Groban Romances Audience
San Antonio Express-News
March 16, 2005
By Hector Saldana
This is a nice-guys-finish-first story.

Pop sensation Josh Groban seduced a willing audience of more than 12,000 fans at the SBC Center on Tuesday with a powerful voice and powerfully nice personality.

It was his first San Antonio concert and it was an overwhelming success, confirmed by the big smiles on the faces of Clear Channel Entertainment promoters there.

Groban seemed genuinely awed as a steady stream of fans delivered little presents to the stage: He played with angel bears, donned a cowboy hat and slapped some high fives, too.

A large string section with harp and piano-led rock band are the bedrock of Groban's music, which at times conjures "Godfather" soundtrack majesty, as well as Barry Manilow and Elton John pop sensibility.

"Un Amore Per Sempre," "Alejate," "Canto Alla Vita" and "Mi Mancherai" satisfied those requiring a cultural experience. His Sept. 11, 2001, tribute, "To Where You Are," touched souls.

He's no Pavarotti. This isn't even New Age, as Sarah Brightman fans will attest. So what accounts for Groban's magic?

"I can't believe the voice that comes out of him," Ellen Copeland said.

"I think there are several things going on," said Edward Kern, 59, a Lutheran minister who has seen the Rolling Stones in concert several times and who saw the Beatles at Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston in 1965. "The ladies would say that he's incredibly sexy."

Pamela Porch, 42, got into Groban after she saw him on a couple of episodes of "Ally McBeal."

"He has the most perfect voice and I've been a fan ever since," said Porch, who is a member of Groban's fan club. "He seems like a kind, humble person. Very genuine."

Some played hooky to see him.

"I have classes and I'm missing them so I can see him," said Karla Ayala, 18, a Tampico, Mexico, high school student who came just for the concert.

Bea Johnson, a first-grader at Cambridge Elementary, planned on being in class today, but is a big fan, too. The 6-year-old nodded her approval as she sipped a large soft drink through a straw.

A highlight was the Holmes High School choir that joined Groban late in the show for "You Raise Me Up."