Groban Gives Fans Swoon-Worthy Show in A.C.
The Press of Atlantic City
July 22, 2007
By Regina Schaffer
Moms have to love Josh Groban. It’s against the mom-rules not to.
A quick rundown as to why — you’ve got the powerhouse, pitch-perfect voice that has redefined classical pop music, matched with a man with boyish good looks and a mop of black curls on his head that could give John Mayer a run for his money.
Oh, and he’s charming. Really charming.
Oh, and he sings in Spanish. And Italian.
On Saturday, the moms — and the grandmoms and the daughters — came in droves to Boardwalk Hall to hear him sing. Groban, 26, is touring to promote his latest album, “Awake.”
“Move over Trump, Groban’s in town,” one giant banner in the front row read.
Groban approved and even jokingly brushed his hair into a mock Trump-like combover.
Another fan approached the stage to give him a shirt that said “I (heart) NJ.”
“And I really do!” Groban said, holding the shirt up for the cheering crowd. It appeared he was telling the truth. Throughout the night, he interacted with fans, accepting gifts, walking into the crowd and even asking a few of them their names.
Of course, moms weren’t the only ones in the sold-out Boardwalk Hall arena. Groban’s fans, while definitely skewed to the middle-aged side and predominantly female, still represented a cross-section of generations.
“There are a few guys here, I think,” Groban said. See? Even he knows.
Groban’s show opened simply — with his voice coming from behind a giant orange curtain. Without seeing him there, one would almost think it was his CD was playing — his voice is that good live.
Wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and a black blazer, Groban emerged to feverish cheers, singing his hit single “You are Loved (Don’t Give Up)“. Watching Groban run, not walk, from end to end and still hitting long, high notes was pretty impressive.
Groban took a few opportunities to step back and let his orchestra take center stage, which brought a few beautiful solos on the violin and cello. In fact, the Boardwalk Hall stage was designed so he could literally stand in the middle of his orchestra.
Most of Groban’s catalog is full of those inspirational and uplifting songs (a few may consider them cheesy, others may consider some tearjerkers).
So it was nice to see Groban take breaks for humor.
“This place really is amazing,” Groban said. “It’s like an airport hangar — so intimate.”
“I think it’s haunted.”
“The toilet in my dressing room?” Groban said. “It flushed by itself.”
Who knew there was a funny guy behind such serious tunes?
He touched on all of his fan favorites, including “So You Dance” and “February Song” off his new album. Each song — including the encore performance of his signature song “You Raise Me Up,” ended in a grand crescendo of strings and clashing orchestra symbols.
The show started off on the right note with an impressive performance by African singer Angelique Kidjo. Kidjo, a four-time Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter, brought an amazing energy to the stage, matched equally by a fantastic five-piece calypso-style band. The pounding bongos that blended with Kidjo’s melodies were a big hit, considering many in the audience were likely unfamiliar with World music. Watching Kidjo move around the stage was pure fun, and it carried over into the crowd, who actually stood up to dance and clap along — not bad for an opening act.
Kidjo came back later in the night to dance once again with Groban, who by the end of the night had proved to everyone that sappy music can be cool.