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Michael Bublé at Xcel Energy Center, 9/11/13

Michael Bublé at Xcel Energy Center, 9/11/13
Photo courtesy of the artist

Michael Bublé
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

There is really no getting around it. Michael Bublé is not just a singer, he's an entertainer. Wednesday at the Xcel, the dazzling night with him began with a quick changeover after a brief opening act. Suddenly, there was a wall of sound from behind an elegant grey curtain, fire shot from the stage, and the curtain rose just a bit to reveal Michael Bublé, in full tuxedo, standing on the back half of the stage.

He opened with the jazz standard "Fever" as the platform in front of Bublé slanted to meet his feet and he gracefully slid down to front of the stage.The audience was filled with squeals as Bublé strolled about the stage. He quickly jumped into "Haven't Met You Yet" and the rest of the grey curtain rose, revealing his enormous backing band. Bublé charismatically sang and phrased every note flawlessly. Accompanied by a fully trained, professional horn section, he committed no mistakes. The crowd more than willingly sang along to his poppy upbeat anthems. A few songs into his set, Bublé got off the stage to welcome a teary eyed teen in a tiara for her 17th Birthday. He hugged her and made the entire arena sing "Happy Birthday" to her.  

While everyone was sitting down and focusing on Michael's banter, they didn't notice the stage changing. Somehow the whole band was in the front part of the stage, closer to the audience. Now, the audience was swooning, grabbing ahold of their loved ones as Bublé crooned "Try a Little Tendernes,s" made famous by Otis Redding. While sitting at a live concert sometimes takes away from the audience involvement, it seemed appropriate. It's not just live music, but an elaborately designed performance. 

Bublé then went into "You Make Me Feel So Young," followed by Van Morrison's "Moondance." One thing is for sure, Michael is no stranger to the jazz standards. All of his songs are fully arranged to sound just like the performance on his recordings and he doesn't really stray from his original phrasing as well. Surprisingly this didn't get old at all.

As expected, Michael filled a lot of time between songs with corny jokes, flattery, and platitudes. Things like "I'm not saying this to kiss your ass but truly, look it up, this is my favorite place in America," and "Whoever said there is no 'i' in team, was a good speller." These things sound cheesy in text, but when Michael Bublé charmingly phrased it, you couldn't help but smile. Even the crabbiest looking couple was laughing.

 

Halfway through his set, Bublé introduced his entire band, plastering their faces and stats on the big screen like featured baseball players up to bat. He joked with all of them and they each played their own solo. There's at least a dozen people in this band, so you'd think it would get tiring, but yet again, no one seemed to mind. 

The band smoothly transitioned into the second half of the set, which included the intimate ballad "Let Me Go Home." Bublé finished and proceeded to call out some teary ladies in the front row. He sympathized with them, saying, in a smooth tongue-in-cheek way, "Yeesh, if I have to sing another ballad, I'm gonna cut myself." So he immediately burst into Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" and parades about the main floor. While everyone goes to the show with a high cheese-factor in mind, it was almost a little too much. "Get Lucky" is such a fresh modern hit that it stuck out from the rest of Michael's "old classics" despite it being such a fun song. 

Michael wrapped up the set with his hit, "It's a Beautiful Day" and waved goodbye. As usual, there's an encore coming. He quickly returned in a sparkly sequined suit coat for a sultry and smooth version of "Cry Me a River" and then into "Save the Last Dance for Me." Finally Michael ended with "Song for You" by ripping off his attached microphone and delivering the last lines a capella. The whole audience went silent as his voice projected and echoed through the stadium with ease. He waved a final goodbye with a sweet "I love you Minnie."

The Crowd: The audience was mostly middle aged, but sprinkled with a few young ones whose middle aged parents probably bought their tickets.

Overheard in the crowd: "Why isn't this guy doing the next James Bond Theme?!"

Critic's Bias: I'm a sucker for jazz standards and bow ties. Also, I firmly believe his voice is made of angels. 

Random notebook dump: He joked to the audience that when he points his microphone at the crowd, he makes a point to do it at all the "la la la" parts so when he's in Asian and German countries, people in can still sing along. He is so politely racist.

Setlist-ish:

Fever 

Haven't Met You Yet

Try a Little Tenderness  

You Make Me Feel So Young  

Moondance  

Come Dance with Me  

Feeling Good  

I've Got the World on a String  

Everything  

That's All 

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Bee Gees)

Let Me Go Home

Get Lucky

I Want You Back 

To Love Somebody (Bee Gees)

All You Need is Love 

Burning Love (Elvis)

It's a Beautiful Day  

ENCORE:  

Cry Me a River  

Save the Last Dance for Me

Song for You

See Also:
50 cool facts about the Minnesota music scene
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week

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