Keith Urban Cooks on Stage, Gets Grilled Backstage
Country fans are well-acquainted with the standard meet-and-greet that usually takes place somewhere backstage at the venue where their favorite artist is performing. They know the drill: meet at a specified corner of the concert hall, wait in line, take your turn posing with the artist for a picture – flash! – and you're outta there.
Not so with superstar Keith Urban. Not content with the same old flash and dash, Keith wanted fans to have an "experience" during his meet-and-greets. In fact, it's actually called the "Back Stage BBQ Experience," and as the name implies, food is served while fans mingle, waiting for Keith to come out and hang for a while. But in addition to face time with the singer-guitarist, fans also get to hear a few songs, and Keith takes a few of their questions, too.
At a recent "Experience" in Charlottesville, Va., Keith hung out with about 80 fans under an air-conditioned tent. "Let's just do the whole show in here tonight," he said, eliciting a few squeals and screams.
After singing a couple of familiar favorites, Keith, who was dressed all in blue, offered up his best impersonation of the Man in Black, treating the crowd to 'Folsom Prison Blues,' after a fan yelled out "Johnny Cash!" He followed that up with his smash, 'But for the Grace of God,' then settled in to tackle a few questions.
First fan question: "Can I have your guitar pick?" Keith, of course, obliged, accompanied by enthusiastic applause -- and audible groans from the rest of the crowd who were kicking themselves for not asking him first!
One fan wanted to know how Keith stays motivated to go on stage if he's having a bad day and not feeling his best: "On this tour, I haven't had that (happen) – not once," Keith offered. Although, he revealed that when he flew to a show in Boston, he had arrived straight from Italy, went right to the stage and performed for two hours - so, naturally, during that performance he was feeling a bit jet-lagged. But, he added, "the fans have been amazing on this tour, so once that energy starts, it doesn't matter ... it's just amazing."
A question he surely gets a lot: "Who are some of your favorite country artists?" "Oh, Jason Aldean," he answers, adding, "Jason Aldean sounds like Jason – he doesn't sound like anybody else. I know George [Strait] isn't new, but his new record is [awesome]. I love the fact that he's trying something new. Brad Paisley is great. Once he starts learning how to play the guitar!" He also mentions that he loves Sugarland, who just happen to be on the tour with him.
The end of the Q&A session also signals the end of the "Back Stage BBQ Experience," but fans have one more treat in store. As they head back to their seats to get ready for the concert, each one is given a burlap apron with the inscription: "Turn Up the Music, Fire Up the Grill – Summer 2009," and free coupons for barbecue sauce and charcoal briquets.
And as this stop on the Escape Together World Tour proves, Keith Urban knows just how to get a crowd fired up!