Groban Crosses Musical Genres in Show
April 18, 2004
By Curtis Ross
With a 15-piece string section to his right and a five-man rock band to his left, Josh Groban thrilled a sold-out Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center crowd that didn't care about musical allegiances.
Groban's classically trained baritone was what drew 2,533 fans to Carol Morsani Hall on Saturday night. The fact that his music isn't easily pigeonholed mattered not a whit, as each song was met with plentiful applause and shouts of adoration.
"Oceano" opened the show, its classically tinged melody jutting alongside a pounding backbeat, setting the tone for the evening.
"Its hard to sing sad songs with all this love," the 22-year old singer joked at one point. But sing them he did, his voice showing now wear, despite his having been on tour since January.
The second portion of his set, which followed an intermission, featured a string of heartbreakers, among them a beautiful reading of the Italian ballad, "Caruso", Don McLean's, "Vincent" and a song he co-wrote, "Remember When It Rained" on which he played piano.
Groban may have grown up on show tunes and arias, but he's in touch with rock as well; the second portion of the concert opened with a string-laden cover version of Linkin Park's "My December".
Concertmaster-violinist Lucia Micarelli displayed as much start power as Groban. She shared the spotlight with Groban on "Mi Mancherai," deftly handling the part played on the studio version by Joshua Bell.
Micarelli's solo spot also was well received, particularly when she included a portion of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Much applause was saved for the anthem-like "You Raise Me Up" which some churchgoers may note bears a striking resemblance to "How Great Thou Art."