Crowds made their way to AFAS Live on a windy evening on 4th March for C2C Amsterdam, which was more locally promoted as a Keith Urban concert. The usual check shirts, jeans and cowboy boots could be spotted amongst a few Stetsons, wrangler shirts but generally more casual dress.
Drake White opened the main stage (Black box). His characteristic spoken style with a twang launched into full song supported by his band, the Big Fire. Drake is from Alabama and like he says they like to crawl, twist, jump and spit; he was certainly energetic moving around the stage. Even when standing still he has a tendency to twist his left leg. Drake explained that the band had to put on their superhero capes and put 10lbs of you know what into a 5lb bag (his father's expression) to make the gig, driving 6 hours after their flight from Berlin was cancelled. Slight problem with the sound initially but the guys blasted "the demons" away. The set was upbeat, with the crowd was clapping along and the boys even lined up for a boy band guitar swing. An excellent set, if too short (30 minutes) with Drake back to his old self with motivational yet realistic songs.
Between sets the crowd headed to the second smaller stage (Beat box) which was promoted as 'Introducing Nashville, Discover current artists from Music City'. Set up as a round, first to perform were Lindsay Ell and Lauren Jenkins. Both talented musicians and vocalists who are not unfamiliar with the stage. At the next interval Logan Mize and Craig Campbell kept up the excellent performances, with Logan even getting a volunteer to help him out, holding his harmonica.
Next up on the main stage was Brett Eldredge in a dodgy looking jumper. His 1st time playing in Amsterdam and only his 2nd visit to the city. There seemed a mutual appreciation for each other as Brett described how walking around the city inspired him to write, a bicycle image on the large screen lead into the song “The Long Way” The crowd followed Brett's request to hold up their phones to replicate fireflies, an image he recalls from his past.
“Something I'm Good At” showed off Brett's amazing vocals, holding onto those notes in a way that rivals the top female artists. With an explanation that the rush of lyrics was done to simulate the feeling you get on a rollercoaster.
Ian on piano (keys) helped create the image of a Smokey bar, for a surprising rendition of 'My Girl'. Brett finished with an inspiration message that you just needed to stick with it, he had been successful moving from Paris, Illinois to Nashville and was now at C2C.
The crowd were on their feet as Keith Urban took the stage and that's where they stayed throughout. The set Keith showed off his stunning guitar skills and golden hair with those classic hair flicks. 3 songs were sung before he engaged with the crowd: “Never Comin Down”, “Days Go By” and “Coming Home” but total respect at his attempt at speaking Dutch, he also accepted a flag from the audience and displayed it throughout the set.
Keith introduced his band members: Danny Waygo (the Phantom) on electric guitar, 6 string guitar and lead locals, "the guy in the funny ass hat", electric guitar and vocals, Jerry Flowers, and Seth Rush on Drums.
Carrie Underwood appeared on the screen so that Keith could sing “The Fighter”, the crowd took over her part giving Keith time to travel through the crowd to a stage set up at the back of the room. From here he thanked the audience for their hospitality and in order to leave a lasting musical gift, he gave away a signed guitar.
“Blue Ain’t Your Colour”, “Stupid Boy”, “Long Hot Summer”, “You Look Good in My Shirt” were all in there but Keith finished with “Wasted Time”, but of course he came back for an encore: “You'll Think of Me” followed by “Horses”.
Despite negative comments on social media relating to the organisation, poor floor management and a lack of catering C2C Amsterdam will be back next year and hopefully the music will be equally amazing!
Tot volgend jaar. (see you next year)