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.

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