Concerts

Michael Bublé Brings Charm, Soaring Vocals to Toyota Center

Bublé onstage at Toyota Center
Bublé onstage at Toyota Center Photo by Matthew Keever
Michael Bublé
Toyota Center
March 26, 2019

They're either going to forget you, or your absence will make their hearts grow fonder.

That's what Michael Bublé's publicist told him after his son's cancer diagnosis sidelined the Canadian singer-songwriter from touring for nearly five years. And while that may sound harsh, it's a well-known fact that fame is fleeting and fans are fickle.

Fortunately, Bublé didn't lose any of his signature charm during those trying times. In fact, the four-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist has claimed in multiple interviews that the experience changed him for the better and made him more appreciative of everything he has.

His gratitude was on full display Tuesday night.

"You are my family," Bublé told the crowd of approximately 15,000 at Houston's Toyota Center. "I never use the word fan, because I think it's a derogatory word. It's short for fanatic, and you're not fanatics. You're beautiful people, beautiful souls who want to come and enjoy music."

Bublé went on to say that his mom, dad, wife and kids were all in attendance. "And you guys are an extension of that family," he added as fans the crowd roared its approval.

Clad in a bright blue suit - which he caught a glimpse of onscreen and likened to Will Smith's genie character in Aladdin remake - Bublé was all smiles for two full hours Tuesday night. He walked the catwalk, high-fiving members of the crowd and FaceTiming with a young girl who wasn't able to make the show. Along the way, he took selfies, signed posters and kept everyone laughing.

click to enlarge Bublé serenading fans - PHOTO BY MATTHEW KEEVER
Bublé serenading fans
Photo by Matthew Keever
Backed by a few dozen musicians, including an all-female string ensemble, the Canadian crooner took his time at the nearly sold-out venue, soaking up the limelight during his first visit to the Bayou City since October 2013. He shared anecdotes in between every few songs, tales of fatherhood and touring and a brief but heartfelt thank-you to a friend and doctor in the crowd who was integral in his son's treatment.

In between it all, Bublé performed a plethora of hits, including "Feeling Good," "Haven't Met You Yet" and his latest single, "Love You Anymore." He even made time to perform a duet of "Me and Mrs. Jones" with a young woman in the crowd, whose soprano vocals harmonized perfectly with Bublé's baritone.

He expressed his love for Houston, specifically for Beyoncé, Kenny Rogers and Howard Hughes. He treated fans to two Rogers covers - "Coward of the County" and "The Gambler" - and he dedicated "(Up A) Lazy River" to his grandfather, who passed away late last year and was integral to Bublé's singing career.

Alas, there just wasn't enough time for any Queen B cuts.

On tour in support of his 10th studio album, Love, Bublé boasted "an attitude of gratitude" Tuesday night. He ended the show with a soulful rendition of "Always On My Mind," which he dedicated to the fans who stuck by his side and sent him well wishes during his son's treatment.

"I want this to be an excuse for us all to fall in love all over again," Bublé said of the show. And after five long years during which their hearts grew fonder, Houston fans did just that.

click to enlarge Bublé conducting the crowd - PHOTO BY MATTHEW KEEVER
Bublé conducting the crowd
Photo by Matthew Keever
SET LIST
Feeling Good
Haven't Met You Yet
My Funny Valentine
I Only Have Eyes for You
Sway
Such a Night
Coward of the County
The Gambler
(Up A) Lazy River
When You're Smiling
Me and Mrs. Jones
You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
When I Fall in Love
Love You Anymore
Forever Now
Home
Buona Sera
Just a Gigolo
You Never Can Tell
Nobody But Me
Cry Me a River

ENCORE
Where or When
Everything
Always on My Mind
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever