On Saturday (September 19), the second night of the iHeartRadio Music Festival kicked off with an unforgettable performance from Keith Urban. Unsurprisingly, the show looks pretty different this year due to the ongoing pandemic. One of the biggest differences from years past, of course, is the artists taking the stage without an audience to sing to IRL. Before his set, Urban chatted with Amy Brown about what it's really like to perform virtually during these weird, uncertain times.
While Urban has managed to put on a few virtual performances during the COVID-19 shutdown, the country crooner says nothing compares to performing in front of a live audience. Urban said he misses "the audience and the energy of real people" when he's performing virtually. "There's no substitute for it," he explained. "t's what we do as humans. We come together to celebrate, whether its a sporting event, a movie, a live gig...you need people."
For his performance of "Superman" during his iHeartRadio Music Festival set, Urban had a helping hand from some of his fans. "It's so good," he said of seeing his fans cover his music. "It's touching, especially when you write a song and see people online and know that they've sat down and learned it. Oh my gosh. It's awesome." Despite being unable to interact with his fans like he normally would, Urban is grateful he's still been able to connect with them virtually over the past few months. "I'm glad its not the 1918 pandemic," he said. "Having this technology to go through this with definitely helps."
Urban also touched on his collaboration with P!nk, which they performed together for the first time ever — in a socially distant way, of course — at the Academy of Country Music Awards on Wednesday (September 16). As Urban tells it, "One Too Many" first came to him last year, however, P!nk wasn't able to add her vocals to the track until this year. "Of course, she had to do it remotely," he explained. "She recorded her vocals out in California. I did the rest of the stuff for the record here in Nashville and it came together." After finishing "One Too Many," the 52-year-old country star had nothing but praise for his collaborator. "The first time I heard her voice on that track..." he began before adding "There's nobody like P!nk. She's amazing."
P!nk wasn't the only person Urban had praise for during his interview, either. He took time out of his chat with Brown to say he "can't thank" frontline and essential workers enough for everything they did during the pandemic.
In case you missed it, or just want to re-live all of the epic performances from this year’s iHeartRadio Music Festival, tune in to the two-night highlights special on The CW on September 27 and 28 from 8-10pm ET/PT.
Photo: Jason Denison for iHeartRadio