Oh, sad day. My Ripcord World Tour trifecta is now complete. My long-awaited Keith Urban shows in Moline, IL; Milwaukee, WI; and Bloomington, IL, with Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris as opening acts, are now in the books.
I fist pumped. I waved. I pointed. I sang. I screeched. I smiled (so much my cheeks hurt). I snapped endless photos. I held up my phone flashlight. I waved my middle aged arms (guess which one is mine above). And I danced like no one was watching. For me, Keith Urban’s shows are two plus hours of visual and sonic joy, led by one of modern country music’s best showmen.
Someone asked me today, “But aren’t all the shows the same?” Nope, they aren’t. That is because watching the stage is only part of the experience. Being with others enjoying the moment around me is equally fun. And I’ve had tons of fun documenting each of the recent shows I attended with family members and good friends, many who had never been to a Keith concert before.
But I warn you. This is not a concert review. And if looking at other people’s scrapbooks is a bore, stop reading now. Otherwise, enjoy my indulgence as I relive the fun.
Bloomington, IL, Nov 12, 2016: “He is sort of mesmerizing to watch,” observed my sister-in-law Sherry after the show in Bloomington. Sherry and her husband John, plus a friend, Pam, joined me in the pit. That meant we stood just a few feet from the stage, which is a thrill. My nephews Daniel and David, along with David’s fiancee Rachel and her young sister Abigail, were up in the stands just to our right. Kind of a role reversal to stand while the kids sat but everyone was happy. “Once he started, I completely forgot about my sore feet,” said Pam. “I’d definitely repeat that!”
One of the best non-musical moments of the Bloomington show was watching what happened when a young woman named Bella from Downers Grove, IL, held up a clever sign that said, “You were my write-in!” It caught Keith’s attention and he invited her to join him on stage. He then brought Bella’s mom Debbie up to the stage too. “She’s your biggest fan,” said Bella.
Debbie stole the show for the next few minutes as she tried to keep her composure. She messed up reciting her kids ages when Keith asked about her family. She mentioned her birthday even though it was last May. Keith responded by leading the jam-packed arena in a ridiculously funny rendition of Happy Birthday. “It was a once in a life time experience,” Debbie told me later. (Both of us have children with special needs and we instantly bonded.)
We met many other nice fans while waiting at the arena and later in our little enclave in the pit. It was fun sharing the experience.
Liz and Cole, a sweet young couple next to us, also held up a poster. They wanted to tell Keith his song Break on Me will be the first dance at their wedding next April. After the show Keith autographed their sign. It will be on display at the wedding, they said.
Milwaukee, WI, Nov 4, 2016: It was girl’s night out with my cousin Kris and her friend Janie, plus my friend June and her daughters Erin and Emily. June is a music fan but wasn’t too familiar with Keith Urban’s repertoire. It didn’t matter. “He has such love for music and he wants everyone to hear that,” she said. We sat about midway up in the stands and had an excellent view of the stage, big screens, lights and disco ball.
Spoiler alert! Before the the concert I tipped off Erin and Emily, who were sitting about midway back in the floor section, that when they saw Carrie Underwood on screen they should mosey from their seats toward the back stage, behind them. From my earlier Moline experience I knew Keith and two band members would head there for a few songs, with Brett Eldredge joining them. “He did his best to make every seat worth it,” observed Emily.
My cousin was impressed that Keith took time after the encore — with the lights up — to talk to the crowd and thank them for making the decision to attend the show. He noted it takes a lot of planning and effort on the part of his fans to be there. So cool and so unusual to see such a display of gratitude like that.
Shortly after the Milwaukee show, Erin texted me, “One of the most memorable shows I’ve attended! And there were fans of all ages, which you don’t always see.”
Moline, IL, October 27, 2016: I doubt any performer engages the crowd – young, old or in between – any better than Keith. My own family, including my husband Dan and daughter Hope attended the Moline show, along with Hope’s friend Ashley, our niece Holli and a friend’s 15 year old daughter Caleista. “He really knows how to get the audience involved,” said Holli.
“He’s ageless,” said fan Winnie of Rock Island, IL, who sat behind us with her family in Moline, October 27, a day after Keith turned 49 years old. Winnie has attended an estimated half dozen shows dating back to Keith’s early years in Nashville. After the show, her husband Rich commented, “It was a blast, love us some Urban!”
Here are some shots from from the Moline show. We saw a few people we knew in the crowd. Check out Caleista’s sweet heart surrounding Keith.
Learn more about diehard Keith Urban fan Karen Bernick here. Please feel free to share this article! But please use photos with permission only – just email me with any requests. If you like this post, please consider following me here, liking my Facebook page Karen Loves Country or following me at Twitter. Thanks for reading! #KeithUrban #ripCORDworldtour
Feature photo at top was taken by my brother in-law John.