31 August, 2011

Awesome review from Vancouver...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Francois Marchand of the Vancouver Sun.
Review: Josh Groban sings his heart out in Vancouver

Operatic pop singer raises Rogers Arena with big voice and big laughs

When: Tuesday night

Where: Rogers Arena

VANCOUVER - Josh Groban's heart is, quite obviously, as big as his powerful baritone.

The 30-year-old operatic pop singer can make you laugh with a few zingers just as easily as he can tug on your heartstrings through song, something that has played a big role in his enduring popularity.

At Rogers Arena in Vancouver Tuesday night, Groban didn't miss a single opportunity to use his wit as much as his incredible set of pipes, mixing comedy and drama without skipping a beat, much to the delight of his fans.

"You paid out the wazoo to be here tonight," he said at the start of the two-hour show. "The least I can do is sing my ass off."

There you had it: The essence of his current Straight To You tour was a mix of congeniality and string-laden pop appeal, guy-next-door charm intertwined with uplifting musical bravado (peppered with a little cheese here and there, of course).

It certainly doesn't hurt when you have five albums to pick and choose material from, Groban's latest being Illuminations, produced by the mighty Rick Rubin, a man whose signature "bring it back back to your roots" approach has most recently created a monster in British soul-pop singer Adele on her chart-busting album 21.

Illuminations, released late last year, marked a sonic departure for an artist associated with "hit-man" David Foster, who made Groban a worldwide sensation and an Oprah favourite to boot.

It also firmly established the L.A.-bred singer in his new hometown of New York City, a locale whose presence is felt throughout the album.

More confessional, closer to the heart - how does one make it truly shine in a faceless, if slightly more intimate than usual, arena setting?

(The upper balcony level was closed, and the concourse was unusually quiet, which is probably a good indication of the kind of crowd that attends a Groban concert: Mostly older couples, moms and dads, with a few groups of young female fans doing the bulk of the real screaming. As one tongue-in-cheek tweet put it best before the show: "Daughters, lock up your mothers - Josh Groban is playing Vancouver tonight.")

Groban's approach Tuesday night was to use every trick in the book to make it click with the crowd on a personal level.

Taking text messages from fans? Check.

Going into the audience using one of the many "Grobanite Access Points" (ie. the steps leading off the stage and into the crowd)? Done.

Singing a bit of Awake with a fan in the stands? Yep.

The core of the concert, of course, was the songs, and Groban can belt those out like few can.

Right from the start, a cover of Canadian indie band Great Lake Swimmers' Changing Colours and February Song had Groban - sporting a jacket, T-shirt, black jeans and sneakers - singing from a platform in the middle of the crowd.

If the evening revolved around a predictable theme, love and hope, with songs like You Are Loved (Don't Give Up) and Galileo (Someone Like You), Groban also showcased his multi-linguistic skills on Alejate (sung in Spanish), Alla Luce Del Sole (in Italian) and Voce Existe Em Mim (in Portuguese).

Groban's voice went from a rich, quivering baritone to soaring heights with ease, Groban often tickling the ivories, backed by a mighty symphonic band consisting of a dozen musicians handling strings, horns, guitar, bass and percussions. (Speaking of percussions, Groban got to show off his drumming skills halfway through the show. Let's just say the guy knows what he's doing.)

The stage was designed to look like an old amphitheatre wall with a broken half arch jutting out in the middle (if the show had taken place at the Orpheum, it would have been redundant), with projections lighting up the prop throughout - animated waves on Oceano, New York landmarks during Bells of New York City, fire escapes and stairs on Higher Window.

(There were no screens showing video close-ups of Groban, however, which may have disappointed some.)

For all the criticism levelled against him - the main one being that he is too "easy-listening" - Groban knows how to give his fans exactly what they want: Who he really is, awkward jokes and all.

Ultimately, how can you not appreciate a guy who, beyond being genuinely talented and likeable, is also dedicated to various charitable endeavours and social causes: In Vancouver, Groban donated some of the money made from ticket sales - via his Find Your Light Foundation - to Carousel Theatre, an organization dedicated to inspiring kids and families through theatrical performances.

You stay classy, Josh Groban.

28 August, 2011

Vegas Sun Review...

By Shawna Laing
Multiplatinum-selling singer-songwriter Josh Groban took over MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night in Adidas sneakers, a sports coat and his signature mop of dark curly hair. It was a sold-out crowd of hysterical Grobanites. A single spotlight on the Grammy- and Oscar-nominated 30-year-old baritone, Groban entered with “Changing Colors” and “February Song.” His last stop in Las Vegas was four years ago, and his fans were ready.

Groban crooned in English, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian. He amused the masses with impersonations of Bob Marley, Jersey Boys, Elmo and Beyonce (complete with choreography). The 2-hour set list included “Alla Luce Del Sole,” “Machine,” “Voce Existe Em Mim,” “Bells of New York City,” “If I Walk Away,” “You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up),” “Galileo” and his signature “You Raise Me Up.” Most powerful was “The War at Home,” a song he wrote for the military.

