket and probably hadn’t dreamed of being so close to Keith or ever getting such a priceless souvenir. He surely made her summer, and gestures like that are exactly what keep people coming back.
If Raise ‘Em Up is rolling through your area and you’re on the fence about going, give Keith and the guys the benefit of the doubt. Despite some news regarding drama in crowds at earlier shows, this tour packs a punch and will introduce a new dynamic with its combination of performers.