Keith Urban throws Vancouver a party at Rogers Arena

Keith Urban at Rogers Arena, 9/25/18

Keith Urban @ Rogers Arena
Photo by Ryan Johnson

For a lot of fans, the sight of Keith Urban at the front of a stage, wearing blue jeans and an earth-toned t-shirt whilst stomping his foot and playing his guitar for two hours would have been enough to satisfy. Though there was plenty of that to go around when he played at Vancouver’s Rogers Arena on Tuesday night, there was also a long list elements that made the evening feel like a party.

Supporting act Lindsay Ell was a force to be reckoned with, as most Alberta girls are. The petite guitar virtuoso stormed the stage sporting a peach top, black sport pants, high heels, a fender guitar, blue nail polish and enough personality to make it all work.

“I’ll even say I love the Canucks,” she announced playfully, after admitting to being Calgary, Vancouver’s hockey rival.

Lindsay Ell @ Rogers Arena
Photo by Ryan Johnson

Her playlist is catchy and full of radio friendly tunes about having fun, broken hearts and crushing hard on Justin Timberlake. There were also some very memorable guitar solos that had those cobalt blue nails flying up and down the neck of her fender guitar.

Keith Urban fans recognized the opening bass lines of “Never Coming Down” and were on their feet before the New Zealand-born, Australian-raised singer even set foot on stage. And most of them stayed standing the entire two hours.

Word has gotten out about Keith Urban’s growing infatuation with homemade signs. After he and his four bandmates had blazed through “Days go By” and “Coming Home,” respectfully, he pulled out a pair of binoculars and scanned the oodles of birthday announcements and requests that fans were waving enthusiastically. A very lucky 13-year-old named Jordanna and her mom, Sara, were invited on stage for a quick serenade, much to their disbelief.

Keith Urban @ Rogers Arena
Photo by Ryan Johnson

During the performance, Urban constantly sought out people from the audience to interact with. The most touching was with a young fan near the age of five, who was enjoying the show from a perch on one of her parents’ shoulders. During the uplifting, catchy tune “You Gonna Fly,” Urban pointed towards her as she reached her arms towards the stage and sang a couple of lines to her. One moment among many that surely made a few thousand people smile a little bigger.

Urban picked up an acoustic guitar and played “Stupid Boy” on his own near the front of the stage about halfway through the evening. If anyone had forgotten the musical prowess of this man, they were reminded during this sing-along.

Soon after, fans were treated to a sampling of Larkin Poe, two sisters from Atlanta, Georgia whose powerful vocals and swampy, delta blues sound is quickly gaining them critical acclaim and popularity. The duo brought a gritty, hard-hitting element to the show. Their short, but memorable time on stage ended in an all-out jam with the two sisters, Urban and most of his band stomping and jamming at the front of the stage.

Before the night was through, Urban jumped off-stage, circled the floor and either hi-fived or gently shoulder checked every fan within the vicinity. He played on a stage near the back of the arena where he laid down the sweetest guitar solo of the evening, signed the guitar, and then gave it away to one lucky fan.

Keith Urban @ Rogers Arena
Photo by Ryan Johnson

Urban returned to the stage for the encore wearing a Canucks jersey, and played a song with a guitar that had once belonged to Waylon Jennings. Then he invited Lindsay Ell back to close the night with the song “Horses” from Graffiti U, Urban’s newest album. As the night came to a close and the music portion of the evening ended, Urban acknowledged fans who were still waving frantically at him before crouching down to shake hands with fans up front, hoping for another chance to hi-five the gregarious super star.

A gracious host, indeed.