Keith Urban, Birds Of Tokyo @ Entertainment Centre, Adelaide 14/12/2022

After the Covid years and rescheduled dates Keith Urban finally returned to Adelaide with the Birds Of Tokyo to the delight of fans going down as one of the year’s finest. If it wasn’t sold out it would have been extremely close and the buzz around the foyer of the Entertainment Centre was fever pitch.

If you are going to pick a support act why not get one the biggest bands going around in Birds Of Tokyo. Great to see all the members on stage together and not separated by border closures and Covid restrictions like we have seen over the last couple of years. This was probably the most animated I’ve seen front man Ian Kenny who opened with “Welcome to the show my friends”. They played with plenty of gusto despite the sound mix sounding really bass heavy. Nevertheless, the focus in Kenny’s words was “we’ve got one night to make a moment and to make a memory.”

Their set was loaded with hits starting This Fire to newer single Smith Street to the familiar I’d Go Anywhere With You and Anchor. Plenty of songs about love, lost lost, inner strength and making mistakes with Two Of Us, Greatest Mistakes, Unbreakable and Good Lord. It was great to hear their new and current single Daylight, which was the first time they could be in studio together in two years. There was a song ‘for the dreamers” in Plans before finishing on Lanterns with everyone’s mobile phone light on to “make a moment”.

There were plenty of excitable fans as the lights dimmed with a series of silhouette images lighting up before the spot light shone on Keith Urban. It was definitely like the hometown hero had returned as it went full throttle with opener in Tumbleweed with a teaser of Ram Jam’s Black Betty thrown in. Right from the outset it is quite easy to see Keith Urban’s appeal. Full of charisma, interacts and engages with the crowd not forgetting to load up the set with plenty of hits. Two hours of Keith Urban at his finest. Whether you’re a die hard fan or a casual observer it’s pretty easy to walk away thinking that was a dynamite show. As Days Go By morphed in to a teaser of Big Audio Dynamite’s Rush. In Urban’s words “we finally friggin’ made it after two years!” The signs made up by fans were interesting with one saying “you didn’t come to Perth, so we came to you” and there was one other illuminated sign that created intrigue with Urban needing to suss it out further. With the sign having words to the effect ‘you’re standing in my room’ Urban brought the fan and her daughter on stage to give the backstory that her house back in 1988 was on the site of the Entertainment Centre before being bulldozed. Quite the story and moment with these fans who got a selfie and I’m pretty sure they’ll never forget this.

It was single after single with Wildhearts, Never Coming Down and Cop Car proving popular. Kiss A Girl cleverly included a snippet of Ed Sheeran’s Bad Habit. After Long Hot Summer, Somewhere In My Car, God Whispered Your Name Urban took a moment to ask the question “are we alive now Adelaide? It feels like Friday night”. There was a resounding response before long time Keith Urban bass player Jerry Flowers took the lead on John Legend cover All Of Me. Urban reflected on Flowers contribution saying how they had know each other for a long time going right back to the one of their bands from their formative years The Ranch suggested they might have played across the road at The Gov at least once. Guitarist who has played “The Phantom” Nathan Barlowe had his moment to shine on Sweet Dreams and Seven Nation Army.

The song One Too Many featured a silhouette of Pink and her vocals added to the song. Urban took off in to the crowd standing on a very small platform allowing fans to get right up close and personal for a few acoustic songs playing Thank God I’m A Country Boy, Better Life and You’ll Think Of Me which after a lucky fan scored the guitar he was playing. Returning to the main stage it was Somebody Like You which moved in to Urban’s guilty pleasure song The Lion Sleeps Tonight later saying you will curse me tomorrow. Requesting that the lights be dropped, Urban asked the crowd to light up the Entertainment Centre creating one of the most powerful moments of the night saying “what we can’t do alone, we can do together”.

There was still plenty more to come as Urban feeding off the energy off the crowd found another gig. Blue Ain’t Your Colour, The Fighter and Waste Of Time finished the main set with the crowd down the front being showered in streamers/ confetti creating a wonderful photo moment. Returning for an encore Urban said “it’s a Wednesday night and you’re still here? Don’t want to go home? Neither do I”. It was a solo version of White Christmas with the band returning to play on Stupid Boy. I think Urban speak five plus minutes thanking the crowd, shaking hands, high fives and signing stuff which says a lot about how gracious Keith Urban is to his fans who have hung on to their tickets and turning out in big numbers. Even with his minder trying to drag him away he still wanted to be out there thanking his fans.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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