Michael Bublé at the O2 ArenaCultureMusicLive music
Michael Bublé might be your mother’s performer, but that doesn’t mean you should discount her taste so hastily. On the fourth show of his ten-night residency at London’s mammoth O2, he brings his achingly charming presence to hoards of swooning British fans. A born entertainer, Bublé slides around the stage, masterfully working the (overwhelmingly female) crowd. He poses for photos, runs up and down the throngs of people and reduces several women to actual tears.
The celebrated crooner recounts his days as a lounge singer while staring out at the 20,000 capacity arena, and wears his Frank Sinatra influence proudly on the sleeves of his dapper tuxedo. While the audience adores his versions of You Make Me Feel So Young and I’ve Got the World on a String, his attempts at Rat Pack repartee fall flat. He cracks several dirty jokes and peppers some swearing into his introductions that leaves that the primarily middle-aged crowd disapprovingly silent. But Bublé doesn’t want to be Sinatra-lite, the Frank your parents would approve of; he wants to be the real thing.
Delivering a set primarily composed of covers, Bublé takes the crowd on a stroll through his musical influences, but it’s his sparsely-played original songs that draw the biggest cheers. Haven’t Met You Yet is matched with so much elated screaming that his famed vocals struggle to compete with the roar of the crowd. He chooses some incredible songs to cover: beloved numbers like Try a Little Tenderness and Feeling Good are brought back to life with the full force of his talented orchestra. Yet often these perfectly-pitched and polished renditions lack the jagged, soulful quality that artists like Otis Redding and Nina Simone championed.
Not just sticking to the classics, Bublé proves his contemporary credentials with an enjoyable version of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. An a capella cover of the Jackson 5’s Want You Back also helps to perk up the set after a slightly lengthy ballad section.
Bublé is at his best will the full force of the brass section behind him, and it’s when they fade into the background (literally, on a constantly moving stage) that his performance loses power. Regardless, he’s an irrefutably talented entertainer with countless packed stadiums in his future.
Photo: Man Alive!
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