Groban Wins Hearts With Songs of Love
Cleveland Plain Dealer
February 16, 2005
By John Benson
A Josh Groban concert on Valentine's Day is like a local in-store appearance by Pamela Anderson on Super Bowl Sunday. Only the males attending such an event wouldn't be dragging their better halves along.

The same can't be said for Groban's sold-out Monday night concert at Gund Arena, where Grobanites packed the house with their well-behaved, duty-fulfilling spouses in tow. Covering more than 15 songs in just a little more than 90 minutes, the 23-year-old adult contemporary singer received the biggest applause for his hit singles - "You Raise Me Up," "Remember When it Rained" and "To Where You Are" - but he shined the brightest on his dreamy romantic tracks performed in Spanish and Italian.

With a smooth timbre resonating around the arena, Groban's forlorn heartache was palatable during "Mi Mancherai," from his 2003 disc "Closer," as talented violinist Lucia Micarelli tormented the singer with her notes from afar.

Likewise, the international flavor of "Canto Alla Vita" showcased Groban's diverse musical talents. He opened the song by playing trippy keyboard effects and finished it with a wild, rock star-esque drum solo.

Noticeably confident when singing, the Los Angeles native is still honing the entertaining gracefulness that comes with megastar territory. Or perhaps the drama exhibited as he performs his European classical pop material is part of his boyish charm. His puppy-dog-eyed good looks don't hurt, either.

Obviously still a kid in many ways, the world-renowned pop star hasn't let go of his youthfulness, referencing punk band the Offspring ("You gotta keep 'em separated") after overzealous fans, voicing their affections, continually interrupted his between-song banter.

Then there was the out-of-left-field cover of Linkin Park's "My December." Backed on this evening by 15 members of the Cleveland Orchestra, as well as his normal five-piece band, Groban turned the nu-metal anthem into a magnificent orchestral rendition, thus displaying an undeniable star quality.

While playing up the fact that his female fans had obviously brought their husbands, an honest young lady yelled back "It doesn't matter" and thus summed up Groban's appeal: He can really sing (an oddball anomaly in our Ashlee Simpson world), and women love him.

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