Josh Groban at the O2 Arena
Josh Groban’s accolades are impressive: a number one selling artist in the US, multi-platinum albums, and a successful comedic career. There is a lot of excitement surrounding his only show at the O2.
“Hello good people of London” – he appears on stage with no pomp or swagger. His genuine likeability is charming and he crams pop, opera, orchestra and comedy into his two-hour set. Groban humbly acknowledges that in the UK he is most famous for Never Mind the Buzzcocks. He is in London to promote his sixth studio album All That Echoes, immediately launching in to the lead single Brave. This kind of easy listening music has garnered a slightly more mature crowd of swooning ladies, who Groban playfully teases.
The highs that Groban manages to reach are vocally perfect. He is also a multi-instrumentalist, performing on piano and drums, and proclaiming “I don’t want to throw my drumsticks – I’m not Kings of Leon!”. Groban impresses with his ability to sing in a variety of languages – “Aye Karamba!” he announces, swinging in to the Spanish Una Alma Mas. He has admitted he enjoys performing in different languages as they are musical and romantic, and as one listens to the O2 fill with the soulful Italian Alla Luce there is no denying this.
Groban brings emotion, moving swiftly from juvenile comedy (impersonations of Stewie of Family Guy) to tear-inducing renditions and serious operatic atmosphere. There is nothing overly staged about his performance in which he channels American enthusiasm and buoyancy with an understanding of British humour, and he makes special references that heighten the sense of intimacy (telling us that he should have got the “toooobe” – tube). He finds time for his fans, chatting with embarrassed and flattered audience members – an impressive feat in this cavernous venue.
The consummate performer draws his show to a close with recognisable covers, including Stevie Wonder’s I Believe and You Raise Me Up, resonating with a UK audience familiar with Westlife’s version. Groban’s powerful voice and the expansive orchestral performance are so moving that the audience are lifted from their seats. This emotional rendition means that there are tears and families swaying in synchrony with the violins, gospel choir and pure white lights. As Groban departs he does so to a standing ovation and with all hands clapping in the air.
For further information and future events visit Josh Groban’s website here.
Watch the video for You Raise Me Up here: