Attention football, music and fans of good things: Keith Urban will be headlining the Freedom Mobile Grey Cup Halftime Show on Sunday, November 24, so that means it’s time to polish your cowboy boots cause this is going to be good.
Keith made the announcement exclusively to etalk, sharing that he’ll be gracing the field at McMahon Stadium in Calgary for the 107th CFL finals match-up and follow in the steps of both his contemporaries and fellow legends, including Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Céline Dion and The Tragically Hip.
“It’s crazy, this is the 107th year of the CFL and I’ve never played it before,” he joked with etalk’s Liz Trinnear. “Some of my favourite artists have done it already so it’s a big gig. It really is. I can feel it.”
That means a lot coming from a man who is currently in the middle of a global tour. Urban will cap off the North American leg of his Graffiti U world tour mere days before flying up to Calgary for the Halftime Show. Heading to Calgary after all that time on the road, Keith said it’s like a homecoming of sorts. The city was the first place he played a sold-out stadium (shout-out to the Saddledome) and it’s reminiscent both of his second home, Nashville, and where he grew up.
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“I feel very much at home in Calgary,” Keith said. “I did from the first day. That colonial thing is legit—it’s a thing. And the typography and the people—it’s very much like Australia.”
The main difference, obviously, being the extreme temperature dip, especially at the end of November. Keith and the whole band are planning to bundle up big time to play the show, but the country star explained there’s nothing that can save him from frozen fingers.
“Your fingers are exposed [when playing guitar] and it’s steel strings—it’s a brave combination,” he said. “The fingerless gloves are kind of pointless because it’s your fingertips touching the icy cold steel and there’s just no way around that . . . . We did a gig recently where the whole front of the stage were just these massive heaters.”
To stand a chance against an Albertan winter, Keith will need to layer up and practice shredding the guitar while playing outside to a stadium full of adoring and equally chilly fans. Being someone who hasn’t had their entire life to acclimatize to performing in cold environments, we certainly appreciate his dedication. Shania Twain had a whole childhood in Timmins, ON to prepare herself for the outdoor Halftime show—Keith only has a couple months.
At the very least, it means we can probably mark assume it will go down as Keith’s coolest performance to date.
Watch the Grey Cup and the Freedom Mobile Halftime Show Sunday, November 24 on TSN.