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Published: Saturday, 7/30/2011 - Updated: 4 years ago

Urban wows fans at Huntington Center

Keith Urban performs at Huntington Center on Friday. Keith Urban performs at Huntington Center on Friday.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

With 7,755 fans screaming his name, country singer Keith Urban still managed to make everyone feel noticed when he performed at the Huntington Center on Friday night.

The New Zealand-born musician performed 20 songs, all the while taking turns performing on stages located throughout the audience and running through rows of wild fans grabbing at his clothes and hair.

Although the aptly named “Get Closer 2011 World Tour” promotes Urban’s sixth studio album, “Get Closer,” the real goal of the show seemed to be audience interaction.

During the last song before his encore performance, “You Look Good in My Shirt,” Urban signed his guitar and gave it to a star-struck, wide-eyed fan in the upper rows of the arena.

When not swimming through the crowd, Urban encouraged fans to sing his lyrics and lead cheers from different sections of the arena.

Sometimes it felt like the crowd was singing more than he was, but as Urban said, “Toledo’s a singin’ kinda town, huh?” The fans certainly agreed.

Halfway through the set list during “Kiss A Girl,” Urban pulled three fans on stage and gave them the opportunity to sing the chorus. After each performed, he let the crowd decide who had done best. Hannah Hendricks of Toledo was voted the winner and Urban pulled her front and center to sing the rest of the song with him. The 2nd and 3rd place fans didn’t leave the stage with nothing, though. Urban sent them each to one of his backup vocalists and had them sing out the song as well.

With or without the crowd’s help, the show was an exhibition of Urban’s many talents. He took charge of vocals and lead guitar, performing with his classic sweet and sultry twang, occasionally adding in rugged bursts that would make any woman swoon. He kept the country roots, but frequently broke out into electrifying guitar solos and didn’t miss a note, vocally or instrumentally, throughout his entire two-hour set.

He performed several songs from “Get Closer,” but also made sure to bring in a few oldies like “Love Somebody Like You” and “Stupid Boy.”

Even though Toledo is the 22nd stop on Urban’s 50-plus city run, his energy was contagious and fans sang along happily to every lyric and screamed wildly at the introduction of each song.

The confident Urban, however, surging with energy and the adoration of a sold-out venue, still took time to give credit to his band mates. Two guitarists and one bassist each took the mic for about 30 seconds to perform their own favorite songs, such as ACDC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top.”

A jumbo screen projects a larger than life version of Keith Urban during his concert. A jumbo screen projects a larger than life version of Keith Urban during his concert.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo
When the band finally finished “You Look Good In My Shirt” after several detours into guitar solos and fan interaction, Urban exited the stage to a roar of applause and enthused screams. Not to disappoint his adoring fans, he returned for an encore draped in a Toledo Walleye jersey.

After playing two more songs, Urban and his band members tossed guitar picks, drum sticks, and even Urban’s custom made Walleye jersey into the crowd. He thanked everyone for coming, especially during these tough economic times when fans are selective of the concerts they attend.

As bursts of confetti and streamers covered the crowd, their cheers showing no sign of dying down, Urban took a final bow with his band and exited the stage.

7,755 fans filled the Huntington Center Friday night, but everyone left feeling like Urban played just for them. For once, the crowd really did believe it when the band said, “We’re so happy to be here in Toledo, Ohio!”

Contact Ashley Sepanski at asepanski@theblade.com or 419-724-6082.

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