Keith Urban hit the stage at the 2019 Taste of Country Music Festival on Friday night (June 7), headlining the opening night of the annual event with an energetic set that demonstrated all over again why he's one of the most successful live performers in country music.

Urban pulled out all the stops in his hour-and-a-half set, running through a tightly-controlled, yet spontaneous-feeling, fun set that included a wide cross-section of his biggest hits. The fact that he's one of the best guitarists in country music was evident from the very first notes, when he opened with the supercharged riff to "Never Coming Down."

He kept the tempos high throughout much of the evening, offering up rock-oriented songs including "Sweet Thing," "Little Bit of Everything," "Somebody Like You," "You Look Good in My Shirt" and more. He balanced the set with some slower, more introspective songs that included "Parallel Lines," "Cop Car," his current single, "We Were," and "Blue Ain't Your Color."

Urban's performance struck a deft balance between musical mastery and crowd-pleasing showmanship, inserting his unusually high caliber of pure musicianship into every song without losing the crowd, who had come to hear familiar hits. The musical high points included a wah-wah guitar solo on "Long Hot Summer," as well as an acoustic solo piece that he used to introduce his acoustic performance of "Burden."  Urban switched off between bass and electric guitar on "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16," ending the song by going into a double-time electric guitar jam fit to rival any hard rock show. He emulated that flight plan on "Drop Top," one of the evening's unexpected high points, playing bass during the main body of the new wave-influenced rocker before finishing off with a furious electric solo.

The superstar also knew exactly how to work the crowd, leading the fans in several singalongs, teasing them with tempo changes and dynamic shifts and even running out into the audience during the Stones-y swagger of "You Look Good in My Shirt." He got the fans involved up close and personal, donning a cowboy hat someone offered from out of the shadows, then taking a volunteer from the audience, whereupon he shrugged off his electric guitar, signed it and gave it to her as a personal memento of a memorable night. Urban closed his show with "The Fighter," "Somewhere in My Car" and "Wasted Time" before bidding the audience good night, leaving them with an indelible festival memory.

Urban took the stage amid the natural splendor of Hunter Mountain in upstate New York after a day full of music from artists including Jessica Lynn, Brandon Lay, Runaway June, Walker Hayes and Josh Turner. Ryan Hurd got the festival off to an early start on Wednesday night (June 6) with a strong, well-received set at the Shiner Bock Tap House.

Saturday (June 8) will feature sets from Ross Ellis, Tyler Rich, Lanco, Michael Ray, Brooks & Dunn and Rascal Flatts, and Sunday (June 9) will close out the 2019 Taste of Country Music Festival with performances from Adam Doleac, Lindsay Ell, Morgan Wallen, Brett Eldredge and Little Big Town.

See Photos From the 2019 Taste of Country Music Festival

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