Josh Groban at the O2, Dublin on Sunday 23rd of June 2013
Josh Groban; former guest presenter of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Ally McBeal actor, contemporary singer songwriter and all round nice guy made a welcome return to the Emerald Isle this week to bring to a close the European leg of his ‘All That Echoes’ tour. Popular with ladies, particularly those of a certain vintage, what does The Grobanator’s show have to offer the non-fan?
Emerging onto stage to rapturous squeals of delight from the assembled Grobanites, he hit straight into latest single Brave. Joined by an orchestra section, duo percussionists, grand piano, guitar and bass, many singers would simply have just been over shadowed. Not Groban.
His incredibly powerful voice resonates around the arena. Several songs into the set it becomes apparent that this is not your typical O2 show; there is no screaming along with every lyric, quite the opposite. The silence amongst the crowd was one of awe, broken only by deafening applause between tracks.
Moments of conversation with his audience are where Groban really shines; he is humorous and, importantly, knows how to mock himself. He knows who his fans are and he knows he isn’t “cool” but he is fine with that. Drawing attention to a particularly hard-core group of Grobanites, who have been following the tour for several dates complete with neon hearts, Groban jokes, “It’s like rave night at the bingo parlour.” The fans are always at the heart of the show, with a fan question and answer segment and Groban at one point running to the back of the arena to find volunteers to come sit in the front row.
During a brief stage break for Groban, the Groband, led by violin perform an instrumental version of Aerosmith’s Dream On: an unexpected highlight. With Groban returning and taking to some drumming duties, for the first time of the night fans rise to their feet to dance, (apparently the Irish have the rhythm of a metronome).
After a brief chat about his love for the film “Once” it was time for Falling Slowly. Sorry Glen, but Groban’s version is better than the original. With electric guitars adding more energy, combined with passionate vocals, there is a sense of immediacy and desperate desire that is missing from the Hansard version.
Closing the first part of the show with Stevie Wonder’s I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever), a Dublin choir accompany him for what is a breath-taking and moving four minutes. A truly incredible vocal range displayed, it is so easy to see how Groban has amassed so many fans. A fitting end for the night, closing with a song the Irish crowd know well, You Raise Me Up literally did just that with the entire crowd giving a standing ovation.
If not already a fan of his music an evening in the company of the Groban is unlikely to change your mind, but there is no denying the man has one incredible voice. While you may not want to rush out and buy his entire back collection you will definitely want to buy the man a drink, it is impossible to dislike him. Consequently, it is just simply impossible to not have a good time at his show; the man should definitely look into a career in stand up if the whole music thing doesn’t work out. An entertaining, polished performance by someone who clearly loves what he is doing, you can’t ask for much more than that really.