By Kaz Johnson
The other night I was given a glorious gift by a dear country music friend. I was given a ticket to see Keith Urban. I had seen him in the same venue (before the twenty name changes) a few years ago when Morgan Evans was his support act. A lot has happened since then. Indeed, a lot has happened since I first spotted a teenage Keith Urban in Peel Street in Tamworth.
Together with another young fella back then, a bloke called James Blundell, the two provided a new view on country music in Australia. Back then the change was dramatic, with the main contenders for Golden Guitars were two blokes with the names of Slim Dusty and Reg Lindsay. Now, with no disrespect to those legends, but Keith and James and another not too shabby singer/songwriter by the name of Allan Caswell, country music was about to get a fresh shot of life.
However, where Allan and James and another young fella called Lee Kernaghan were being accepted into the country fold, the guy with the two tone punk hair style and the earrings playing a different blend of music was getting odd looks and causing a bit of a division amongst experts, fans and the media.
Keith had to leave Australia to find a true pot of gold and not without struggles……many struggles which could have cost him his life and we would have been deprived of both his music and more importantly the bright light that he shines upon us as a human being. Keith Urban has it all now…..personally and professionally but he has had to fight for it.
The phenomenal success in the U.S. has led finally, to recognition at home. He was born in NZ and raised in Australia – he is a true ANZAC! He probably has more than a right to be bitter with Australia and the way that they once treated him and the way that some people still treat him now. He doesn’t appear to be. A lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon, others have stuck by him and others have just woken up or changed their minds.
Given the reaction to his concerts this week, his fans are more than happy to have him home. His natural way with a family who had been to all of his gigs was not forced or done for promotional reasons. He seemed more than genuine in his approach with them and with giving a signed guitar to a girl in the crowd who just happened to be my cousin’s niece (!)
Unless he has been taking acting lessons from his Oscar award winning wife then he is the real deal.
His interaction with the crowd and the way that the crowd responded to him and his songs, tells the whole story. Journalists who are looking to stir have no bloody idea.
Keith’s songs are varied from ballads to rockier numbers with amazing guitar skills and a band that pumps. He throws in a few classics and moves from the front of the venue to the back to share the love and the music. Last time that I went, he had a catwalk so that he could do something similar.
He has energy and heart and soul. He gives 150%. What more can you ask for?
The golden road has led him home. The welcome mat is always there for you, Keith. The five fans who were lit up with your name in the crowd said it all.