Michael Buble', Naturally 7 Toyota Center October 20, 2013
As far as I can tell, there really is no good reason to skip a Michael Buble' concert if you have the opportunity to see one. Sunday night's show at Toyota Center was packed-full of energy, performance and more importantly, top-quality music. Those who were there left feeling good.
Toyota Center was packed with Buble' fans who all started screaming like teenagers when he took the stage, opening with the classic "Fever." His dramatic opening -- with banging drums, fire, and a full slide down the stage -- was ridiculously sensational, which is what Buble' fans want. He takes the audience back to the days of Vegas sensuality and "cool," and he does it with effortless panache.
So who is Michael Buble'? He is a natural-born performer, and it's clear he's always been a showman. Buble' is like that one guy in your high-school theater troupe who was straight and kinda cute and got all the chicks. He's cocky and funny and man, does he put on a show. He calls the audience "beautiful boys and girls" and talks with the cadence of a 1960s crooner.
Buble' is absolutely amazing at engaging with the crowd, and certainly knows his audience. Between the first two songs, he made some jokes about being at the office and using the copy machine. He went into the crowd and took pictures, sung someone a birthday song, and let a young audience member sing a few bars of "Home." Watching Buble' is like being at The Copa Room in The Sands in 1965. It's not just great music; it's a performance.
He's a little like the older crowd's Justin Bieber, and he knows it. What makes this even more hilarious is that Buble' made fun of Bieber for several minutes. It was like watching Deanie at a Roast. He is cocky and wonderful. But alas, the Bubliebers were ready for more music.
Buble' followed his follies with "Just Haven't Met You Yet," a Top 40 hit, and then an impeccable version of Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness." He followed with the Sinatra classic "You Make Me Feel So Young," but his cover of "Moondance" was a bit too smarmy for my taste. "Dance with Me," came next, then crowd favorite "Feelin' Good."
Meanwhile, the background visuals fluctuated from Art Deco stylings in the throwbacks to ornate chandeliers and constellations during love songs, as the set list jumped from classics to standards to covers to singles. This is part of his appeal: he can sing absolutely anything, which is what causes all generations to love him.
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Buble' was backed by a disturbingly talented band. During a cheeky intro package, each band member was individually introduced and then showcased their talents in a solo; the saxophone playing was so hot that I wanted to take my clothes off right there in section 106. The whole band is bananas.
Buble' played four more songs before his cover of the Bee Gee's "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," somewhat embarrassingly, made me cry in the middle of Toyota Center, followed by the beloved "Home" that Buble dedicated to the military. Thirteen songs in at this point, the show showed no signs of slowing down.
Buble' hightailed it to the back of the arena while singing summer anthem "Get Lucky," goaded the audience to dance while playing "Who's Loving You," and openers Naturally 7 (see below) joined in on "I Want You Back." At this point the entire crowd was on their feet and remained there until the show was over.
Three more songs and a return to the front stage prompted "All You Need Is Love," during which the ceiling released giant confetti hearts over the audience. Some Elvis came next, then Buble' original "It's a Beautiful Day" wrapped up the main set. It had been 20 songs long, and the energy never flagged. Buble' came to play a packed show, and certainly did not hold out.
After a very quick break (not even two minutes) where the audience went wild for more Buble', he returned to the stage and laughed about how he thinks encores are stupid: "I WANT to come back! I don't want to leave! I WANT to perform more for you!" This was entirely believable. Buble' loves the stage.
The encore was stellar: an incredible rendition of "Cry Me a River," a bouncy "Save the Last Dance for Me," audience-requested "Fly Me to the Moon," and then Leon Russell's "A Song For You," which Buble dedicated to the audience. At the end of the song, Buble' took out his monitor and sang without the aid of any technology. His voice still managed to fill the Toyota Center, a true showman's way of ending the night.
Personal Bias: What is music for? Is it not at times just to make people feel GOOD? I'm SO okay with that. Because we all need that. This music makes people feel GOOD. Here's to feeling good.
Well, How Was the Opener? Naturally 7 was an extremely effective choice for this tour and pumped the audience up from the moment they took the stage. The New York City-based vocal group reminded me of what happens when you mix a glee club and Blackstreet: no instruments, just "vocal play."
This might not be everybody's cup of tea, but can I please just say how refreshing it is to see people who are actually talented making music? These guys are legit. They ran the gamut from Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love" to Coldplay's "Fix You," ending with a dance break that perfectly primed the crowd for the headliner.
The Crowd: I thought it would mostly be older women with panties in tow, but the crowd was much more mixed and comprised of a LOT of couples. A mixed bag of Bubliebers, because he is capable of spanning generations with his music.
Overseen in the Crowd: Please explain to me why you would pay a ton of money for good seats and then get up to leave before the last song is done or before the encore begins? Screw "beating the crowd." And if you missed "Cry Me a River" because you left, I feel bad for you, because it was great.
Random Notebook Dump: Anyone want to go to Vegas with me? I'm feeling it's time for another trip.
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