Keith Urban adores his fans.
He brings them up on stage to sing to them, he tells off security for keeping them away from the front and Friday night, he gave one lucky girl the electric guitar off his back -- with an autograph to boot.
And that was just the beginning.
Urban brought his "Light the Fuse" tour to Thompson-Boling Arena Friday and a a nearly sold-out crowd of dedicated fans. Openers included Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town.
Urban's crowd-centered approach was immensely appealing. He encouraged his diversely aged audience to leave their seats and come closer, and he had a second stage on the back end of the floor where he could get even closer to his fans.
"I know how many concerts there are and how many musicians come through," Urban said on stage, "but I want you to know how much it means that you are here tonight."
This humbled attitude framed the whole show, from his low-key entrance while the house lights were still up to his acknowledgement of nearly every sign attendees made for him. He also let the audience in on the fears wife and actress Nicole Kidman had about marrying him, explaining the inspiration behind his 2006 hit "Once in a Lifetime."
"When I talked to Nicole about getting married, she was scared, worried about the future with a guy like me," Urban said. "She called it a long shot. This is the song that came out."
He was joined on stage at several points throughout his nearly two-and-a-half hour set by Lynch and Little Big Town, both of whom did a decent job prepping the crowd for Urban's performance.
Little Big Town proved especially notable, performing many of their country hits, including "Pontoon," "Tornado" and "Your Side of the Bed." Their music came to life on stage, especially with the incredible vocals of Karen Fairchild who joined Urban alone during, "We Were Us."
Throughout the show Urban's energy was unparallelled, magnified by the five giant vertical screens behind him and the white confetti released near the end of the show that brought a polar vortex-esque snowfall to the arena.
The visual aspects of the show were a bit understated, albeit with some interesting video work, and Urban seemed to rely on his own charm and accessibility to bring the crowd into the music. His four-song encore ended the concert just as subtly as it began: the band left and Urban stuck around for several minutes simply to shake hands, give away guitar picks, setlists and sign autographs.
It is refreshing to see a musician like Urban -- someone who has been in the music business a long time and yet seems entirely stable and humble; someone who understands and appreciates his fans, and someone who can take a little Australian-tinged country music and turn it into a memory.