Not just an urban legend

A Tulsa Today Special Review

“You may want to call up the babysitter and tell her you will be a little late getting home tonight.”

Singer/Songwriter and Guitarist Keith Urban shouts into the microphone, “Cause we aren’t going anywhere!”  A bold statement, but one that he easily lived up to.

The Escape Together Tour rolled into Tulsa on Friday night and entertained a full capacity crowd at the BOK center.
The night was kicked off by multi-platinum artist Sugarland, an Atlanta based duo that burst onto the scene a few years back and has been lighting up stages and Billboard charts ever since.

Lead Singer Jennifer Nettles has an amazing voice. With a deep southern draw and jaw dropping range, her voice was made for country music.

Her vocals shined with song such as: “Baby Girl,” “Everyday America,” and “Something More,” which were all huge hit singles.

She has a way with complex notes that she makes sound easy.  Very smooth and polished.

Stand out number of the night for Sugarland had to be “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” a song written by Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi.

Nettles sang duet with Bon Jovi on the CMT Crossroads, Bon Jovi/Sugarland episode.  What made this song such a hit on this night was that someone did their homework and went out and got some great video footage from around Tulsa and incorporated it into the song backdrop.

The Golden Driller, Drillers Stadium, Cain’s, Blue Doom district, as well as many other notable Tulsa landmarks were all on display and were met with very enthusiastic screams and shouts.

It was a very high energy, new country show that had the audience primed and ready for the main event.

Nettles and Guitarist Kristian Bush are full of life and work very well together on stage.  It’s easy to see why this relatively new group has fast become a huge draw and fan favorite.

After a brief intermission, the stage was transformed. Shrouded with a black curtain, the lights went out and the crowd readied themselves for the man they had come to see.

Lighting behind the curtain began to shine and shapes of band members were visible through the curtain–images that met with an eruption from the throngs of people in attendance.

Guitar chords struck, drum beats hit, bass lines plucked and off we went. Curtain drops and the frenzy begins.

Urban appeared on the stage with blistering guitar licks and walked straight down the runway to a microphone that has risen from under the stage.

From the first word of the opener “I’d Hit the Ground Runnin’” it was a night of singing along.

The crowd, which for obvious reasons, was mostly female based.  They were easily wrapped around Urban’s finger from the word go.

Although, I must admit, I am a Keith Urban fan because of his amazing guitar work and stellar songwriting–both of which have earned him much praise and awards in the music industry.

From last night’s performance, it’s easy to see that Urban is right at home onstage and behind a guitar.  He delivers on all levels.

He was all smiles and laughs most of the night and he took the time to greet the BOK from top to bottom.

He spoke directly to those in the 3 deck, lower bowl and floor.  He even joked with the people in the suites, “Thank you for having us to play before thee.”

KU’s stage was set up in a way that allowed him to move from side to side, while he sang to the crowd.  Mic’s were set up everywhere, allowing him to entertain everyone.

The sides of the stage were adorned with ramps that led down onto the floor which he and his band made much use of–they all came into the audience to mingle and to showcase their playing.

At one point, Urban came down the ramp and began walking around the floor playing guitar. When he reached an area back by the sound booth, he stood on an island stage at the back of the room and shouted’ “Who has the good seats now!”

While he sat there and played “Making Memories of Us” and other songs, he slowly made his way back to the main stage for more upbeat songs, such as: “Who Wouldn’t Want to Be Me,” “Better Half” and “You Look Good In My Shirt,” the latter of which he again left the stage and showed up in the middle of the crowd in the lower bowl, where the crowd was singing along with the chorus of “Shirt.”

Keith has a fun time onstage and interacts with the audience in a way that draws them in and makes them a part of his show.

He’s the same way with his band members, too.  He gave each of them a chance to showcase their talents and singing abilities.

After playing a long list of hit songs that were met with great reaction, Urban stopped the show to tell us that “Since he was in Oklahoma, he had worked out a tune that we may like.”

That being said, he brought Sugarland back to the stage to help him out with a spot on the cover of “You’re The Reason God Made Oklahoma.”  (See bottom of article to hear last night’s performance.)

As the show started to close, the humble and obviously grounded Urban took the time to say to those in attendance, “We [Sugarland also] know how hard it is during these hard economic times, and it means so much to us that you still come out to see us. Thank You from the bottom of our hearts.”

Two encores followed, “Tonight I Wanna Cry” and “Better Life” both of which had a “we don’t want to go” kind of feel.

“Better Life” was stretched out with a long guitar solo and much playing to the crowd as well as a shower of neon colored confetti shot on either side of the stage.

The night was well worth the price of a ticket and then some.  Combined, the two acts played for nearly three hours.  It was a great way to spend a Friday night.

About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar/sings when called upon to do so.

Photo credits: Ernie Osborn

Hear last night’s performance of "You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma," at this address:

Last Updated ( Monday, 10 August 2009 )