Groban Romances Memorial Auditorium Crowd
Sacramento Bee
January 28, 2004
By Rasmi Simhan
Josh Groban's initial shy, unassuming manner gave way to an earnest performance of mostly romantic songs Tuesday night at Memorial Auditorium. Refreshingly still while he sang, he allowed his pleasant baritone to convey emotion without resorting to theatricality. String players and pop musicians provided soft-rock support.

More than a singer, the 22-year-old Groban is a phenomenon. His second album, "Closer," topped the Billboard charts this month. Poised to perform at the Super Bowl on Sunday, the Los Angeles native has sung at the Olympics and the Grammy Awards and on TV's "Ally McBeal" show. Tuesday's concert was an early stop on his first major tour.

The concert opened with "Oceano," complete with watery lights and shadows flowing across a screen. During the song's climax, Groban stood beneath the crest of a wave singing beautifully in Italian with slightly Americanized vowels.

Arguably, the evening's highlight was "Vincent," a Don McLean song about painter Vincent van Gogh. The simple trio of piano, violin and guitar suited the intimacy of Groban's singing better than the over-busy instrumentation and projected images of the rest of the concert.