Keith Urban debuted his new headlining Las Vegas residency this past weekend at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Keith told us before the residency started, “It’s a new production from the ground up.”

Urban knows the dry climate in Las Vegas is tough on his vocals. But he has a remedy for it. “So, it’s definitely drinking lots and lots of water all day, every day.” He added of playing Sin City, “I love it, I love the energy. I love the audience and the unpredictability of it because the audience is always different night after night. Even a Friday night is different from the next Friday night. It’s always unexpected.”

He said, “Live shows are so important because that’s where you see a song connects, see what part of the song connects, and get instant feedback. It’s amazing. It’s in real-time, and yet it changes just like research can from this night to that night, from that person to that person.”

Urban knows the final goal of every show. “At the end of the day, my shows are all about the spirit of inclusivity and togetherness of people that might not have anything else in common. I know that I have people in my audience that run the gamut of political and every religious persuasion, and yet they are all there for the music.”

He added, “My job for two hours is to have everybody come together. It’s an amazing gift to have music to do that with ’cause even at a sporting event, the audience is split in half. We get the opportunity to have everybody in agreement for two hours, which is pretty rarified air.”

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It’s that gauge with the crowd that sometimes can change a show right in the middle of it. He explains, “Extend this, shorten this, ditch that. I’ve looked at a set list and gone, ‘Nope, not that song’ for whatever reason. I’ve got a little microphone on the drum riser that’s got a foot switch connected to it. I can walk over, hit the foot switch to talk to the band without anybody else hearing. And make a quarterback call.”

But in the end, no matter what stage he is on, has one very important word that Keith takes to heart. He says, “I keep reminding people the first word is ‘play.’ I play guitar. We play a show. I play music. Yes, it’s a job. It’s got a huge amount of practice and discipline, but if I lose sight of that first word ‘play,’ then I am completely missing it.”

He continues, “It has to be playful. Spontaneous is something I have always loved. It’s cause I grew up playing in the clubs. I grew up playing little clubs, and you’ve got to be in the moment. That audience is gonna let you know real quick if you suck. And you’re going to have to learn to make real fast changes or just be eaten alive.”

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