Josh Groban 'Closer' Tour Hits a High Note at Delta Center
Provo Daily Herald
February 8, 2004
By Jill Fellow
I'm sorry, Clay Aiken, but I'm breaking up with you for Josh Groban, the new sexy voice on the block.

Groban performed a sold-out show of his "Josh Groban: The Closer Tour" Thursday at the Delta Center. The night was complete with a small string orchestra, star violinist, several laser light shows, a local high school choir and Groban's strong tenor voice and sexy curls.

Unlike the horn player on stage who slept in his hand when he wasn't playing, the Delta Center audience appeared to love this show.

The first few rows of audience first spotted Groban as his shadow was subtly hoisted above the stage. Then, Groban officially started the night by hitting his very first note at the same moment a spotlight hit his upper body, which appeared to be floating behind a thin curtain. The audience continued to go crazy as a laser light show lit up the rest of the curtain while leaving Groban's levitation a mystery.

When the curtain finally opened to reveal Groban's famous curls (looking extra wild) and classic black outfit, most audience members welcomed him with regular excitement, while some of the more passionate, older women yelled, "Here's my room key!"

Also welcoming Groban were Sheri Dew, the CEO of Deseret Book, Larry H. Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz, and a BYU student with a "Deseret Book loves you" sign.

Groban sang two sets of seven songs including "Oceano," "My Confession," "Per Te," "Broken Vow" (which he announced was the saddest song he has ever heard) and "Caruso" (which he said he sang as a child without understanding the Italian words).

Groban sang almost every song exactly as recorded on his albums, and he received the loudest crowd reactions from his two most famous tunes: "You Raise Me Up," which he sang on Super Bowl Sunday, and "To Where You Are," which he performed on the since-canceled Fox TV show Ally McBeal.

But Groban also received serious audience support when the crew rolled out the baby grand piano and he wowed the crowd with his piano skills on "Remembered When it Rained," a song Groban co-wrote in France.

Groban also performed a few new numbers like "My December," which had a faster-paced pop sound. It made the water in his crystal glass dance and the audience squirm.

But the biggest shock of the concert was not Groban's pop crossover or his rich, lush singing voice. It was his talking voice. After hearing the master enunciate perfect Spanish, Italian and French, it was a little jarring to hear the 23-year-old announce his next song in regular, suburban youth English.

Although he kept his song introductions short, he did elaborate on his canceled shows in San Diego and Phoenix earlier in the week.

"I just got back from the Super Bowl," Groban announced to the crowd. "Wow, that was a circus. I caught a little something on the plane, but I'm feeling better now. No, I am all better now."

He told the audience not to get nervous if he blew his nose or drank a lot of water. Had he not made the announcement, it's unlikely the audience would have noticed a problem; he hit every note of the night perfectly.

Even though he was singing to only half of the Delta Center's normal capacity, with half of the seats closed off to preserve sound quality, Groban looked around at the audience and announced that the night's performance was his first show in a big arena.

"There are just so many of you," Groban said. "I feel like I should jump around and stuff."

Groban also won over the crowd with his sympathy for the not-so-great seats in the audience. He said hello to the patrons in the Delta Center's upper side corners and said, "Lord only knows why those tickets went into circulation."

But even in the cheap seats, the "Closer Tour" hit a high note.