Live Review: Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood

12 December 2016 | 12:50 pm | Michael Prebeg

"It's time for a bit of 'Carrie-oke'!" he jokes.

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Two of the world's biggest country music stars team up for a huge show under the same roof tonight. Carrie Underwood is first up and blows us away with her incredible vocal range and enviable stage presence. She's a force of nature.

With over a decade of hits to fit into her set, tonight she mainly focuses on her latest release, Storyteller. Music is most powerful when it tells a story and Underwood knows exactly how to deliver a rich narrative with confidence and clarity. She's a genuine artist who shares relatable stories about everyday characters. Smoke Break is one of those songs that pays tribute to those who sometimes "need a stiff drink". Captivating visuals take us deep into the American countryside as we sing along with this working class anthem. We go all the way back to her first album with old favourite Jesus, Take The Wheel. As a proud Christian, she tells us she's very glad to have recorded this track: "I love it more every time I get to sing this song!"

Underwood pulls up a stool and slows it down for an acoustic number in honour of her musical hero Dolly Parton. We all channel Parton's passion as Underwood performs an angelic version of I Will Always Love You, demonstrating perfect vocal control. Then the pace picks right back up again as the stage ignites in a fiery blaze and Underwood belts out the hard-hitting, sassy Before He Cheats and current single Dirty Laundry.

Keith Urban launches right in with banjo in hand. A wave of crashing guitars wash over us and the energy of Urban's music vibrates through our bodies. "Is it happening, Melbourne?" he shouts. The arena fills with screams as hands fly up into the air by way of response. It's clear that Urban fans like to make signs, which certainly capture his attention. He helps one fan tick an item off her bucket list by inviting her on stage for a big hug. Many other fans probably wish they'd put more effort into their banners.

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Blue lighting reflects off a large disco ball as Urban sings Sun Don't Let Me Down, after which he reveals this is a metaphor for dates that stretch long into the early hours of the morning. "It's time for a bit of 'Carrie-oke'!" he jokes, calling out Underwood to perform their hit duet The Fighter. The pair's vocals perfectly complement one another and it's fortunate for us that they also include a cover of Stop Draggin' My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks. Urban moves to a stage at the back of the arena to get closer to these fans. "Who's got the good seats now?" he taunts. One lucky guy even scores one of Urban's signed guitars! From this smaller stage, Urban works the crowd from every angle - a born entertainer.

He makes his way back to the main stage for a few more Ripcord guitar solos. Confetti cannons detonate for the big finale and we're sure that many die-hard fans will be back for more tomorrow night.