News Column

Michael Buble delivers top-notch performance at Consol Energy Center

September 21, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 21--Michael Buble was in fine form Friday night, delivering a top-notch show for more than 11,000 fans at the Consol Energy Center.

Naturally Seven opened the show with a 30-minute set of soul and pop. The a capella group is on their third tour with Buble and they just keep getting better. Over the years they have honed their skills wowing the audience with deft vocal mimicry and singing skills on songs like "Summer Breeze."

Michael Buble set list

Consol Energy Center

1. Fever

2. Haven't Met You Yet

3. Try a Little Tenderness

4. You Make Me Feel So Young

5. Moondance

6. Come Dance with Me

7. Feeling Good

8. I've Got the World on a String

9. Everything

10. That's All

11. Close Your Eyes

12. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?

13. Home

14. Get Lucky

15. Who's Loving You

16. I Want You Back

17. To Love Somebody

18. All You Need is Love

19. Burning Love

20. It's a Beautiful Day

Encore:

21. Cry Me a River

22. Save the Last Dance for Me

23. You've Got a Friend in Me (with audience member)

24. A Song for You

Buble began his two-and-a-half-hour set with "Fever," a fan favorite he delivers with low swagger and high energy. He immediately connected with his fans, talking about his newborn son Noah (Aug. 27) and happily accepting a gift from an audience member, a baby T-shirt with a Penguins logo that got the sports-crazy audience cheering.

The show was fast-paced and high-energy that included classics "Haven't Met You Yet," "I've Got the World on a String," "Come Dance with Me" and "Moondance." Originals were not left off the bill as everyone sang along with "Everything" and "Home." A new single, "Close Your Eyes," turned out to be the only musical weak link of the night due to a rare blip in the otherwise crystal-clear sound that drew the electric guitar front and center, drowning out the string section and the singer's vocals in one fell swoop.

Buble quickly recovered from that introducing "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" with the tale of how the Bee Gees agreed to do their smash hit as a duet when he was a relative unknown at age 26, being shopped around by none other than legendary producer David Foster.

Playing a show at Consol was a thrill for the Buble, a die-hard hockey fan who joked that he spoke to fellow Canadian Sidney Crosby before the show and sent his regards. Later on, Buble introduced his all-star brass section as "Team Buble," in pre-game ESPN style-complete with high-definition video headshots and resumes. All joking aside, the 10-piece section was jam-packed with grads from Julliard, Berklee and The Manhattan School of Music, to name a few. Each introduction brought a show-stopping solo that left the audience wowed.

Buble is loved by his fans, interacting with them throughout the show. Dozens brought signs with declarations -- full of glitter, lights and bright swaths of color. The many rewarded for their dedication included Selena, who was serenaded for her 18th birthday; a couple celebrating their 61st anniversary who sang with Buble; and during the encore, a school-aged girl who wore a T-shirt with a photo of her and Buble from a previous show. She got the honor of sitting onstage and singing a duet of Randy Newman's "You've Got a Friend in Me," from "Toy Story." Charming.

He connected with the back of the house (performing from a satellite stage that is all the rage for performers these days), churning out a Motown set while joined by the opening act. They crafted a fun version of the Jacksons' "I Want You Back" that you could easily imagine being sung soulfully on a street corner back in the day.

Buble concluded the show with a three-song encore, finishing with the great Leon Russell's "A Song For You." Toward the end, he took off his ear buds and quieted the band, singing to the end with no amplification and showing the sweet simplicity of song as he sang to the rafters. A signature move that never gets old.

At this time in history when Autotune and ProTools pollutes popular music like a plague, it is easy to forget how powerful the human voice is. It is nice that Michael Buble and Naturally Seven entertainingly remind us all.

Rosa Colucci: 412-263-1661 or rcolucci@post-gazette.com.

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