Monday, 17 June 2013

Josh Groban live

Last night, as I sat in seat HH11 of the O2 Apollo, it was easy to forget that Josh Groban does this several times a week, as his job. The energy and enthusiasm that went into each part of the show was a beautiful thing to experience.

The venue isn't a small one, the queue to get in was winding a considerable distance around the block (a circumstance which has forced me to regretfully admit a pair of shoes I have loved for ten years are no longer the most comfortable footwear I possess), but one inside it seemed as though the band were able to connect on a personal level with each member of the audience. I occasionally felt like I was watching a bunch of friends who also happened to be exceptional musicians, just having fun and showing off at an invite only gig. 

The show opened with Brave, and I haven't seen a guitarist having that much fun since Iron Maiden. Later, I realised how fluid the band/orchestra were, despite having no visible conductor. It was two thirds of the way through "The moon is a harsh mistress" that I observed the pianist's hair appeared to be the primary conductor for the piece. Later, I thought it might be the lead violinist's elbow, but I've come to the conclusion it's one of life's ineffable mysteries. 

The music was interspersed with commentary and Josh's signature blend of wit and humility. His engagement with the audience felt genuine and his response to some of the more crazy elements in the room was both kind and courteous. It must take a lot of self control to handle that kind of situation, and he did it well. 

I was waiting for Happy in my Heartache. For me, the acid test of his performance would be my response to this one song. 

I wept.

It turns out that Josh Groban live has the same quality that Josh Groban CDs offer, but in the live show you have no protection from the emotional onslaught.

Absorb the music, enjoy the performance and if, like the woman behind me you need a sing along to have any fun, learn the words to "You Raise me Up" and prepare for the encore.


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