Keith Urban: “Fraught With Anything-Could-Happen”

Where His Spontaneity Comes From

You know when Keith Urban walks out into the crowd at his concerts and plays guitar for someone and then hands that person the guitar? He didn’t plan that.

In fact, he doesn’t really plan much of anything before the show.

So to his naysayers who might accuse him of staging those moments, Urban says this: “Not a single thing I do when I pull someone onstage is ever scripted. It breaks my heart when I’ve heard people think that I’ve staged somebody in the audience or hand-picked somebody [in advance]. It’s nonsense.”

In a Q&A with The Advocate newspaper in New Orleans, Urban says that even walking out through the crowd, he refuses to do “the whole linking-arms, keeping-the-crowd-back crap.”

He prefers that security just gets out of his way.

“Because it’s much more exciting. It’s fraught with anything-could-happen,” Urban said. “Someone can grab your hair or put you in an over-passionate hug that becomes a headlock. But it’s real, and the energy is so real.

“I’m willing for it to be a disaster because the pay-off, if it isn’t a disaster, is a really great moment,” he added. “When everybody’s sort of neatly parted like the waters, it’s so boring. I just find it lame. I’m not interested, the energy feels like bulls—. I’d rather have a little bit of chaos about it.”

So where did Urban nurture this love of the unexpected? At the clubs he played in Australia before moving to Nashville.

“Holy hell, anything could happen,” he said. “Someone could get up onstage and either sing or want to clobber the bass player. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s all teetering on the edge of something. I find that energy just really magnificent to be in the middle of.”

Urban takes his Ripcord World Tour with Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris to Crescent City on Saturday (Oct. 15).

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.