Josh Groban Will 'Remember When It Rained'
The Saratogian
July 30, 2004
By Connie Jenkins
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Josh Groban gave a concert in the rain for his first time Wednesday night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, but for his fans, it was an early visit to heaven.

The 23-year-year-old musician performed for a sold-out crowd ranging from 20-somethings on dates to a handful of post-middler-agers. The audience buzzed with the anticipation of people who were expecting something special, and they were not disappointed.

Groban made a dramatic entrance at 8:45, emerging atop steps from backstage. The lighting created a double image of him, which merged into one, as he stepped into the spotlight, acknowledging the crowd with a quick wave. He sang full force in urgent Italian, mesmerizing everyone within seconds.

Groban brings an easy stage presence, dressed in casual clothes and chatting to the audience. He hit the right notes for Saratoga, asking, 'Who won at the races?' and shaking hands with eager fans pressed at the edge of the stage.

'That was fun,' he repeated several times during the show. He also thanked the lawn crowd for hanging in despite a drenching downpour.

Groban's boyish good looks and tousled curls belie the masterful command of his craft -- his voice alternately gentle and powerful whether in English or melodic Italian and Spanish. One song from his second CD, 'Caruso,' featured the lyrics flashed on screen, which was a nice touch. You can only wonder how many people have signed up for Italian lessons to be able to sing along with Groban.

His many talents shone as he pounded out a rock-beat drum bit, took a turn at the keyboards and sang a sad love song that he wrote: 'Remember When it Rained.'

He performed non-stop to an appreciative gathering of Grobanites, who whistled, cheered, and waved light sticks. He closed, or tried to close, with his hit 'You Raise Me Up,' which featured the Hudson Falls High School Chorus singing backup. That's got to be a night the students will always remember. Hats off to them, and to Groban for including them.

The crowd just did not want the show to end, and Groban came back on stage after a full standing ovation. His concert featured a talented violin soloist with an orchestra of violins, cellos and a harp as well as his band with a pianist, two percussionists and a guitarist. He sat alone on stage for an encore, though, playing the piano and singing one of his favorite songs, Simon and Garfunkle's 'America.' It was pure Groban -- no enhancements needed.

The band came back for one last song, and the concert ended near 10:30.

'I'm so glad to be here; it's a beautiful venue,' Groban said early in the night.

Come back anytime, Josh.

Jazz artist Mindi Abair opened the evening with a powerful, jazzy sax rendition. She performed for 30 minutes, offering high-energy instrumentals and singing a couple songs from her new record, 'Come As You Are,' which is due out in September.

At first, Abair seemed an unlikely opener for Groban, but her strong, sultry music was truly a treat.