Josh Groban’s ode to musicals blows away London’s Eventim Apollo

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Groban as the orchestra was revealed

What a voice. Josh Groban, on a rare visit to England, sang his heart out in Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo in December – bringing the songs from his latest album, Stages, to life.

The evening was primarily a run-down of the greatest, slow-paced, heartfelt songs from musicals- not just those that would be classed as ballads, but those with a feeling of melancholy nonetheless.

Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryTry To Remember from The Fantasticks, What I Did For Love from A Chorus Line. What a trio to open the show- Groban was initially accompanied only by piano before a curtain revealed a vast orchestra, which went on to play so richly yet sensitively it undoubtedly deserved a standing ovation of its own.

Other mid-set highlights included some Stephen Sondheim delights- a medley of Children Will Listen and Not While I’m Around from Sweeney Todd and then Move On from Sunday In The Park With George. Groban had chosen to pay tribute to musicals of vastly different styles, and yet owned them all.

And of course his trademark wisecracking between songs lightened the mood and endeared him further toward the audience, proving he is an entertainer through and through.

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Josh Groban and Louise Dearman

Two guest appearances also made this particular concert special: world-renowned trumpeter Alison Balsom made an appearance, while Louise Dearman got an huge audience reaction for her outstanding solo performance of Wicked’s Defying Gravity, as well as her beautiful duet with Groban on All I Ask Of You from The Phantom of the Opera.

All this led to a breathtaking finale, from the intimate Bring Him Home (Les Miserables) to, aided by a fantastic choir, You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel) and Over The Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz). The power and emotion in Groban’s voice never yielded and made each note until the very last something very special.

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