Live Review: Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Buchanan

15 December 2016 | 11:54 am | Cate Summers

"The level of charisma and charm Urban brought to this concert was something other performers should aspire to."

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There was an infectious level of excitement at Keith Urban's second Sydney show on Wednesday night for his Ripcord world tour. The show christened the stage of the long-awaited International Convention Centre Sydney and Urban tore through a 21-song setlist to well and truly 'break in' the venue. The diversity of the crowd did a lot to highlight how well Urban's welcoming, friendly attitude is received at his live shows — at one point he successfully convinced the entire venue to jump up and down wildly to one of his songs — and how talented a performer he really is.

Support act Buchanan did a good job of warming up the crowd with his short set, but it was Carrie Underwood that got the crowd pumping pre-Urban. Her acoustic cover of I Will Always Love You showcased her amazing talent as a vocalist and her repertoire of catchy country songs about "cheatin', drivin' and drinkin'" were very enjoyable. After her own hour-long set, Underwood later returned to the stage to help Urban out on The Fighter and a great cover of Stop Draggin' My Heart Around.

From opening song Gone Tomorrow (Here Today) Keith Urban enthusiastically jumped, jived and shredded through a series of crowd-pleasers that teetered more on the pop/rock side of things than country. Somewhere In My Car had the crowd up, dancing in their seats with its poppy melody and slower, crooner tune Blue Ain't Your Color set hearts a flutter in the ICC.

While undoubtedly a truly talented performer (his skills on a guitar are insanely impressive), Urban's natural ability to connect with his audience was the real key to such a successful live show. Earlier in the night he brought a 16-year-old birthday girl and her family up on stage for a chat, a selfie and even an impromptu guitar 'jam' with the dad, all of which seemed incredibly sincere and personal despite it happening in front of such a large audience.

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Urban also ran through the crowd at one point to play Somebody Like You on a smaller stage up in the bleachers, casually gifting away one of his guitars to a crying fan in the process. The level of charisma and charm Urban brought to this concert was something other performers should aspire to.

After an intense two-and-a-half-hour set, complete with confetti guns, Bob Marley mash-ups, acoustic dedications to his wife Nicole Kidman and sincere thanks to his fans, Urban finished on a high with Raise 'Em Up, and left to a standing ovation, having successfully 'raised up' all the spirits of those in the room.