Groban Shows Talent, Grace, Versatility
July 28, 2004
By Larry Kessler
Mansfield--Unique,versatile,passionate,gracious and humble all can be used to describe 23-year-old singing sensation Josh Groban, and all of those qualities, and more, were on display before a full house at the Tweeter Center Tuesday night.
Groban, backed up by a superbly talented group, delivering a mixture of what his fans have come to expect, and then some. In between, he mixed in some humor, especially when several female fans insisted on declaring their undying love for him.
" I love you more" was his answer--several times.
Groban was worthy of the admiration of the fans, who ranged in age from teenagers to middle-aged and older couples. His ability to draw fans of all ages is a testimony to his versatility and powerful voice, which at once soothes, uplifts and seduces.
Those qualities were immediately on display, as he began his 17-song set with two songs in Italian,"Oceano" and "Per Te", Entering from atop bleachers on stage and dressed in casual clothes, Groban showed the depth of his voice in both songs.
Then he switched gears,singing the poignant "To Where You Are", a ballad dedicated to the victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks that he first sang on the "Ally McBeal" show when he guest starred. The end of the song brought the crowd to it's feet for the first of seversl standing ovations.
Two more Italian ballads, "Mi Mancherai" and "Mi Morena", were followed by a fiery Spanish song, "Alejate",which featured the flamenco guitar. His passion was on display in that rendition, just as it was in his next song, "Canto Alla Vita", also from his first album. He showed how much fun he was having as he ended the song by playing the drums.
Groban's graciousness was on display when he yielded the stage to Lucia Micarelli, a phenomenal violinist who is touring with him. Her solo brought the crowd to it's feet in admiration, and clearly was one of the show's highlights.
But Groban was just warming up. After changing his casual dark jeans to white slacks and his gray shirt to black, he reappeared for a moving "Alla Luce Del Sole", followed by a haunting "My December", which finished with a flourish from the strings reminiscent of a Vivaldi piece.
He again switched gears,performing "Caruso", a classic Italian song from his second album one that he said he had always wanted to record, and finally did because "I couldn't get it out of my head". His performance no doubt put the song into the heads of many in the audience, but amazingly the best was still to come.
His versatility was on display as he sang "Remember When It Rained" while playing the piano, and then sat on a stool at the front of the stage for his rendition of the unforgettable Don McLean ballad, "Vincent" (starry, starry night). That was followed by the grandiose "Remember" from the movie "Troy".
For his finale, Groban delivered one of his signature songs in impeccable style, "You Raise Me Up", which he sang at the Super Bowl and at Oprah Winfrey's 50th birthday party. He was backed up by the chorus from Scituate High School.
Groban thanked the crowd, but even though he momentarily left the stage, he wasn't done, returning alone on piano for Paul Simon's classic "America" and then for his second encore, "Never Let Go", to bring the memorable night to a close.
Mindi Abair played a 30- minute opening set, backed up by a four piece band. Abair featured mostly instrumental compositions on the saxaphone and horn, and proved herself more than capable handling both instruments.