Crowd participation is a central theme of Groban’s Straight to You Tour. The audience was encouraged to snap photographs, record video and get up-close-and-personal with Groban. He referred to the stage stairs with trepidation. His security calls them GAPS, aka Grobanite Access Points. He said that Las Vegas fans smell like “Chanel No. 5 and barbecue.”

Groban led into the Q&A segment of the evening by saying, “Let’s open up this box of chocolates and see where the nuts are!” The first question came from Stephanie front and center: “When the world ends in 2012, I will be at Disneyland … where will you be?” Groban responded with “Vegas riding the New York, New York rollercoaster, eating Grimaldi’s pizza and at Crazy Horse every night ... amateur night!”

There was a brief intermission with a fierce orchestral cover of “Live and Let Die.” Groban’s music director and guitarist Tariqh Akoni genuinely enjoys his job and shows it, and impeccable pianist Mark Stephens resembles Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller.

Groban talked of his Find Your Light Foundation, which supports a local instrument recycling charity -- Music for Hope. Music for Hope distributes refurbished instruments to local youth programs. Groban described his childhood in the arts -- the impact, influence and joy. “Text ART to 50555 to make a $10 donation to support the cause,” he implored the audience.

Groban revealed that he purposely schedules a break in his tour to accommodate ample recreation time in Las Vegas. He was spotted at the Cosmopolitan early yesterday morning. He dined at STK and partied at Marquee, where fellow warbler Mark Salling (of Glee fame) was celebrating his 29th birthday. @JoshGroban later tweeted “Vegas I tried, fatigue 1 fun 0.”

If you missed the show at MGM Grand Garden Arena, you can get an ample dose of Groban by watching The Office next season, when Josh joins the cast as Andy Bernard’s brother. He is currently on the big screen in Crazy, Stupid, Love starring, coincidentally, The Office’s Steve Carrell, Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Thanks to Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery from the Straight to You Tour stop.
(Source) - check the link for Tom Donoghue's photos.

27 August, 2011

Sacramento Review...

By Patricia Willers.
Who knew a bari-tenor could have groupies?

Josh Groban put on an excellent show Wednesday night at Power Balance Pavilion. Groban began the show on a stage in the center of the arena, dozens of Grobanites, as they are called, swarming around the raised platform.

“You guys are circling like sharks,” said Groban.

His show was spotted with comedy, which was a rather delightful surprise. One doesn’t necessary expect to laugh at a Josh Groban concert, and in fact, everyone did – and frequently. Throughout the show he was tremendously interactive with the audience.

“I had a Starbucks earlier,” said Groban. “I’m really sorry.”

It would be interesting to know if this is the vibe and character of a normal show, or if it was a uniquely caffeinated mood. Judging by his confidence, mixing at random - “I Wanna Sex You Up” and eggs over easy; it seems that he was born caffeinated.

Groban was excited to be back in Sacramento, citing that this was the place that he got his start. He referred to his performance at the inauguration of Gov. Gray Davis and also mentioned producer and composer David Foster on several occasions. Foster, who arranged Groban’s first gig at Power Balance, ARCO Arena at the time, is often credited for having “discovered” Groban.

Groban was preceded by opener, Elew, an exuberant pianist who was always standing, kneeling or dancing – never sitting. His pieces ranged from classical to “Sweet Home Alabama,” a unique choice for a piano solo that got the crowd clapping.

Elew played as if he were at home tinkering on his own set of keys rather than in a sizeable complex, even playing the strings inside the piano with his left hand as he tickled the ivories with his right.

He won the hearts of many in just a few minutes and was a nice opening act for Groban, particularly because of Groban’s light-hearted and goofy demeanor. I would guess that he and Elew have some fun head to head musical battles in their off hours.

Midway through his set, as Elew began to stoically play “Love Story,” a woman in the next row questioned a friend.

“Isn’t that the Young and the Restless?”

Her query demonstrated exactly why the tune was chosen, and gave insight into Elew’s creative sense of humor.

Yet another performer to watch for in the future is Groban’s musical director, Tariqh Akoni. Akoni played various roles during the show, a highlight being his acoustic guitar solo during “Just Walk Away,” which Groban performed in Spanish.

Throughout the show, it was very apparent that Groban loves music. He arrived in Sacramento with basically his own orchestra in tow, his musical peeps, as he referred to them. More and more people joined him on stage depending on the genre or style of the song at the moment. The musicians on stage with him, how they play, and how and when he brought them forward to play said a lot about his attitude towards the various genres.

Groban prides himself for the variety in his repertoire. He had just that, his set list including songs in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin. Then, suddenly, he’s pounding away on a trap set in center stage.

Admittedly, I think that I could do with his voice alone. The accompaniment was high quality, but when he really sings, there’s magic in it.

Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I thought it possible there would be some tears shed at this event. There were several moments when his voice really was that impressive, the first song and last song included, but throughout the bulk of the concert, while his excellent vocals surely got the job done, it seemed that he wasn’t taking full advantage of his incredible talent. With a voice like that, less is more, because it’s already so much.

Throughout the evening, Groban took advantage of his extraordinary range. “Changing Colors,” for one, took advantage of the upper extreme. His performance, of course, was flawless.

The romantic, “Galileo,” was also a crowd favorite. Another song was dedicated to servicemen and women around the world. “The War at Home,” was very well received, the somber sound of a military snare sequence in the background serious, yet heartfelt.

By the end of the show, I was even more convinced. All I wanted was that voice, Groban on stage, no mic, no graphics, maybe a grand piano.

One lucky woman in the audience, among hundreds participating, text her thoughts to Josh Groban and found herself onstage. Beth Guido explained via SMS that she had been inspired by Groban and still today continues to work towards a singing career. Groban and Guido sang a nice rendition of “Happy Birthday” to another audience member. It’s safe to say that the audience liked her; their voices blended quite well, in fact, it’s actually too bad she didn’t say, “The Prayer,” when he asked her what she wanted to sing.

Beth, please keep that in mind for the future.

26 August, 2011

Josh Groban... is smart, funny -- and can sing...

By Kyle O'Brien from The Oregonian
Sorry guys, Josh Groban will woo your girlfriend, and you can't do a thing about it.

Groban's dulcet tones are like spoonfuls of sugar to her, making his sweet medicine of classical-meets-pop music go down as smooth as baby food. While you might not like his music -- in fact, when you hear Groban's symphonic love songs you might be tempted to get into a bathtub with a live ferret -- the guy has a sharp, dry sense of humor, so it's pretty difficult to hate him.

Performing on Jimmy Kimmel's show earlier in the year exposed Groban's wit, as he performed Kanye West's real Twitter tweets with his piano and voice. A classic was, "I make awesome decisions in bike stores."

"The next time I do it, it should be for Gary Busey," he joked during a recent phone interview.

Groban, 30, knows that he appeals to a primarily female fan base, but he's appreciative when he can reach new audiences.

"Anytime something goes viral like that you reach fans and folks who aren't your fans. You're given the opportunity to present yourself as a person, not just an artist," he said.

Groban's sense of humor was honed during his formative years in Los Angeles, where he studied theater and comedy improv before being discovered for his rich, sonorous voice. After an appearance on "Ally McBeal" in 1999, Groban launched into superstardom at a young age, leaving acting mostly behind.

Groban, who performs Friday night at the Rose Garden arena, spoke from Chicago during the middle of his world tour, in support of his album "Illuminations," which was produced by rock producer-guru Rick Rubin.

"I'm having an amazing time on this tour. We were experimenting early in the year with smaller venues," said Groban, who added that he and his band wanted to translate the welcoming nature of those smaller venues into arena shows.

He added, deadpan, "There will be lots of indoor fireworks, with big paper hearts falling from the ceiling ... and whipped cream of course."

Funny ...

The real show is set in the round, meaning more people can be closer to Groban.

"We used the ideas that allowed for the most amount of people to get close," he said. "The way the stage is set up allows me to see every head that's there. There's a lot of crowd interaction ... there's even a text message Q&A. That always seems to yield the most hilarious moments of the evening."

Groban branches out on "Illuminations," writing several of the tracks and singing songs by varied artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Kate McGarrigle and Nick Cave, in Portuguese, English and French. But acting still calls. He recently appeared in his first film, playing Emma Stone's boorish boyfriend in "Crazy, Stupid, Love."

"I was completely out of my element. But it was great to do it and play against type," he said.

Groban continues to grow as an artist, and this tour is a big part of that.

"This represents the best of what I've done. ... This tour is more about the connection with my audience than I've ever had. ... I want the crowd on their feet going bananas," he said, laughing.

So watch out for your girlfriend ...

19 August, 2011

LA Review...

By Lauren Wilson for the Orange County Register
Fans cheer for Josh Groban at Staples

The singer’s arena show may have been low-budget and predictable, but it was satisfying all the same.

Josh Groban has put a lot of work lately into cultivating his regular-guy, funnyman image. His music may be more serious, but he seems to have no problem poking fun at himself.

Doubters can watch his pompous cameos on Glee, his musical rendition of Kanye West’s greatest tweets on Jimmy Kimmel Live! or, most recently, his turn as a Emma Stone’s dorky, Blackberry-addicted boyfriend in Crazy Stupid Love.

Groban’s hair-ruffling, aw-shucks form of self-deprecation adds to his public persona as an ordinary Joe who simply happens to have an extraordinary voice. Donning a casual white T-shirt beneath his black sports coat, with sneakers peeking out from the bottom of his dress pants, Groban looked every bit as rascally boyish Wednesday night at Staples Center as he did 10 years ago when he dropped his self-titled debut.

Despite his successful singing career, the L.A. native is quick to remind audiences of his original thespian intents: he performed in comedy troupes in high school and college and appeared on Ally McBeal before he ever released a record. His prior training lends a certain flair to his showmanship, a crucial factor given how much this production relies on his voice and charm.

