Headlining country superstar Keith Urban kicked off a “Long hot summer” for tens of thousands of attendees at Stadium of Fire at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Thursday night.

While attendees braved some early wind for the 39th year of the Stadium of Fire — but thankfully no rain — early on, the weather calmed down by the time Urban took the stage at 9 p.m. for what he referred to as a “perfect evening” for an outdoor concert.

Though the weather did hold in Provo, storms up north canceled one of the standbys at Stadium of Fire each year, the flyover of F-35s from Hill Air Force Base, for the first time in the event’s history.

In addition to the thousands who attend the event in person each year, the annual concert is also live-streamed to military personnel in more than 100 countries on the American Forces Network and included a video welcome from Chuck Norris, Stadium of Fire dancers, a trampoline team, a skydiving team and what is billed as one of the largest stadium fireworks shows in the nation.

The program leading up to Urban honored each branch of the military, as well as two men who lost their lives while serving: Maj. Brent Taylor, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan in November and Joseph Shinners with the Provo Police Department who was killed in the line of duty in January.

Urban said it was a perfect night, and that being under the Utah sky was “sensational.”

“I wanna say a huge happy Fourth of July to everyone here,” Urban told the crowd. “I want to say a very special thank you to all the men and women in the armed forces all over the world tonight.”

The crowd rocked out, swayed and sang along with Urban to old favorites like “Days Go by,” from 2004, and newer songs like “Never Coming Down” from his most current album, Graffiti U, released in 2018. Urban also put some of the guitar skills he’s famous for, wowing the crowd with short solos during songs.

Urban is the reigning 2018 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year. He’s a four-time Grammy winner that has won 13 CMA awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, four People’s Choice awards and is a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Urban is No. 8 on Billboard’s All-Time Country Airplay chart, where he has scored 38 consecutive top 10 songs, a record string dating back to August 2000.

Additionally, he has notched 15 No. 1 singles on the U.S. Country charts, including songs such as “But For the Grace of God,” “Somebody Like You,” “Making Memories of Us,” “Better Life,” “You Look Good in My Shirt,” “Sweet Thing,” “Without You,” “Long Hot Summer” and “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” among others.

Urban also served as a judge on the popular “American Idol” TV show for seasons 12-15, airing from January 2013 through April 2016.

Past Stadium of Fire performers have included Little Big Town, OneRepublic, and Tim McGraw.

Daily Herald Feature’s Editor Doug Fox contributed to this report.

Katie England covers local government, the environment and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

Katie England covers politics, county government and southern Utah County for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2599 or kengland@heraldextra.com.

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