Keith Urban's show at First Niagara Pavilion Friday night closed out the season's run of hunk TV reality show judges gracing the Burgettstown stage.
The Australian superstar's popularity is not driven by gimmicky public "bromances" like the one between "The Voice" judges Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. Mr. Urban happens to be one of the most capable guitarists across all genres with an arsenal any gearhead would give approval.
Despite having to cancel the prior night's show in Cleveland due to inclement weather, he appeared in good spirits. With a casual wave, he began a rocking instrumental on banjo that morphed deftly into "Long Hot Summer."
The crowd was then treated to a generous greatest hits type set peppered with a few odd covers. Those not familiar with his work were rightfully stunned by his Clapton-like finesse and David Gilmour-type soul on the can't miss "Stupid Boy." While bathed in red lights and smoke, he looked every bit the rock star.
Material from his new album "Fuse" was showcased only six songs in with radio-ready, "Even The Stars Fall For You." It featured a celestial backdrop on five very expensive hi-def floor-to-ceiling video panels. At one point, he panned the crowd with a spotlight. It landed on a sign that said "My Dream is To Sing with You." The enraptured young lady was brought on stage to sing a brief snippet of "Raining On Sunday."
In a later diversion, Mr. Urban, bassist Jerry Flowers and drummer Chris McHugh trekked through to the B stage to perform a four-song block to the lawn while The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" played over the PA.
They scorched through "Days Go By" -- with a snippet of Adele's "Rumor Has It" sung by Flowers -- "Once in a Lifetime" and "Boys Round Here" before playing their way back to the main stage with "You'll Think Of Me," with a bit of fun.'s "Some Nights" thrown in. He closed out with a cover of Bruno Mars' ""Locked Out Of Heaven"
Not enough can be said about opener Little Big Town. They could easily pull their weight as a top headline act. The quartet's rich harmonies are mesmerizing and they showed they can rock out with the best after destroying a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." Karen Fairchild allegedly wore her black and gold pants in honor of the Steelers.
The early time slot was filled by 28-year-old newcomer Dustin Lynch. He dedicated his debut single "Cowboys and Angels" to his grandparents who recently celebrated their 57th anniversary.
Michael Rampa is a freelance writer.