Concert Review: Josh Groban Wows Crowd as Summer Tour Stops at Mohegan Sun Casino
August 31, 2014
By Ray Kelly
Somewhere between filming a big screen comedy with John Krasinski and hosting ABC's "Rising Star,' Josh Groban found time to squeeze in a brief summer concert tour.
The East Coast tour, which wraps up Saturday night at Tanglewood in Lenox, made its penultimate stop at the Mohegan Sun Casino's 10,000-seat main arena on Friday night.
The 33-year-old Groban is blessed with one of the finest voices in music today. Unfailingly polite and armed with a quick-witted, self-deprecating sense of humor, he can charm an arena audience into believing they are at an intimate club.
Groban kicked off his 95-minute show with "Changing Colours," a tune first recorded by Canadian folk rockers Great Lake Swimmers. Groban used the song to open his last performance at the Mohegan Sun on July 30, 2011. He included it as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of his most recent album "All that Echoes."
To say Groban was in fine voice on "Alla Luce del Sole" or "Caruso," is an understatement. Nobody performing today touches the guy. Nobody.
His concerts are packed with storytelling. It seemed every song was preceded or followed by an amusing tale.
His performance of "Falling Slowly" from Broadway's "Once" was accompanied by his bemused reaction to attending the stage show and hearing a character remark that the quickest way to cool passion was to take a cold shower or listen to a Josh Groban album.
Following a performance of the vocally challenging "Per Te," Groban remarked, "That song is why I wear tight pants. It's not for fashion, it's the high 'A's."
Groban offered a few covers in his 17-song set, including Don McLean's "Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)," Stevie Wonder's "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" with the East Coast Inspirational Singers lending support, and Neil Diamond's "Play Me."
Backed by the Donn Trenner Orchestra and his core touring band, Groban took lead vocals on all but one number -- a rocking orchestral take on Aerosmith's "Dream On" featuring violinist Christian Hebel. It ended with a jam showcasing Groban on drums.
The Los Angeles native drew the night to a close with his signature 2003 hit "You Raise Me Up" before returning to the stage for what was the emotional highpoint of the night -- a stirring rendition of the Charlie Chaplin/ John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons-penned "Smile."
Groban dedicated the song in memory of comedian Robin Williams, who took his life earlier this month. The singer had a reoccurring role on Williams' recent CBS series "The Crazy Ones."