After two hard-shredding ’90s rock bands performed there a night earlier, who would have guessed the most fiery and dazzling guitar work at Xcel Energy Center this weekend would be by a country singer?

An Australian country singer, no less.

Keith Urban followed Smashing Pumpkins and Jane’s Addiction to St. Paul’s hockey arena on Saturday night, and once again he reminded 14,000 Twin Cities fans why he remains one of modern country music’s biggest rock stars.

Considering his wife is a leading Hollywood actor (Nicole Kidman) and he and his music have been all over TV (including his “American Idol” stint), the 55-year-old hitmaker obviously doesn’t need to tour to earn a paycheck. Saturday’s concert once again suggested he performs as often as he does because he genuinely loves it.

Due to COVID, Urban uncharacteristically went four years between Twin Cities gigs, adding a little pent-up enthusiasm this time.

By contrast, only three months have passed since Tyler Hubbard — Urban’s second opening act — played the last-for-now concert with his sidelined band Florida Georgia Line at the Minnesota State Fair. Too soon maybe? Hubbard and his band sounded a tad disjointed in new songs such as “Everybody Needs a Bar,” and fans didn’t know the tunes well enough to join in on the harmonious choruses.

Drinking songs and harmonies also were FGL’s forte, so it sure didn’t sound like Hubbard was breaking any new ground. But he did break in three prospective new stars: His daughter and two sons (all under age 6) joined him on stage for “Inside and Out.” They were as big a hit with the crowd as was first opener Ingrid Andress’ appearance with Hubbard for the Bebe Rexha/FGL hit “Meant to Be.”

Urban seemed revved up from the get-go. After breezing through “Tumbleweed” and “Days Go By” to start his 2¼-hour set, he stopped to point out it was the last night of his tour.

“We’ve been looking forward to this night since we kicked off the tour,” he said with an extra twinkle in his already sparkly blue eyes. Then he shouted out Prince and used his quote about Minnesota being so cold it “keeps the bad people away.”

Urban pulled out a very Prince-like stunt during “Long Hot Summer” mid-show, playing a lengthy, finger-tapped guitar solo with a video camera attached to the neck of his instrument for a close-up view. A few songs later, he finished off “God Whispered Your Name” with an elegant, Jerry Garcia-like guitar outro and followed that with an extra-fiery jam in “You Look Good in My Shirt.”

Also like Prince, Urban was able to play with his set list and add a few surprises on the fly.

First came a closing-night-only acoustic duet with Hubbard through Tim McGraw’s hit “Something Like That.” Then he threw in “Live With,” a little-played song off his latest record (“The Speed of Now, Pt. 1”), which he said his band requested for the tour finale. Smart band; it’s a strong song.

Best and most surprising of all, rising country star Kelsea Ballerini — who “happened to be in town,” he said — came out and delivered Miranda Lambert’s verses in his 2018 hit “We Were Us.”

With all those extras, Urban had to rush through several of his biggest hits near show’s end to try to hit the 11 p.m. curfew, including “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” “The Fighter” and the encore “Stupid Boy.”

He didn’t make his cutoff, but oh well. Great guitar players have a tendency to go a little long.