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Voyage Into the Heart and Mind of Keith Urban Fans

 

Welcome to Part Two of Keith Urban’s Concert in Chicago!

In Part One, I focused on Urban’s performance at Joe’s Pub and explored how it impacted the crowd who came ready to be rocked and wooed on Saturday afternoon.  I also learned a bit more about what makes Urban one of Country Music’s top entertainers today.

Now, in Part Two, we’re going to focus on what the fans had to say and what they’ve experience during Urban’s live show. I had great conversations with two fans and I’ll share their concert stories that gave me valuable insight into what it’s like to meet Urban before a live show and what it’s like to experience a show with a friend in a new way.

We’ll also close the door on what Keith Urban fans think of the Entertainer of the Year award and wonder what a NFL player was thinking about during the show.

 

As I mentioned before, this wasn’t an average concert since most of the fans won tickets to the show via Verizon’s Wireless promotion.  This group of fans didn’t need to be won over or convinced. The minute I walked in the venue I could feel the commitment and excitement of the fans.  It was obvious that they were ready to go deep with Urban.  But I wanted to figure out the why’s and how’s.  And I wanted to hear it straight from the hearts and minds of his fans.

KISS the girl

So when I asked Ashley from Lake Zurich, IL what it was like to meet Urban in person (during the Meet & Greet) and then experience his live show for the first time, she shared her ambitious plan with me.

And, suprisingly, she succeed in her plan.  Because during the Q & A, she asked Urban about a moment that occured during his recent “Escape Together” world tour when opening act Taylor Swift pranked Urban by coming out dressed in full KISS costumes during his hit song “Kiss the Girl.”

Urban he laughed and said, “[Swift’s] costume and make up was amazing! I loved the little dancing Hersey kisses, too.”

After watching the video of the prankand doing a bit more research about  Taylor Swift’s dedication to live performance, I can now say that I have  more respect for Swift even though I’m still not that crazy about her music.  Nonetheless, Swift seems to be a pretty crafty entertainer who knows how to create a fun onstage moment and one-up one of country music’s biggest stars.  And maybe she didn’t deserve to win Entertainer of The Year, but maybe the CMA’s need to create a new award for Best Opening Act Prankster of the Year.

FanKeithFans don’t care about silly CMA awards

Before the show started, one of the questions I asked fans was what they thought about Urban losing the CMA Entertainer of the Year award to Taylor Swift.  But to my surprise, most really didn’t care or say any bad remarks about Swift. Most fans just simply smiled and shrugged their shoulders as if the award didn’t even matter.  They seemed confident that they knew who the real winner was, especially the lady who had the chance to go up on stage to get her poster signed and even get a polite smooch on her cheek from Urban. Seeing that moment confirmed that our sense of touch can tranform a concert into a moment we never forget.

 So close and sweaty

Then afterwards, as the crowd filed out of the venue, I spoke with Gail, a teacher’s aide from Tinley Park, about what she thought of the show.

Gail said this concert experience was a little different for her because she usually goes to all her Keith Urban concerts with her friend Denise. But this time her friend Bertha won the tickets and invited Gail because Bertha knew Gail was a big Urban fan who even has one of his songs as her ring tone.

So doing the next best thing–and it was fitting that this concert was sponsered by a cellphone company–Gail called Denise during this show and pointed her cellphone towards the stage so they could at least share the experience together remotely.

Me, Gail & Bertha
Me, Gail & Bertha

So how does this Joe’s concert compare with other Urban concerts she’s been to?

Gail had seen Urban many times before, including a memorable show at Country Thunder a few years back. But this Joe’s Pub concert reminded Gail of her first Urban concert at the Rosemont Theater in Rosemont, IL.

Gail explained that during the Rosemont concert Urban came up into the second level where she and her cousin Denise weere sitting and walked right by them. She said you could feel the heat and sweat coming off his body.

Gail had many other memorable stories to tell and insights to share about how our brains and bodies are influences by live music.  And I look forward to share those with you on a future post.

A Tight End looking for an escape

The last fan experience I want to share with you is more of the wondering kind.  During the concert I saw that Chicago Bears Tight End Greg Olsenwas in the crowd.  After a tough loss on Thursday to the 49ers, I figured Olsen was searching for some concert escapism to clear his mind. As men we were both in the extreme gender minority so I’d like to know what brought Olsen to the show.  Was he looking for a moment of escape curtosty of Urban  music or was Olsen there supporting a fellow female fan?

So I wonder…

Wrapping up this post, here are a few thoughts for us to consider:

1.  What will Ashley’s next Urban concert be like since this first one was so personal and intimate?  Will all the fans in the venue have new expectations the next time they see Urban, or any artist, live?

2.  What sort of impact did the smooch on the cheek have for the fan?  Do you think she’s washed her face by now, or maybe she took a skin sample from her cheek as a scientific concert momento to have forever.

3.  Do sports players experience live music performances differently because they’re used to being “onstage” when playing on the field during the big game?

4. What is the history of the “Meet & Greet” and is it a good thing for fans and artists, or does it need to evolve into something better?

5. I’m sure Gail’s not the first concert fan who’s done a bit of rock n’ dialing in order to share concerts with friends.  And I’ll have to ask my friend and author Steve Wienberger what he thinks of Gail’s story.

Revisit Part One: “Keith Urban Gets Intimate

Let’s discuss the details

 

Do you use fan/user-generated content websites like kuconcert.com to share your memorable concert experiences?

If you could improve the Meet & Greet tradition what would you change about it?  Has a Meet & Greet changed your concert experience before?

Tell your concert story here.

Photo credits: Colleen Catania

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