Keith Urban’s free NFL show in Baltimore: What you didn’t see on TV

September 6, 2013

The Super Bowl champion Ravens didn’t get a home game during Thursday’s NFL season opener thanks to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, so country singer and “American Idol” judge Keith Urban served as consolation prize with a free concert in the Inner Harbor.

Keith Urban via the big screen at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
Close-up of Keith Urban via the big screen at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

Perched on a floating stage near the Science Center, Urban rocked out for about 40 minutes, but only a few tunes were captured on NBC’s national broadcast of the NFL Kickoff 2013. Here’s what you missed behind the scenes:

There was so much purple. Everywhere.

(Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)
(Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)

Even the sky seemed to be a lovely shade of purple in downtown Baltimore, which had gone all Ravens-themed for the night. People packed in wearing Ravens jerseys, and used breaks between songs to cheer for the home team.

Keith Urban didn’t just play new songs

Another close-up on Keith Urban on the big screen.
Another close-up on Keith Urban on the big screen.

While the TV broadcast served primarily as a showcase for Urban to promote songs from his new album, he played more than just current single “Little Bit of Everything” and  the upcoming “Even the Stars Fall 4 U.” He also sang hits like “Somebody Like You” and “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me.”

Thousands more people showed up than were shown on TV

View from the side of the massive stage downtown. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)
View from the side of the massive stage downtown. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)

The Baltimore Sun estimates about 20,000 showed up — there were so many crammed into the Inner Harbor that most were on the side of the stage, and couldn’t even see the show at all.

Keith Urban switched up song lyrics to be Ravens-friendly

Close-up of the screen in the crowd.
Close-up of the screen in the crowd.

During “Somebody Like You,” Urban crooned the line, “Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand…” and instead of finishing the sentence with the regular words, “But you’re teaching me to be a better man,” he swapped it out with something that sounded like, “But the Ravens are the Super Bowl champs.”

The concert ended with a killer fireworks show

Inner harbor. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)
Inner harbor. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)
Fireworks finale in downtown Baltimore. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)
Fireworks finale in downtown Baltimore. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)

Even this die-hard Steelers fan couldn’t deny that Baltimore put on a pretty spectacular, purple-themed fireworks show at the end of the night, going off from all corners of the Inner Harbor — people couldn’t figure out where to point their cameras and phones first.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.
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Washington Post · September 6, 2013