Groban's Confident Voice Rules Rocks
August 20, 2004
By Ricardo Baca, Pop Music Critic
If John Tesh were young, attractive and almost cool, he'd be Josh Groban.
Groban's music belongs on PBS specials, at the start of Super Bowls, inside Cirque du Soleil tents, at Olympic opening ceremonies and between Ship Rock and Creation Rock at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, where it was presented Thursday night.
Groban's classically sung arena rock is more sweeping than the Platte after a rainstorm, more dramatic than a highschool production of "Brigadoon," more exotic than Sting rocking the world music front.
It's that intense.
Ultimately, Thursday night was all about the voice and the venue. Groban's classical voice has a confident vibrato that rarely gets obnoxious. He's strong and has the stage presence of a rock star, and women react accordingly. "I love you, Josh," was the crowd's collective mantra, which was shouted more than it was whispered. "I love you, too, " Groban replied once. "The love right now, it's gonna make me gag there's so much of it going around."
Red Rocks played a strong supporting role. Groban was flanked by a 16-person orchestra on stage right and a five-person band on stage left.
Some of the music was kosher, including "To Where You Are" and his cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America." But most of his music is of the Andrea Bocelli pseudo-classical music/arena-rock variety.
Looking for his recent live album last week in Virgin Megastore, I couldn't find it in the vocal section. Then it hit me. Groban was discovered and propelled to sucess by David
Foster, producer, executive and songwriter extraordinaire. One glance at the pop section, and it was impossible to miss Groban's hair, his sports coat, his eyes-closed earnestness.