Keith Urban ‘Speeds’ at Bristow show

The country rocker is touring in support of his 2020 album

Keith Urban brought his electrifying The Speed of Now Tour to the DC area tonight (Sat, July 30th) at Jiffy Lube Live.

The Aussie presented his unique electric guitar-fueled country music with an angular stage set behind him. The crooked square double-screens were framed by two equally crooked square light rigs.

Escapism was the theme of the night. “If you want to completely annoy the people around you with your bad singing, this is the night to do it,” he told the crowd early on.

Fans brought signs asking for hugs and requesting songs. The recipients of the former were two sisters whose light-up sign caught Urban’s attention. On stage, he was generous with his time, chatting with the duo and effortlessly mining their starstruck state for comedy gold. When one sister reminded him of a kiss on her right cheek years ago, he promptly planted one on her left. The crowd erupted.

That personal relatability extends to his music. For many, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” could describe their lives. A master of musical emotional manipulation, he can have the crowd relaxing and pensive in their chairs one moment (“God Whispered Your Name”). Then, at the drop of the very next beat, Urban has the crowd on their feet with (“You Look Good In My Shirt.”)

Urban alternated guitars nearly every song. Some had gorgeous designs. Others had duct taped lines for a cool effect. All sounded kick-ass during extended jams by Urban and crew.

Urban also gives ample time to his band mates. Drummer Terence F. Clark soloed on “Shirt,” while Jerry Flowers offered a snippet of “Sweet Dreams.” Nathan Barlow stole the segment, however, with a killer verse/chorus of “Sweet Dreams” on his trademark techno instrument, dubbed “The Phantom.”

On a B stage, Urban tore into a dramatic acoustic rendition of “You’ll Think of Me.” Proving himself yet again a man of his people, he signed the guitar he was playing and gave it to a grateful fan on Jiffy Lube’s Lawn.

The highlight of the night was undoubtedly “Somebody Like You.” With its familiar refrain, “I wanna love somebody, love somebody like you,” it is the perfect anthem for a state branded as being “for lovers.”

But the uptempo jaunt also contained the night’s most poignant moment. Urban asked for the lights to be turned completely off. He then asked the audience, earnestly, “how will you see the band?” 20,000+ got the hint. They lit up the hills of Bristow with their phones. “This,” Urban exclaimed, “Proves that what we cannot do alone, we can achieve together.” Indeed, it is a spirit of togetherness in his music and within himself that keeps fans coming back to Keith Urban.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.