by Jeff Hahne
Keith Urban with Carrie Underwood
April 18, 2008
Time Warner Cable Arena
The Deal: Two of country music's hottest stars hit Charlotte for a three-and-a-half hour stop.
The Good: You can't complain about not getting your money's worth at this show — Underwood sang for an hour and 15 minutes and Urban was on stage for two hours. Both performed plenty of hits, and Underwood popped up at one point wearing a Bobcats jersey. It was Urban that stole the show, showcasing more of his rock side than country as he ripped off riffs of classic Skynyrd and AC/DC at one point and paced the runway like a rock star. His Gibson Les Paul got good use throughout the night, while his chain wallet and long hair make him look like anything but a country crooner. Urban also found the time for a brief set at the end of the runway — everyone on the floor was in the front row at some point. Urban made his way into the crowd at one point to hand a guitar to a small girl and his stage show was one of the most impressive I've seen. A massive backdrop offered high-definition views of the show from all angles.
The Bad: Rumors of Underwood taking on a diva attitude may have been sparked by the numerous costume changes (and lack of runway activity during songs that had photographer approval.) She belted out her hits with a hint of cheese stuck in, while showing that she truly came from a singing competition. She's got strong pipes...but they shouldn't have been used to sing the Guns N' Roses classic "Paradise City."
The Verdict: It was clear the crowd was there for Urban as most in attendance remained seated for Underwood and didn't sing along when asked. However, those in attendance remained on their feet for the Aussie singer and sang along to every word — whether prompted to or not. It was country for those who don't like country.