A chat with Keith Urban

by Alison Bonaguro

Special to the Tribune

Published May 15, 2009


You know "American Idol" has done its job when it impresses a guy like Keith Urban.

"I was watching 'American Idol' the other day and that Adam guy did that song from 'Saturday Night Fever,' 'If I Can't Have You,'" said Urban. "But he did it as this aching torch song. And I was blown away."

In a call from Nashville, Urban talked about the instruments he'll sling at his coming Allstate Arena show.

The Mini Maton guitar that Urban said he has been "beating to hell for the past two years" won't be making the trip.

Then there's the custom-crafted Telecaster electric guitar that was inspired by Urban's lust for the guitar that Kiss' Paul Stanley played. "Growing up, I was always mesmerized by his guitar," Urban said of the instrument known as the Mirror Ball Iceman.

Urban has played guitars, banjos, pianos and even the drums at recent Chicago shows. "Tours have a way of evolving, so who knows? I may even be playing the trombone. Which would really be something, because I don't even play the trombone," he joked.

"There is the musicality, the theatricality and the cinematic elements that I'd like to see if I was going to a show," he said. "So we do the set list, then I have a lengthy list of conceptual ideas for connecting to everybody. ... "

Last summer at a Soldier Field show, Urban left the stage to sing "You Look Good in My Shirt" from the first tier of seats. And at one of his recent Allstate Arena shows, he rode a trapeze to the very end of the stage's catwalk, telling fans way in the back, "Now you guys are in the front row."

And Urban fans will likely be impressed by the opening act, Zac Brown Band.


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