His latest tour is dubbed Straight to You, and the show is exactly what the name implies: a direct, no-frills performance that delivered the music and the man without any big-budget special effects. There weren’t even any JumboTron close ups, a disadvantage for those stuck in the back or in some of the more remote triple-decker luxury suites.

Groban’s only real props were a small platform at center-court (for interludes away from the main stage) plus intricate designs projected onto a backdrop, transforming it to suit the song or mood. During “Oceania,” for instance, it became an undulating sea that was later appropriately shaded red, white and blue during “The War at Home,” his salute to troops.

The upper nosebleed levels at Staples Center were curtained off, giving the illusion of an intimate, packed show (as intimate as this arena could ever be). The crowd generally skewed older, comprised of folks who left kids or grandkids at home for a classy night out; some even dressed and brought binoculars as if they were headed to the theater. Needless to say, the audience was more docile than your typical pop-concert crowd; they remained glued to their seats until they were “raised up” (pardon the pun) during Groban’s show-closing smash.

As for his vocal gymnastics, Groban’s tone was reliably pitch-perfect. His effortless baritone makes the contrast between Groban the classical pop singer and Groban the goofy guy even starker. The chatty chanteur fostered a chummy bond with his audience, spitting out rapid-fire quips likely prepared beforehand but which nonetheless went over smoothly, eliciting laugh after laugh. He came off like a cheesy but affable guy you’d invite over for dinner, the kind of person who’s never experienced an awkward silence in his life.

And he made up for the lack of effects with plenty of fun segments, banging out a drum solo, for instance, during a “Live and Let Die” passage that meandered into his next song. Afterward, he indulged some audience participation, answering questions attendees had texted beforehand.

The queries ranged from Groban’s favorite “yo mama” joke to a request to sing with him onstage from Natalie, a recent musical theater graduate from UCI. Groban happily obliged and crooned a duet version of “Happy Birthday to You” with her for another fan in the crowd.

Later in the show, he brought up a couple who had been together 44 years and served them wine, plus two likely underage singletons who received milk instead. While they enjoyed their drinks, he asked the couple for their secret to a long marriage.

“She’ll answer,” the husband shot back facetiously.

Then he sat the foursome down on inflatable plastic couches (the show really was low-budget) and cheekily told them the next song – “Broken Vow,” off his second album, Closer – is about cheating.

Groban’s expert vocals coupled with his easygoing demeanor made for a fun, low-key performance that pulled no punches but also held few surprises. The straightforward predictability may have detracted from the night’s excitement for some, but were I to base my assessment on the reaction of the hefty men ahead of me shamelessly wailing along to “You Raise Me Up,” I’d chalk this one up as a win for Groban.

Jazzy opening act ELEW, meanwhile, tore up his piano like a rock star, covering popular favorites that included Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black.”

Josh to be on "The Office"...

A few hours ago Josh tweeted:

And now, Deadline.com is reporting the following:
Will we see a duet performance by the Bernard brothers on The Office this coming season? Crooner Josh Groban has been tapped to play the brother of Ed Helms' character Andy Bernardon the long-running NBC comedy series. This is the latest member of the Bernard clan to be cast as the network just cast Stephen Collins and Dee Wallace as Andy's parents. This marks Groban's first TV acting stint since his star-making turn on Ally McBeal 10 years ago. (He has done a couple of voice over gigs on animated comedies.) It comes on the heels of his first movie role in this summer's comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love., where he co-starred alongside former Office leading man Steve Carell.
I wonder if this had something to do with the mysterious cancellation of the San Diego show? Perhaps not... Mindy Kaling (who plays Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom "The Office", and is is also a co-executive producer and writer of several of the show's episodes), has just tweeted this:


Josh sings Piers' Tweets...

13 August, 2011

Tony Bennett - Duets 2

Another clip has surfaced about the new Tony Bennett Duets 2 CD. As previously mentioned, Josh will join Tony to sing "This Is All I Ask".

Although Josh isn't interviewed in this clip, he can be be seen (albeit for a second or two) at 1:27

In Elle...

A great article (including some of the most awesome Q&A's ever) by Mickey Rapkin for Elle.


Josh Groban may have the best poker face in music. For 10 years, he dutifully filled the role of Adult Contemporary’s boy wonder, selling more than 25 million albums full of mom-friendly, vaguely religious uplift (“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains”). But this year, in a surprise segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the musician showed his cards, mocking Kanye West—and himself—by setting a selection of the rapper’s ridiculous tweets to an operatic score, belting out verbatim Kanye-isms like “I make awesome decisions in bike stores!!!” If Groban’s public about-face came as something of a surprise, well, let’s just call it a welcome revamp for the singer, who, after a three-year absence from recording, delivered 2010’s Illuminations, an unlikely collaboration with Rick Rubin—the bearded industry veteran better known for his work with Adele and Metallica. Shortly before Groban’s thirtieth birthday last year, he moved from Malibu to Manhattan, putting 3,000 miles between himself and ex-girlfriend January Jones. This month, he colors farther outside the lines with his feature-film debut in Crazy, Stupid, Love., as Emma Stone’s caddish boyfriend. Groban for the win!

