“Las Cruces! Are we feeling good tonight, guys? It’s so nice to be playing here; so good!” said Australian country singer Keith Urban to the large crowd at the Pan American Center on October 18th, for his first-time ever performance there as part of his “ripCord World Tour 2016.”
Cowboy boots, hats, denim, and the sweet smell of wheat, barley, and a little alcohol (beer), filled the arena, as the crowd sang and danced along to each and every song. Urban kicked off the night with ‘Gone Tomorrow (Here Today)’, the opening track on his 9th studio album, Ripcord.
The upbeat track coalesced the banjo, electric guitar, and an instrument played in real time called “The Phantom,” generated by band
member and instrumentalist Nathan Barlowe, made up of four iPads and a mixing board, creating the perfect atmosphere to get the crowd moving. When bringing his second ballad to an end, he then proceeded to pump up the audience by interacting with them and asking how they were doing.
After scanning the crowd, one fan in particular caught his eye, inviting her over on stage. The Las Cruces native’s name was Brandy, persuading the singer to start chanting Looking Glass’ ‘Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl).’ “I was named after that song!” she enthusiastically cried.
Urban continued to converse with Brandy on stage, and her best friend Carlos, who remained in the audience, cracking jokes, and taking selfies with them both. When he finally hugged her goodbye, Brandy walked off stage and back into the crowd, while tears of joy filled her eyes.
The singer continued on with his show, singing his first No. 1 single ‘But for the Grace of God.’
The crowd clapped along to the beat as the song progressed and came to an end. He then carried on with the revamped ‘Where the Blacktop Ends,’ keeping the energy at a high level. Flashing lights lit up the Pam Am, while Urban very rapidly played the guitar solo outro as organic, resonant, and heavy as he possibly could, making the crowd plead for more.
“Man this is a friendly town. This is crazy!” yelled Urban. The next seven songs consisted mostly of tracks off his new album, including ‘Getting’ in the Way,’ and ‘Blue Ain’t Your Color,’ turning the standing area into a dance floor.
Couples danced slowly, as they swayed to the music, all while singing along to the tune. Urban introduced his band members and proceeded to do the unthinkable. The singer ran off stage to the back of the standing area, where a second, smaller stage awaited him, alongside the two other original band members.
The arena turned quiet, as the fans on the stands couldn’t believe their eyes. Urban jokingly complained about it being too quiet, saying “it’s not a library, Las Cruces. It’s a concert!” The crowd cheered, soaking every second of what was right before them.
He began to very energetically perform, when midway through his 2008 No. 1 hit ‘You Look Good in My Shirt,’ Urban grabbed the very own black electric guitar he was performing with, signed his name in gold Sharpie ink, and handed it over to a fan in the stands. The crowd went wild.
Screams filled the place, accompanied by the upbeat clapping and vibrations created by his fans, as they jumped up and down, and sang to ‘Little Bit of Everything.’ The singer called it an “energetic hoedown.”
Urban and his band returned to the main stage to close out the night with their remaining acts.
The band members shared smiles amongst each other, and with the audience, while Urban rapped about New Mexico and how their family-
like atmosphere was so welcoming.
The singer concluded his last song ‘Wasted Time,’ by strumming the banjo, creating a metallic, raucous, and lively sound that resonated throughout the venue. Confetti glowing under black light filled the air, as the band said their final goodbyes until next time.
At that point, fans weren’t ready for the night to end just yet. The audience shouted his name and begged for one last song. “You guys are amazing! Thank you!” yelled Urban, gifting his fans ‘Stupid Boy,’ and ‘Raise ‘Em Up,’ as his two song encore.
Keith Urban finally called it a day by showing gratitude for such special night. The band threw guitar picks, drum sticks, and wrist bands they wore throughout the show, with the words ‘Caught it!’ on them, into the audience, while Urban took the time to take selfies with fans, and sign various t-shirts, cowboy boots, and other items, that they held up throughout the show.
As he walked off stage, fans exited the arena with smiles only Keith Urban could put on their faces after such incredible performance.
To view Andres Acosta’s gallery of the concert, click HERE.
Author: Yazmin M. Garcia, Special to the Herald-Post