Musical Fireworks Lit Up Groban Concert At Mohegan Sun
The Day
February 10, 2005
By Kathleen Edgecomb
There was so much musical talent at the Mohegan Sun Arena Tuesday night, it was a shame the stage was crowded with unnecessary special effects.

Rising from the mist of a fog machine, silhouetted against a backdrop of changing jewel-tone colors and standing before a couple of blurry videos, Josh Groban put on an excellent concert that included a mix of pop and classical songs in Spanish, Italian and English.

The 23-year-old singer with a rich baritone that at times reached into the tenor range charmed the sold-out crowd with his renditions of pop songs like “My December” and “You Raise Me Up.'' He also awed the polite but appreciative fans with classical numbers like “Alla Luce Del Sole,” a song that is so touching, just hearing it can break your heart.

His voice was clean and crisp throughout the nearly two-hour concert, which included a tender version of Don McLean's “Vincent,” in which Groban accompanied himself on the piano. The song “Troy” from the movie by the same name brought out the light sticks, which Groban dubbed the “soft-rock version of the lighter.''

Lucia Micarelli, the 20-year-old New York-born and Hawaiian-raised violinist, played her instrument with passion and precision, including a violin-voice duet with Groban. Her classical solo piece, with a bit of Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody'' tossed in, made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and earned her a standing ovation.

So why would this obviously accomplished musician, who has a newly released solo album, “Music From a Farther Room,” resort to imitating Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame: same scalloped hemmed dress, same wind machine to make it flow, and same willowy walks across the stage?

Groban fans, who call themselves Grobanites, showered the singer with gifts throughout the concert. Pausing between songs, Groban graciously accepted such things as a USS Providence cap and a note from a Miss Teen USA contestant who asked that he root for her. He also took time to sign autographs.

“Sure, I'll sign this, there's no one here,'' he chided a fan. “Now, I have to do another song.''

But the young singer appeared sincere and likeable on stage and seemed to be having fun.

He was brilliantly backed by a string section, led by Micarelli, and his band, which he spent several minutes introducing: Zach Provost on keyboard, Tarigh Akoni on guitar, Eric Holden on bass, Tim Curle on percussion, and Craig Macintyre on drums.

Setting up the last song of the night, “You Raise Me Up,” Groban's admission of liking sad songs was interrupted by a fan who asked him to sing a different tune.

“Hold your horses,'' he said, smiling out into the crowd. “Sir, this is what we call the fake ending.''

True to his word, Groban returned for two encores — seated at the piano, playing and singing Paul Simon's “America,” and performing “Never Let Go,'' a piece he co-wrote with Eric Mouquet.