Keith Urban is a peculiar superstar. Take away the rugged good looks, and you'd still be left with a talented guitarist who, Tuesday night, gave every impression he'd be just as content jamming in the studio as headlining the rodeo before almost 60,000 adoring, possibly hyperventilating fans.
In fact, Urban began playing guitar at age six, and made a decent living in Nashville as a session hand for the likes of Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks before anyone ever had the brilliant idea to stick him in front of a camera. According to his allmusic.com bio, one of Urban's principal influences is Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler, and it showed both in his own deft fretwork and the effortless interaction between the front man and his band.
Only the banjo player looked younger than Urban, no spring chicken himself at 42, and the grizzled bunch of veterans stayed well within the pocket of contemporary country - read: classic rock played in whatever key it is that lends just a hint of twang - but their chops alone elevated frothier fare like opener "Kiss a Girl" and Journey-like ballads such as "Stupid Boy" to something beyond assembly-line Nashville radio drivel.