ELLE: Your music famously puts women in the mood. Are you aware of that?
JOSH GROBAN: I’m delighted. I’d like to get the message out there to guys: I’m here to help.

ELLE: What music do you play when you have a lady over?
JG: Not mine.

ELLE: Never?
JG: One time when I was lying in bed, this girl went to my laptop and put on one of my songs. I remember yelling from the other side of the room, “What is that? Turn that off!”

ELLE: So what happened to that girl?
JG: I kicked her ass out of the room.

ELLE: Really?
JG: No, I’m kidding. I politely said, “Hey, why don’t I come over there, and let’s look at the songs together?”

ELLE: A reporter once asked Katy Perry, “Who is your most embarrassing crush?” She answered…you.
JG: I know Katy quite well. And no—I don’t take it personally. People were asking if we’d dated. I’ll leave it at that.

ELLE: What’s the grandest gesture you’ve made for a woman?
JG: If I’m in a relationship, I’ll go to the ends of the earth. If I’m on the road and we have a conversation, and she says, “God, I really wish I was there with you right now,” I’ll hang up the phone, send a car, and have the plane ready.

ELLE: Baller! Are you in the Mile High Club, then?
JG: I’ve never done it on a plane. That’s always been a fascination…. The logistics. The covert planning. The interesting use of blanket.

ELLE: Is a volatile argument a sign of a healthy relationship or a troubled one?
JG: If there’s crying, and you get through it, that’s a good thing. I’m all about, Go ahead, throw that shoe. I’ll catch it.

ELLE: If you could bed one woman in the history of music, who would it be?
JG: Oh man, what is her name? From The Sound of Music…

ELLE: Julie Andrews? Really? She made clothing out of drapes.
JG: No, she was sexy in that movie! There was a spicy vixen under all of that.

ELLE: You’re in the middle of a six-month world tour. Have you ever spotted an attractive woman in the crowd and invited her back to your dressing room?
JG: The road is lonely, but I’ve never done that.

ELLE: I don’t believe you.
JG: I might be crazy, but I can’t be intimate with a girl unless I really think she’s into me. Also, I could never get away with that. What would I be doing when she walked into my dressing room? Casually sitting in a velvet robe, sipping brandy? Like, “Oh, I see my assistant found you. Please enter. Cigar?”

ELLE: Your tour began in New Orleans. Did you get into any trouble there?
JG: Well, when I was there for my first tour in 2004, my crew dragged me to a strip club.

ELLE: Dragged, huh?
JG: The crew said, “Josh, get over yourself. Nobody’s going to recognize you.” Well, this guy with a trucker hat was sitting next to me, and we’re kind of doing our thing: “Yeah, look at her.… Oh, she’s pretty flexible.” Then he says, “I’m taking my wife to your show tomorrow night.”

ELLE: You recently moved from L.A. to Manhattan. What’s different between the women in New York and California?
JG: A New York girl would have no problem saying straight off the bat, “I’ve never heard of you.”

ELLE: In Crazy, Stupid, Love., you play a tool who calls his girlfriend nicknames like “Hannah Banana.” What’s the worst nickname a girl’s ever given you?
JG: When I was a kid at summer camp, a girl called me Alf.

ELLE: As in, the ’80s TV show?
JG: Yeah, Alf. “Alien Life Form.” Hates cats. At that age—like puppies and their paws—I hadn’t quite grown into my face. I had huge hair and really accentuated facial features.

ELLE: What’s the most painful thing a woman’s ever said to you?
JG: Besides calling me Alf? Whenever a woman gives me that look—Aww, you’re sweet!—that burns with the heat of a thousand suns.

ELLE: Would you say your good-guy image hurts your chances at love?
JG: People assume that because I make romantic music, I must be moments away from pulling up in my golden gondola. I’ve tried to be edgier than I am, and it looks ridiculous. But there are always bad girls who like to corrupt the good guys.

ELLE: So it must be working out for you.
JG: I’ve been in opposites-attract situations. Let’s put it this way: I’ve been very, very happy that I’m me.


11 August, 2011

Milwaukee review...

By Dave Tianen of The Journal Sentinel.
For years, he has been the puppy-eyed altar boy crooner atop the popera pyramid.

Josh Groban has been a kind of teen idol for non-teens, a poetic soul possessed of a stunning and powerful tenor voice, singing dramatic David Foster ballads in a Berlitz medley of romantic languages. Women from their college years to grannydom have melted under the spell of those ballads.

But he was also all heart and no loins, a sexual menace on a par with Justin Bieber.

