Surprise! Keith Urban gets a shocker at benefit
Keith Urban, right, is congratulated by Vince Gill, left, after it was announced that Urban has been selected to become a member of the Grand Old Opry during the All for the Hall concert on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The concert is a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Keith Urban was slyly dropping hints about the surprises he had in store at the All For The Hall benefit concert this week, but little did he know the night's biggest surprise was aimed at him.
Vince Gill and members of Rascal Flatts, The Oak Ridge Boys and Diamond Rio surprised Urban Tuesday night with the announcement he will officially join The Grand Ole Opry later this month, a revelation that clearly took the Australian country star by surprise.
"I'm shocked, I've got to say," Urban told the sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena. "It's a huge honor and how beautiful to have this happen tonight of all nights."
As for Urban's surprises, he brought Merle Haggard and childhood hero Don Williams on stage, fittingly trotting out a couple of inductees for the fundraiser to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.
Keith Urban, left, is applauded by Joe Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys after it was announced that Urban has been selected to become a member of the Grand Old Opry during the All for the Hall concert on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. The concert is a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
"This is one of the biggest thrills of my life, getting to play a little guitar with this guy coming out," Gill said before brining Haggard on stage.
Haggard played four songs, including crowd favorite "Workin' Man's Blues." Williams, a childhood idol of Urban's, performed two songs, including "Tulsa Time."
"I heard more records in my house growing up by this guy than anybody," Urban told the crowd before bringing Williams on stage.
With the exception of the night's surprise guests, the theme of Urban and Gill's third installment of the benefit was duos, vocal groups and bands.
Urban and Gill served as co-musical directors and house band leaders, sitting in on almost every song and merging their bands for the night.
"Thanks so much to Keith and Vince," Miranda Lambert said. "That's hot!"