Pleasantly surprised to have a few laughs at a concert. And I’m not talking about laughing at a pathetic performance or being amused by some foolish fans but rather a comedic talent at a professional level. On more than one occasion, the sold out crowd erupted with laughter, and not just giggles, people really were laughing. Very entertaining show…
Interestingly, there were moments, usually within a few minutes of each other, when he’d bring the crowd to the opposite end of the spectrum, with a heartfelt edition of a classic, many on the edge of tears. I found the polarity of this striking.
There was also a mixture of age groups, yes most were over 50 and some needed assistance on all those stairs, but also in attendance, were plenty of 20 somethings, great to see different generations of folks coming together enjoying a concert.
And yes there was singing, and singing done well. most of the time anyway. I admired the fact, that at the beginning of the show he explained his concert premise. The actual songs performed may not perfectly match a CD, you could just listen at home for that, but it’ll but something more, he was there to spend time with the crowd, using the analogy of going on a first date.
Looking to share more of an experience not just a concert, he promised everyone would have fun, fortunately he delivered. Dressed to the nines, and singing exceedingly well on many of the tracks, which were mostly all covers, only 2 or 3 out of 26 or so were original songs.
The lengthy set-list was admirable to see, most artists these days, don’t go over 20 songs. Maybe a little shaky on a Journey track, “Don’t stop Believin’,” but no lack lustre when he busted out with Fever at the start of the show, after his entrance sliding down a ramp.
He even joked later, asking the crowd if they enjoyed the expensive fire effect in the opening, he said you paid good money to see the show, and we’ll give you special stuff like that, but that’s about it; there goes the budget, just blew our load right there. Many of the jokes had sexual connotations, which made some of the fans uncomfortable, including myself, and some who missed it, the comments went right over their heads.
Interesting song choices, yes; you’d expect Frank Sinatra, but not the Bee Gee’s “How can I Mend a Brocken Heart,” then into “Everybody”, by the Backstreet Boys, a pop song. Duping the crowd into believing it was his grand-parents wedding song, again the crowd burst into laughter when the song began, which could even be heard over the band.
And there was plenty of instruments on stage, a small orchestra which sounded fan-tas-tic. They also included other special effects, confetti cannons during “All you need is Love” by the Beatles and an elevated portion of the stage which lifted him, maybe close to 30 feet in the air towards the end of the show.
Which by the way he ended the last few lines without the use of a microphone. I’ve seen this technique before from Pat Monahan of Train. You have to have a huge voice to even attempt it, especially in an over 12,000 seat arena! It’s a bit nuts if you think about it, but he pulled it off for the most part. One half of the crowd, literally said “schhh” to the other half; who were letting out excited cheers, but overwhelming his voice, which when the crowd was quiet, you could still hear from afar
All this combined made it a show worth watching, an outstanding cast of backing musicians, the stage production, a well thought out video presentation with various large LCD panels expertly located, candid comedic conversation.
Going in, a little skeptical, but found a outstanding live performer, something that cannot be captured on a recorded version of any song, whether on 8-track tape or the latest high quality digital file. At a relatively early age, he’s acquired the admiration of many, he’s a special character, keep an eye on this man.
Big thanks going out to the gang at Wilbros Live, another successful event…