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Country star Urban hits Gwinnett

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman . Keith Urban rocks to a near sold-out crowd on Thursday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Urban will return for a second show tonight. It will be his fourth concert at the Arena.

Staff Photo: Jason Braverman . Keith Urban rocks to a near sold-out crowd on Thursday night at the Arena at Gwinnett Center. Urban will return for a second show tonight. It will be his fourth concert at the Arena.

DULUTH — The Arena at the Gwinnett Center was packed with Keith Urban fans Thursday from all over the metro Atlanta area, and many of them have seen the performer more than once before.

“I try to make it to at least one concert a year because I really like him,” said Tanja Watson of Acworth. “He’s in the middle of being kind of country and kind of pop. I enjoy that about him.”

Before the show, about 100 fans waited in the heat for the doors to open. To pass the time, they made signs at the booth and played games for prizes at The Bull tent.

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If You Go

• What: Keith Urban concert

• When: Today at 7:30 p.m.

• Where: The Arena at the Gwinnett Center

• For more information: visit www.gwinnettcenter.com

One thing was for sure: they were excited about seeing the country artist.

“I just want to see a good show by Keith Urban,” said Kristen Finkelstein of Atlanta. It was her first time to see him live.

Some fans made T-shirts with song lyrics and marriage proposals. Many opted to wear one of Urban’s shirts from previous tours. One women covered her entire car with the Aussie’s memorabilia.

When Urban finally took the stage, everyone went wild. The arena went black and one large white spotlight came from the stage. The curtains dropped and Urban immediately began playing.

He opened the night with “Put You in a Song.” The audience jumped to their feet and never missed a beat. He played many of his hits, but he also incorporated new songs from his sixth album, “Get Closer.”

When the concert ended, people left laughing and talking about the show — and the arena.

“I love the arena,” said Charlotte Trainer of Jefferson. “It’s a small venue that’s perfect for concerts.”

Jake Owen is the opening act. Tickets are still available for tonight’s show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.