Michael Bublé at Xcel Energy Center, 9/11/13
|Photo courtesy of the artist|
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
There is really no getting around it. Michael Bublé is not just a singer, he's an entertainer. Wednesday at the Xcel, the dazzling night with him began with a quick changeover after a brief opening act. Suddenly, there was a wall of sound from behind an elegant grey curtain, fire shot from the stage, and the curtain rose just a bit to reveal Michael Bublé, in full tuxedo, standing on the back half of the stage.
He opened with the jazz standard "Fever" as the platform in front of Bublé slanted to meet his feet and he gracefully slid down to front of the stage.The audience was filled with squeals as Bublé strolled about the stage. He quickly jumped into "Haven't Met You Yet" and the rest of the grey curtain rose, revealing his enormous backing band. Bublé charismatically sang and phrased every note flawlessly. Accompanied by a fully trained, professional horn section, he committed no mistakes. The crowd more than willingly sang along to his poppy upbeat anthems. A few songs into his set, Bublé got off the stage to welcome a teary eyed teen in a tiara for her 17th Birthday. He hugged her and made the entire arena sing "Happy Birthday" to her.
While everyone was sitting down and focusing on Michael's banter, they didn't notice the stage changing. Somehow the whole band was in the front part of the stage, closer to the audience. Now, the audience was swooning, grabbing ahold of their loved ones as Bublé crooned "Try a Little Tendernes,s" made famous by Otis Redding. While sitting at a live concert sometimes takes away from the audience involvement, it seemed appropriate. It's not just live music, but an elaborately designed performance.
Bublé then went into "You Make Me Feel So Young," followed by Van Morrison's "Moondance." One thing is for sure, Michael is no stranger to the jazz standards. All of his songs are fully arranged to sound just like the performance on his recordings and he doesn't really stray from his original phrasing as well. Surprisingly this didn't get old at all.
As expected, Michael filled a lot of time between songs with corny jokes, flattery, and platitudes. Things like "I'm not saying this to kiss your ass but truly, look it up, this is my favorite place in America," and "Whoever said there is no 'i' in team, was a good speller." These things sound cheesy in text, but when Michael Bublé charmingly phrased it, you couldn't help but smile. Even the crabbiest looking couple was laughing.