LondonNet Gig Review
Royal Albert Hall
T: 0207 589 8212
Tube: South Kensington,
Gloucester Rd, Knightsbridge
The New Old Blue Eyes?
Bublé's good looks and schmooze hearken to the classical
times of jazz, not to mention his keen sense of musical style and
abilities. But Bublé is not about to step on anyone's toes.
I admit it.
Michael Bublé won me over, and when it comes to crooners,
I'm not easily won. In a show that brandished the double-edged weapons
of classic jazz, with uproars from the crowd that rivalled the greats,
themselves, Bublé's fan base - teeming with riled-up women
of all ages - is highly devoted and well earned.
With honeyed words and raucous laughter, Bublé opened the
show with - what else - Sinatra. Come Fly With Me was followed with
Summer Wine and a long strong string of standards, but before I
could sit back into my chair with contempt, the tempo or the key
changed, the band - led by quirky pianist Alan Chang and punchy
drummer Pete VanNostrand, not to mention a small brass bunch of
attractive twenty-somethings - swept into a round of solos, and
Bublé pushed the song into a charming new life. He leapt
seamlessly between Sinatra, Al Green, George Michael, Van Morrison
and others - and banked somewhere in the middle with sultry tastes
of a new album.
A white sheet silhouetting Bublé's desirable form marked
a breathy, bristly version of Fever, and Mac the Knife was peppered
with Bublé's catchy skat. I Wanna Go Home, a dark and wandering
ballad likely about Bublé's many mistresses, was a startling
gaze into his pop sensibilities, and proof that Bublé had
a few still untapped talents.
The most thrilling moment in the show, however, was a fifteen-minute
interlude where he jumped off the stage and meandered through the
crowd, kissing women and taking pictures and waving to a roaring
masses. He waded back with women attached to his shirtsleeves, but
his gelled hair and smooth suit sopped it up and he continued with
even more schmooze - from then on the crowd was sold.
Bublé finished with an encore of Let it Snow and a skin
prickling, acapella My Funny Valentine, his theatrical range rising
through the grandiose, silent theatre. He bowed idly to two standing
ovations and promises of, "I'll never forget this night, for
the rest of my life!"
While his versions of classics keep pace with modern music and taste,
his respect for and knowledge of jazz is evident and honourable.
While many of his fans long for a taste of the past in the young,
charismatic edifice of Bublé, he is, thankfully, not just
a pretty face.
His tour spans the UK and ends in late November.
Megan M. Retka