Strip headliner Keith Urban finds Zappos Theater an easy fit
Guitar great Keith Urban casually mentions that his dad was a drummer. And so is he.
If the Colosseum at Caesars Palace was Keith Urban’s living room, Zappos Theater is his man cave.
Urban is clearly at home and read to crank the volume in his new headlining Strip residency. He opened the series over the weekend and headlines select dates through July 1 (ticket intel at ticketmaster.com/keithurbanvegas).
I took a friend who had not seen Urban’s show, but who knows guitar artistry when he sees it. He wasn’t so sure what to expect from Urban, known as a country artist.
Having had that same experience with Urban at Caesars, I said, “He’s a rock star who plays country music.”
Urban plays a solo where his fingers fly across the frets, as he taps a beat on his open microphone. Imagine an artist (say, Ed Sheeran) creating loops, but without all those loop pedals. It’s a killer effect, which I’ve not seen until this show.
Fans relished the hits, naturally. “Somewhere In My Car,” “Somebody Like You,” “Blue Ain’t Your Color” and “Wasted Time” all in the night’s roster.
Urban’s is a precision production, no wasted effort, gorgeously but simply lit with effectively timed images on the LED panel behind the stage.
Musically, Urban’s presentation is tightly constructed, yet with several personal touches. Physically fit in a way that makes you want to hit the elliptical afterward, Urban summons home movies of his wedding to Nicole Kidman (he got the girl, too), the couple glowing in their collective stardom.
Urban briefly slams the drums, too, a great and unexpected left turn in the performance. After, he says, “My dad was a drummer.”
For sure. Bob Urban was known to tap out rhythms on the dashboard of the family car, at the kitchen table, wherever.
Urban has picked up his dad’s knack for the beat. The black-and-white clip feels like it’s being shown on an old movie projector. It is an inspired way for this superstar to welcome guests into his personal space.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.