But after a prolonged absence, Josh Groban returned to the Bradley Center Tuesday night with more than a hint that he may be a musician in transition. There's still that tousled mane of brown hair, but at 30, the jaw line has tightened. More importantly, last year, Groban cut "Illuminations," a new album with Rick Rubin, famous for producing the acclaimed stripped-down albums from Johnny Cash's last years.

Groban entered the arena from the rear and took his place at the piano on a mini-stage in the center of the floor, with sections above the luxury boxes at the Bradley Center curtained off. The evening opened on a distinct singer-songwriter cast. "Changing Colors" would have fit easily in an '80s Elton John collection. "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" was an old fan favorite, but with a jacked-up rhythm line. It actually took Groban four songs to abandon English, which clearly suggests a change of habit.

Signs of a more multifaceted Groban continued to surface throughout the set. "Bells of New York City" is a new tune from "Illuminations," and it suggests a cross-pollination of Art Garfunkel and '70s Neil Sedaka. The African anthem "Weeping" goes back in Groban's résumé to the "Awake" album from 2006, but it's an uplifting and welcome diversion in the set list.

It probably would be neither wise nor profitable for Groban to abandon the romantic melodramas altogether. "Broken Vow" is the kind of big-voiced romantic-disaster tale that Celine Dion has built a career on. Groban closed with "You Raise Me Up," which has always struck me as a "Wind Beneath My Wings" rewrite. But that kind of high drama crooning works best when surrounded by music of different shades and moods.

Tuesday, Groban seemed more pop and less popera. That's a good thing. Most of us don't speak Italian anyway. He already had an exceptional instrument. Now he appears to have a broader palette.

10 August, 2011

Cancellation of San Diego Show...

To the disappointment of many fans, Josh's show scheduled for Aug 16 at the Viejas Arena, San Diego has been cancelled.

The official line is that the cancellation is due to "scheduling issues". Fans are understandably disappointed, especially given that it's been noted he won't be able to book another San Diego appearance this year because of the way his tour is set up.

After tonight's show in Milwaukee Josh tweeted:

And then in a response to a tweet where a Twitter user stated "Obviously not fantastic enough for you to want to play. :(

Josh responded with:

I'm sure the decision to cancel was not taken lightly by Josh and his team. He would totally understand the disappointment felt by the fans impacted by this decision.

(Source 1, 2 & 3)

08 August, 2011

Double Dream Hands...

Way back on Jan 29, Josh tweeted the following:

And this was the link:

Double Dream Hands responded:

So it was a dream come true for Josh when he met "Double Dream Hands" while on tour in Columbus.  First at a steakhouse:

And then, during his Columbus show this happened:

Here's another video that shows what happened before John joined josh on stage:

After the show, John (aka Double Dram Hands) then tweeted:

And finally, Josh tweeted:

How fantastic!!! And to get Groban to 'dance' on stage, well @DblDreamHnds needs to be congratulated. I'm sure this will go down as one of the top 10 moments in Grobania folklore.

(Source 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5)

05 August, 2011

New Tour Dates - South Africa...

Josh will be performing four (4) shows in South Africa from 26 - 30 November.
  • 11/26 - Sun City - Superbowl
  • 11/27 - Sun City - Superbowl
  • 11/29 - Grand Arena - GrandWest Cape Town
  • 11/30 - Grand Arena - GrandWest Cape Town
There is no fanclub pre-sales for these dates, however public on-sales begin Friday, August 5th at 9am local time. (Wow, that's not much notice... )

For more details, please visit the Tour Page on JoshGroban.com

Pittsburgh review...

By Rosa Colucci of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Josh Groban made a long overdue concert stop in Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center Wednesday night to the delight of 7,000 fans.

With his eight-piece orchestra playing a fiery instrumental from the main stage, everyone looked for the young superstar. He then appeared from the back of the auditorium and bounded onto a secondary stage in the middle of the floor wearing his trademark dark jeans, V-neck tee, black blazer and K-Swiss tennies.

A sea of cellphone cameras lit up like little stars while Groban broke into "Changing Colors." The rapt audience stood still while he performed "February Song" and "You Are Loved." In the middle of the latter, he grabbed the mic and ran through the crowd, greeting his fans and flashing a winning smile.

He introduced songs such as "Bells of New York City," "Higher Window" and "Alejate" with engaging stories. Mr. Groban, no stranger to playing instruments, showed his abilities on both stages, playing two pianos and performing a smoking-hot drum solo on an instrumental version of "Live and Let Die."

Fans were treated to a lot of personal interaction as he walked the audience with a microphone. A 9-year-old named Hadley revealed this was her first concert, and he promised early on to make it her best. Later, he invited her on stage with other fans to a make-shift lounge area where he served milk to the kids and wine to the adults before he performed for them. There was a Q&A segment that bore the best moment of the night. A young woman named Kate was heading to the Navy for boot camp in three weeks, and she asked to duet with him. They sang "Smile," and cellphones everywhere recorded the heartwarming moment.

