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Keith Urban goes for up-close experience with fans

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Keith Urban is playing it up close and personal on his current concert tour.

After experimenting with ramps that took him onto the floor level with his fans during his 2009-10 shows, the Australian-raised country music star is exploring even greater levels of connectivity as he supports his latest album, “Get Closer.”

“I liked the feeling of accessibility to the audience — there’s no fence, no barriers, no massive security people,” says Urban, 43. “So I thought I would take that a little further this time,” using a semicircular stage whose entire front is sloped into the crowd.

“To me it feels much more inviting from the audience standpoint,” explains Urban, who splits time between Nashville and Australia with his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, and their two daughters. “It just does away with all of the feeling of barriers. It feels like they can just wander up the ramps and come onto the stage if they want.”

And, Urban says, that actually happened a couple times during his last tour.

“But it didn’t happen nearly as much as people thought it would,” he adds. “I’ve always had this feeling that when you put barriers up people want to get over them, but if you get rid of the barrier and people knew they could come up if they wanted, they’re less inclined to.

“Now, I’m talking fairly logical people, too; you get enough alcohol into the right fans and there’s no logic involved. But I’ve always felt from my audience it’s more of an ‘us’ thing instead of me and them, so I’m more inclined to keep opening up all of that access and integrating the audience more.”

Keith Urban and Jake Owen perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at the Palace, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Tickets are $78, $58 and $28. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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