Keith Urban at the Pine Knob Music Theatre in Clarkston, MI

Keith Urban’s The Speed of Now Tour makes a long-awaited stop in the Motor City for a sold-out night of platinum hits.

Keith Urban, the chart-topping, award-winning Australian country recording artist doesn’t get a chance to throw a certified Urban country jamboree for Michiganders too often… But when he does… oooooo weeee!!!!! Buddy… the whole state shows up! In this case, that would be 15,040 people from across the state packed into a sold-out Pine Knob Music Theatre, in Clarkston, Michigan (a little country burb, just outside of Detroit that is lovingly included as part of the Motor City’s music scene). The D’ loves their country and the fans came ready to celebrate, wearing their best Urban concert swag and more… those cowboy and cowgirl hats, boots, buckles, and alllllll the goodies are here this evening! Spirits were high and those beers fly, as this enormous crowd geared up to welcome the four-time Grammy award-winning artist (and 15 Academy CMAs and 13 CMAs) to the huge amphitheater stage.

At 8:45 PM, Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” begins playing for the crowd as the stage lights dim to an anticipatory darkness. The crowd engages in an amphitheater-wide sing-along… but just as “Beelzebub has a devil put aside for me, for me…” Freddie Mercury is cut off short and a boom of lights and fog blasts the stage revealing Urban‘s band taking up their prospective positions for the night’s shindig. Keith Urban’s shadow can be seen silhouetted by flashing lights and fog. The shadowy figure begins to move, and strapped with his vintage Fender Telecaster, Urban walks to center stage. He pauses to thrust a fist in the air and the crowd erupts into a standing ovation. Smiling, Urban leads the crew right into “Tumbleweed,” and this party has officially begun. As the tune approaches the bridge, Urban looks into the crowd while smiling and fires out the intro guitar lick played by Slash to Michael Jackson’s “Black or White.” Urban then sings out a fun “Heeeey Detroit, Bam Ba Lam… Heeey Detroit, Bam Ba Lam!” tipping the hat to the classic Ram Jam track “Black Betty.” Urban makes a seamless transition back into “Tumbleweed,” and the fun continues.

“Days Go By,” the new track “Wild Hearts,” and the foot-stomper “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” come next and our crowd knows every word… to every song!  Urban then shouts to the crowd, “How we doin’ Detroit? Loud and proud!” He then takes a moment to acknowledge all the birthdays in the house and proceeds to read off a few signs that fans hold in adoration for him.   

Next up is “Somewhere in My Car,” followed by “Kiss a Girl.” Urban says, “Help us out, sing it to me!” And, of course, the entire amphitheater obliges, crooning along with the mega-hit. The new track “Brown Eyes Baby,” (released July 8, 2022) is next and well received. Urban hits hard with “Where the Blacktop Ends” and “Long Hot Summer,” (a song he wrote with Richard Marx). Urban rips another amazing guitar solo that features his percussive finger-tapping technique, flying across that smoking fretboard. “Cop Car,” “You Gonna Fly,” and then the fun-time hit “You Look Good in My Shirt,” are next on the set. Urban bends down to the Jumbotron cameraman and gives an in-your-face view of some more amazing guitar riffs.

Urban introduces drummer Terrence Clarke who fires out a drum solo that gets the crowd clapping along. “One Too Many,” (featuring P!nk) is next in the set and her image is blasted across the monitors as her voice accompanies Urban‘s throughout the song. A stage change up and Urban armed with his “Urban” branded acoustic guitar heads into the crowd onto the “B” stage. He takes to the mic while scratching out some percussion on his guitar strings and says, “You know, when I was four, my parents bought me a ukulele for my birthday and they said I could strum it in time with the songs on the radio, and I didn’t know any chords… so I just did this (plunks a chunka chunka, Johnny Cash style rhythm on his guitar) and I sang songs like this…”  Urban starts into the John Denver tune “Thank God I’m A Country Boy!” After the first verse, he continues his chunka chunka rhythm and says, “I figured I better start writing my own songs at some point…” and proceeds into “Better Life” and “You’ll Think Of Me.” 

Urban follows up with “Somebody Like You,” and pauses after singing the first line…  the audience takes over and finishes the verse while he stands nodding in approval with an ear-to-ear smile. Next, there’s a brief entertaining intermission that features a sleeping lion and a mighty jungle (you will have to go buy a ticket to get this Easter egg). Urban plays on, and treats the crowd to “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” “The Fighter,” “Wasted Time,” and brings this two plus hours night of hits to a close, sporting a Detroit Tiger’s jersey for a special acoustic solo version of “Stupid Boy.”

Keith Urban is not just a great concert experience… it’s a great memory, filled with good vibes, good times, and a fantastic production that shows just what an amazing entertainer and talented artist Keith Urban is. Be sure to catch him on The Speed of Now Tour currently in progress and with plenty of stops to go. Check the Keith Urban official website for upcoming dates, details, and current news. While you’re there… be sure to grab a copy of his latest single “Brown Eyes Baby,” available for immediate download.

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About Jay Dunbar 54 Articles
Jay Dunbar is a professional photographer that enjoys wearing a multitude of hats. He is active in the commercial and stock photography arenas and currently owns and operates a Detroit based investigations firm and photography agency. Despite his many endeavors, Jay can frequently be found in attendance at your favorite concert venues, capturing breathtaking images of live performances of many genres of music. A skilled author and photographer, he could be described as a " Serial Music Journalist." Carrying the photo bug for nearly thirty years, Jay enjoys all styles of photography, testing new gear, and helping aspiring photographers, artists and models to develop their skills and learn their craft.