As Groban Crooned, Women Swooned at Arena Concert
World Herald
August 18, 2004
By Niz Proskocil
They're not groupies. They're "Grobanites."

And they came to the Qwest Center Omaha in droves Tuesday night and went ga-ga over the object of their affection, 23-year-old classical-pop sensation Josh Groban.

With his curly locks, smooth baritone and love songs sung in Italian, English and Spanish, the clean-cut, baby-faced Groban incited a fair share of swooning from an estimated 10,500 rabid fans.

In a dramatic entrance, the crush-worthy Groban appeared atop a backlit staircase in the center of the stage and belted out "Oceano" in fluent Italian. Fans were entranced from the get-go, and their enthusiasm never waned.

For nearly two hours, Groban - first clad in a purple button-down shirt and black trousers, then later in jeans and black shirt - worked his charm on his admirers, who ranged from 6-year-olds to senior citizens.

After singing "Per Te," a grinning Groban addressed the crowd in the first of several chats: "How's everybody doing tonight?" Women in the audience shrieked back, "I love you, Josh!"

With his operatic, classically trained pipes, Groban performed songs from his 2001 self-titled debut, his latest album "Closer" and gorgeous covers of Don McLean's "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)" and Simon & Garfunkel's "America."

"He's got a voice like an angel," said Omahan Susan Lawler, who attended the show with her husband, Ed, and their teenage son and daughter.

Groban was backed by two bands. There was a 15-member string section composed of local musicians, and Groban's touring band, which included a pianist, two percussionists, a guitarist and bass player.

His impeccable violinist and concert master, Lucia Micarelli, performed barefoot and wore a stunning green gown. She dazzled the crowd with a fiery rendition of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Groban's set also included such songs as "Mi Mancherai," "To Where You Are," "Caruso," "Remember When It Rained," "Alejate" and "My December."

During the smash "You Raise Me Up," 16 members of the Omaha South High choir accompanied Groban.

At one point, Kansas residents Elizabeth Johnson and her son Zachary, 6, ran up to the stage and gave Groban two white carnations and a Pixie stick. This was Johnson's fifth Groban concert this year and the best of them all, she said afterward.

"He gives 110 percent," Johnson said. "He's just phenomenal."