I can’t emphasise this enough: Michael Bublé’s new world tour show is one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. It didn’t really hit me when I was there, but now I wish I could relive it several more times because once really wasn’t enough. I saw it on the 1st of July as part of his 10 night residency at London’s O2 arena, so it was just the second of many great shows to come, and everyone in London relished it as these are his first non-TV performances in the UK since 2010.
Before we even got to the brilliant Michael Bublé, Naturally 7 excelled themselves as a support act. Announcing right at the beginning that every song we were to hear was created solely with the human voice, they are a group of seven soulful men who sing in tight harmony as well as providing backing in simulated drum kit, bass guitar and trumpet sounds, to name just the most prevalent. Their best song was easily their unique version of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ which was one of the most beautiful a cappella twists on a song I’ve ever heard. For sheer innovation and entertainment value, I also have to mention their fantastic “duet” with a (projection of) 13 year-old Stevie Wonder, with whom they joined singing ‘Fingertips’.
Michael Bublé himself pulled off a very dramatic entrance: after a boisterous introduction from the band, featuring themes from Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue, there were even pyrotechnics before suddenly pausing. The curtains then parted slightly in the middle, showing just Mr Bublé singing ‘Fever’; I can barely think of a more declamatory and bombastic way to start a show. As soon as Michael did a smooth slide down from the ramp he was standing on, everyone just went mental.
‘Fever’ was followed by possibly Michael’s biggest pop song, ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’, and this mixture of pop, jazz and swing as well as old and new, slow and fast was present throughout; the next songs were his unique version of ‘Try A Little Tenderness’, jazz standard ‘Moondance’, ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’ and ‘Come Dance With Me’, which are all classics but all with a Bublé twist. The next section featured some big singalong songs in ‘Feeling Good’ and ‘Everything’ (during which someone proposed in the audience!), plus ‘I’ve Got The World On A String’ which was full of energy and fun but features probably my only complaint in that the band singing sections weren’t picked up on the microphones quite well enough. Michael’s vocals were spot on, only occasionally wavering when he was moving around a lot during high sections, but he can be forgiven that!
At this point, there was also a showcase for the hugely talented band aka. Team Bublé who played a composition by the band’s baritone saxophonist whilst Michael introduced solos and their stats come up NBA style onto the big screen; every single player was truly first class and it was great to see the backbone behind Michael’s singing. Shortly after this they slowed it down a bit, swapping the brass section out for some strings and focusing on four romantic and sentimental songs- ‘That’s All’, ‘Close Your Eyes’, ‘How Can You Mend A Broken Heart’ and ‘Home’; the last was particularly heart-wrenching with its accompanying video footage of couples on a sofa. Although I’m usually more a fan of faster songs, this set was so beautiful and tenderly done and the vocals were flawlessly emotional, and if anyone in the vast room wasn’t already totally in love with Michael then this was the turning point.
Michael also spent a stint on the B stage in the middle of the floor, where he walked during an infectious cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’- obviously he had to have an entourage to escort him down the aisle to it as everyone nearby went crazy! Naturally 7 then joined him for three Motown-flavoured songs- ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’, ‘I Want You Back’ (video below) and ‘To Love Somebody’; the Jackson 5 cover was especially innovative, using Naturally 7’s vocal harmonies instead of the band and Michael’s own flavour of vocals over the top.
This is when the big production starting kicking back in (other than the moving floor panels and band podiums throughout): during ‘All I Need Is Love’ (when he made the journey back to the main stage) there were confetti explosions of red and white hearts which looked spectacular. ‘It’s A Beautiful Day’ led into the “end” excellently as his newest, poppiest, popular song, but it was the start of the encore that was the high point of the whole show: ‘Cry Me A River”s big intro was played and then Michael Bublé walked along the side of the stage in a new, sparklier tux and just went for it. By the end he was strapped into a harness and rose on a floor panel for a final hurrah. The other big talking point after the concert seemed to be the very final verse of the final song, ‘Song For You’, for which Michael didn’t use his microphone and instead sung into the hushed audience. The atmosphere was amazing and the raw power he put behind it was breathtaking. Until that point I’d thought it an odd choice to end the show, but all became clear when he pulled out that move!
As well as all this amazing music and show production, Mr Bublé’s charming self came through between most songs. After just two songs he requested the lights be brought up so he could “see his people” and he subsequently invited a couple married for 30 years to the stage for a hug and an autograph- many were jealous for the rest of the show. He also made at least one “that’s what she said” joke, jested “I hope it’s mine” about his pregnant wife and talked about being humble and helping up-and-comers in the music business.
It’s no wonder these concerts sold out so ridiculously quickly; if however, any tickets do become available I would urge you to see him if at all possible! Don’t worry about the view- I was right at the top and could see everything happily. If you’ve already seen him, I would love to reminisce with you. Here’s my video of ‘Cry Me A River’ to finish:
Timings were as follows (there is a possibility these will be different on different days):
Doors open 1830
Naturally 7 1930-2005
Michael Bublé 2030-2220