It was hard to believe that Mr. Groban performed more than 20 songs including "Galileo," "Weeping" and "Per Te," as he moved from stage to stage spending so much time with the audience (and recalling his short time at Carnegie Mellon University). His boundless energy and showmanship serve him well.

One thing that was missing -- but not missed -- was a large video screen so common in concerts these days.

One thing that should have been missing -- but wasn't -- was the bass guitar that overshadowed the mix of the music throughout the night. Run through processors, it became a loud hindrance to Mr. Groban's rich tenor and baritone ranges. The best musical moments came when Mr. Groban sang with just one or two instruments. This was especially true during the encore of "You Raise Me Up," when he was accompanied by piano and viola and his voice beautifully filled the auditorium.

The show opened with Elew, a Manhattan School of Music trained jazz pianist. His 30-minute set included popular songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Henry Mancini and even a few television show themes. His style of "rock-jazz piano" was straight-ahead showmanship. However, at times it felt contrived and uninspired, right down to the plucking and dampening of the piano strings in the case. This richly talented man previously toured with other heavyweights like Wynton Marsalis and Cassandra Wilson. It is hoped that as he matures, he will dig deeper to bring more musical substance to the table.

It's been four years since Mr. Groban played Pittsburgh. All in all, his easy demeanor and crowd interaction left the audience feeling as if it had had a great visit with a best friend.

04 August, 2011

More international tour dates...

A moderator on the official boards has recently responded to a question about if there are plans for additional dates to be added to the tour in the US after the last show in NYC in November.

The response was "Don't know about additional US dates at the moment, but there are some international dates coming."

This information matches up with a question a fan directly asked Josh after the Newark show. The fan who had traveled from Australia, asked when he would be touring down under. He in turn asked Dennis and who replied December, to which she then double checked and asked if he meant December THIS YEAR! Josh then smiled and said YES!

So it looks like Josh might be escaping winter to grab some sunshine in the Southern Hemisphere in December. Last time Josh toured Australia was for the 2007 "Awake Tour". Dates on this tour included 4 nights at the Sydney Opera House, 3 nights at Hamer Hall in Melbourne, 2 nights at QPAC in Brisbane and 1 night each in Adelaide and Perth.

If Josh does tour in December, I wonder if he'll do Carols in the Domain again this year???

The 'OTHER' Top Ten...

Various reports are coming out about the Television Critics Association tour stop with a Top 10 special from late night host David Letterman.

It looks like Josh drew on his experience from the show to do a special for Top 10 "Little Known Songs About Television" on behalf of Letterman. The songs included:
  1. Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
    There’s a place that has not been home to a CSI
    (Sung to the tune of “Somewhere”)
  2. I see Keith Olbermann rant on Current TV, attacking Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity
    And I think to myself...what an enormous head
    (Sung to the tune of “What a Wonderful World”)
  3. What is the deal with my Tivo
    It recommends odd programs to see
    I only watch Glee and Project Runway but Tivo says Swamp People’s right for me
    (Sung to the tune of “Wind Beneath My Wings”)
  4. I’ve got nine hundred channels comin’ into my TV
    And I’d estimate two-thirds of them are selling costume jewelry
    (Sung to the tune of “God Bless the USA”)
  5. Check out Big Brother
    Stay for the hour
    And if you’re lucky, you might see someone shower
    (Sung to the tune of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain”)
  6. Whenever I watch Two and a Half Men I ask myself just what they mean
    How’s the kid still a “half man”? He’s 19
    (Sung to the tune of “Let It Be”)
  7. "NCIS” Who the hell knows what that stands for?
    (Sung to the tune of “You Raise Me Up”)
  8. Why do the terrorists hate us so? The answer’s plain to see
    Try to watch 30 seconds of Real Housewives of NYC
    (Sung to the tune of “I’ll Be Seeing You”)
  9. Before you critics craft your reviews and dole out your 1-to-5 stars
    We here at the CBS Network, invite you to our open bars
    (Sung to the tune of “Impossible Dream”)
  10. Those Cialis and Viagra and Levitra ads you see pay for your favorite shows
    All hail E.D.!
    (Sung to the tune of “God Bless America”)

Q & A...

Before his concert at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, Josh hosted a Q & A session for Musicopia, the group that was chosen by Josh's Find Your Light foundation.

Musicopia is a nonprofit organization that works with approximately 100 of our region’s professional musicians to present a wealth of music education programs. Musicopia is also the leading advocate for restoring and improving in-school music instruction throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. Founded in 1974 as “Strings for Schools,” the organization once focused primarily on classical string music. Now Musicopia provides assemblies, workshops and long-term residencies that span a huge range of musical traditions. Musicopia builds neighborhood vitality through music festivals and community concerts given jointly by students and professionals. These joyous events engage families in their children’s cultural development and celebrate the musical achievements of students at all levels. Through instrument donation drives and neighborhood-based student performing ensembles, Musicopia makes musical participation accessible to underserved students throughout the area. To learn more about Musicopia and how to get involved visit http://www.musicopia.net/. (Source - Find your Light Foundation)

03 August, 2011

Top 10 Rejected Josh Groban songs...

