Like many a performer before him, Josh Groban wanted to make his current arena tour, which hit the Target Center on Friday night, feel more intimate. And, what do you know, he pulled it off.(Source)
The 30-year-old easy-listening favorite opened his two-hour performance by entering from the back of the main floor and climbing onto a satellite stage adorned only with a piano. Not only did that allow folks in the cheap seats a good peek at the star attraction, it gave the sense Groban was performing on a hole-in-the-wall cabaret stage, not the floor of a downtown Minneapolis basketball arena.
At first, that stripped-down style didn't translate well to the main stage, where Groban soon joined his 13-member backing band. With its blue spotlights and ancient Roman coliseum backdrop, it radiated with full-on PBS pledge drive grandeur.
As it turned out, though, the lack of live-action big screens and other moving parts kept the focus on Groban's rich, expressive vocals, as well as the lush
professionalism of his fellow musicians.
Groban began his career as a classical singer with pop leanings and, over the years, he's become increasingly adept at bridging those two worlds. Friday night's set list gave more attention to Groban's middle-of-the-road material than any of his tours to date.
Yeah, he still worked in more stately stuff, usually delivered in Spanish, Portuguese or Italian. But Groban really opened up when singing the radio-
friendly material from his latest album, "Illuminations." At the urging of producer Rick Rubin, Groban co-wrote much of the record with Minnesota's own Dan Wilson of Semisonic. In addition to giving Wilson, who has since moved to
Los Angeles, an on-stage shout-out for the help, Groban managed to work in most of their co-writes, including "Bells of New York City," "Higher Window," "War at Home" and "If I Walk Away."
Groban was most engaging, though, when simply interacting with the passionate, if reverent, audience of about 7,000. He answered questions from fans in the crowd, giving him the opportunity to air his quick wit.
When asked what one useless super power he wished he had, his charmingly rambling answer ended up with him pulling a woman from the audience for a hug and then announcing he wished his super power was the ability to hug the entire
audience at once. Aw, Josh!
Another audience member - who was savvy enough to know Groban has done this at other tour stops - asked if he could sing a song with the star. The fan chose "Remember When it Rained," a track from Groban's 2003 sophomore album "Closer," and the pair's impromptu duet proved to be a highlight of the evening. Later, Groban invited an older couple, a single young woman and a 10-year-old girl to sit on stage on inflatable sofas and enjoy a drink while he serenaded them with "Broken Vow."
He even managed to work in a fart joke. But coming from Mr. Josh Groban, it was a charming fart joke, indeed.
09 July, 2011
An enchanted evening...
The second leg of the tour has kicked off in Minneapolis and here's the review of the show from Ross Raihala of TwinCities.com.