New Zealand-born Australian country rocker Keith Urban and his band delivered a knockout performance Sunday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Kelowna’s Prospera Place.
Urban, who played many of his hits and rocked out for more than an hour and 40 minutes, followed by a 15-minute encore that started with him alone on acoustic guitar before being joined by the four members of his band for a rousing finale, interacted with his audience throughout the concert. At various times he posed for selfies and shoo hands with those closest to the stage, signed autographs and, at one point, even lead his drummer and bassist through the crowd to a small stage set up at the back of the arena so he could play in front of those seated farthest from the main stage.
He told them he did that for two reasons—one because it took him back to how he started out with just a drummer and bass player playing small venues on a small stage, but also so he could ask those seated at the rear of the arena “So, who has the best seats in the house now?”
Throughout the show Urban demonstrated his impressive guitar prowess but while the music was high-energy throughout, so was his generosity when it came to his audience and even his two opening acts. And that that separated him from many who have played the same stage before him.
Opening act singers Maren Morris and Dallas Smith were both brought out on stage to sing with Urban during the concert. And Urban didn’t stop at simply talking to his audience.
At one point he brought a girl up on stage who said she was attending her first concert, another time, when he read a young woman’s sign that said she bet her allowance she could get a selfie with him, he obliged by lying on the stage and shooting the picture himself with the girls cell phone so she could win the bet with her mom and double her allowance.
And then, during his three-song set on the small stage at the real of Prosper Place, he stopped playing halfway through a song, unplugged his electric guitar, signed the instrument and gave it a shocked young woman standing in front of the stage.
With every gesture, comment and after each song, the crowd roared its approval, prompting Urban to take to the mike after the encore— a time when most acts would have left the stage— and thank the crowd for coming out to watch him and his band play.
“I know there are lots of concerts going on and we’re so grateful you choose this one to go to,” said Urban. “For that we thank you.”
He followed that by shaking more hands, high-fiving and signing more autographs for his cheering fans.
Earlier in the evening, Urban told the crowd he was familiar with the Okanagan because for the last few years, he and his family have vacationed near Vernon.