As seen on The Late Show with David Letterman...

** Edit - If you're having trouble with the embedded video, here's a link that might work.

And a review from the Huffington Post:
We haven't seen Josh Groban have this much fun on late night since he was singing Kanye's tweets on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." You know, back when Kanye's tweets were something we talked about.

Groban, who landed a role in the new Steve Carell/Ryan Gosling rom-com "Crazy Stupid Love" stopped by "The Late Show" Monday night to help out David Letterman with the "Top Ten List."

In what could definitely be Letterman's least yawn-inducing list this year, Groban offers ten snippets of "rejected" songs about news and pop culture. Watch the video and tell us which one should be a real song in the comments below (we're thinking that Marcus Bachmann tune might be pretty

Thanks to f*ckyeahjoshgroban.tumblr here's the top 10 in written form -
  1. It wasn’t broken, wasn’t injured don’t know why it came to pass that Kim Kardashian x-rayed her ass (to the tune of God Bless American)
  2. I see skies of soot, clouds of black, scorching hot days, belching smoke stacks, and I think to myself… Holy crap, we’re screwed (What a Wonderful World)
  3. When you said that you were winning, this outcome was unforeseen, replaced by Ashton Kutcher — charlie sheen (Let It Be)
  4. I’m proud to be a straight guy in each every way since Michelle Bachmann’s husband helped me pray away the gay (God Bless the USA)
  5. You knocked me up like Arnold Schwarzenegger (You Raise Me Up)
  6. How could he know so much about me? As if my thoughts were not my own. It took me a decade to discover that Rupert Murdoch tapped my phone. (Wind Beneath My Wings)
  7. I’ve had all kinds of singing gigs, I’d gladly take again but tonight’s the only time, I’ll do a lame top ten
  8. Fix the economy soon, if you please or else by next year, we’ll all speak Chinese (Climb Every Mountain)
  9. Somewhere out of the internet, when you click, you’ll find multiple photos of Anthony Weiner’s… torso (Somewhere Over The Rainbow)
  10. And New York will be better for this, that one man in an amorous mood can get all the legal permission required to marry a dude (The Impossible Dream)

Happy 85th Birthday Tony Bennett...

Josh and a myriad of other musical greats wish the legend, Tony Bennett, a happy 85th birthday. Josh is at 1:18

01 August, 2011

Birthday wishes...

A quick clip showing Josh wishing Detroit radio station Magic 105.1 a happy 10th birthday.

Mixing music, humor at Mohegan Sun (Review)...

By Ray Kelly, The Republican
Somewhere between wandering the Mohegan Sun Arena floor to chat with the audience, pouring wine for a couple marking their 30th wedding anniversary, drumming a solo after his band played “Live and Let Die,” dancing (poorly), and ribbing his fans, Josh Groban found time to sing 19 songs and perform an instrumental on piano he composed at the age of 12.

Before a sold-out crowd of 10,000 Grobanites, the affable prince of operatic pop with the boyish good looks and self-deprecating humor turned out an amazing performance.

As his 13-piece band played an instrumental version of “Straight to You” on the main stage, Groban entered from the rear of the arena and seated himself at a nearby piano. He kicked off the nearly two-hour set with “Changing Colours” – a concert favorite he has not recorded in the studio. The 30-year-old California native followed with “February Song” and "You Are Loved (Don’t Give Up)” from 2006’s “Awake” album before wading through the crowd and onto the main stage.

“You guys are polite, the other row was grabby,” Groban told one fan, before adding to another, “You smell great (like) a combination of Chanel No. 5 and Bubba’s BBQ.”

On the main stage, Groban sang “Oceano” in Italian and “Alejate” in Spanish before performing “Bells of New York City,” a tribute to his adopted hometown of New York. It was the first of seven tracks from his latest album, “Illuminations.” He returned to “Illuminations” throughout the night for “Higher Window,” “War at Home,” “Voce Existe Em Mim,” “Galileo (Someone Like You)”, “If I Walk Away” and the piano-led instrumental “The Wandering Kind.”

The new material worked well alongside familiar concert favorites like “Machine” (originally recorded with Herbie Hancock) and “Weeping” (a collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo).

Prior the start of the concert, Groban’s camp sought text message questions from audience members.

Groban fielded a few half-way through the night. “Let’s open up this box of chocolates and see where the nuts are,” he joked.

One not-so-nutty question led Groban to a duet on “The Prayer” with a fan who identified herself as Amy, a former opera student. What Groban billed as “Mohegan Sun Idol” turned out to be one of the more memorable moments of the night.

While the evening was full of song and good humor, Groban paused to discuss social causes important to him. He asked fans to support musical educational programs for youngsters and better care for returning veterans. The singer recently visited Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

Groban brought the set to a close with the bittersweet “Broke Vow” and the moving “Per Te” before returning for a cover of Neil Diamond’s “Play Me” and his signature hit “You Raise Me Up.”