The 2 U Concert

[originally started on 4/22/08]
No, I do not mean U2, I mean two U’s, as in Keith Urban & Carrie Underwood. Mary Catherine and I went to the concert inRaleigh on Saturday, 19 April, and overall had a very good time.

We left early enough in the afternoon to have a very good dinner – we went to P.F. Chang’s at Crabtree for dinner before the show. While there, where we ended up in a both for about 6, all by ourselves, we “people watched”, and realized we were not the only folks with this same idea. After dinner, since it was still well before the doors would be opening, we wandered around the mall for a little while before heading to the venue.

It was the first time I have been to the RBC Center for a concert, and her first time at the facilities – period. The sky was overcast, to the point that it started sprinkling as we were making our way indoors. We wandered around, trying to find our section, and settled into our seats around 7, for a 7:30 show.

Visually, our seats were not that great. We were in wing seats, out to the side of the stage, instead of actually in front of the stage, so we didn’t have a clean look at the screen for the visuals (try watching your television from the side, and you’ll have an idea of how we were positioned). But, the Theatre D&P (Design & Production) side of me was actually quite happy with the seats. We were in a good position to watch the crew behind the scenes, doing prep for the next numbers (Carrie’s quick changes during her set, the booth she used was on our side of the stage, so we were able to see her pop in and out of the booth, etc.), as well as striking the stage to change over between sets.

Carrie did her usual standards – most of the songs that have been getting radio play, but as part of her encore, she did Paradise City (yes, that Paradise City, by a certain group recently mentioned). Mary Catherine commented that she nailed the song, too. And this was after she had been on stage for about 75 minutes.

During Keith’s set, which lasted about 2 solid hours, there was more of a rock concert vibe than a “country” vibe. To watch him play guitar was awesome… there was one part, late in the show, where he broke into riffs – AC/DC, Aerosmith, Deep Purple and others – but this was after watching him actually play a lot of his other songs. He is one of the few singers that I have seen that could also double as a lead-guitarist, so I was very impressed.

About 3/4 of the way through his set, Carrie came back out, and they did a cover of Stop Dragging My Heart Around (originally recorded by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty), and did it very well.

Another cool thing about Keith’s set, was the use of the stage. The setup included the main stage, with a long runway that connected to a small “island” stage way in the back of the venue. The neat thing that he did, was he split is set into three parts. The first and third parts were all on the main stage, but for the middle section, the entire band – drummer included – went out to the smaller stage. A great way to work the crowd, and give them a good experience for their money.

One of the other items that impressed me, from staging, was the video quality. There was not a lot of “special” videos as backdrops for the songs, but the actual video feeds, the way they were handled really seemed to have a high quality feel, almost like they could have been cut and sent to networks as an actual music video. I thought they were cool.

Overall, we did have a great time at the show. We got home really late (or, early), and actually wouldn’t mind seeing either of them again.

[edit 5/13/08]: Oh, something else that I had forgotten when I originally wrote the post… During one of the songs (I told You So, I think, but not 100% sure), while Keith and his band were playing, some other people were filing onto the stage – all wearing various marching percussion pieces (snares, quads, various size bass drums, maybe even a couple of quints)… Anyway, near the end of the song, Keith shouted out, “Tusk”, then the drumline kicked in. I thought, maybe they were going to cover Fleetwood Mac’s song, but I think it just ended up being part of the drum break from the song. What was really cool, though, is the fact that the drumline was from NC State’s Marching Band. Being the former band geek that I am, that was just a very cool moment, and I feel so silly that I forgot it in the first place. But I have now posted it, and the universe shall right itself, stars shall stay in the heavens and the moon will continue to revolve around the earth.

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