Josh Groban made a triumphant return to the United Center on Sunday, October 20, his self-described "favorite city" for many reasons, but particularly since he had the chance to play for Oprah here a few years ago.
Hundreds of fans paid top dollar to join the many VIP experiences--meet and greets, dinner and hospitality--prior to the show, and had the chance to hear Groban's vocals reaching for the rafters while he and his band were doing their pre-show sound check. And that was just the appetizer!
After stunning vocalist Judith Hill opened the show, Groban entered the round, skinny jeaned and blazered. He opened with "Brave," a track from his new album, All that Echoes, setting the tone for nearly two hours of his gorgeous vocals backed by an eclectic mix of musicians from Finland, the Ukraine, LA and elsewhere on drums, bass, trumpet, violin, guitar and keyboards.
In addition to his powerhouse vocals, Groban is surprisingly funny and charming. Between songs, he took time to riff on how the video screens could show front shots or "butt shots," welcomed the few men in attendance, and even interrupted his singing for a few minutes of Q & A with the audience.
"Un Alma Mas," "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress," and "She Moved Through the Fair" allowed fans to experience the range of musical styles Groban serves up in his latest release, and while he rested for a song, his violinist led the rest of the band in a rocking orchestral version of Aerosmith's "Dream On." Don McLean's "Vincent (Starry Starry Night)" was another highlight of the show.
After Groban told the story of how he was asked to stand in for Andrea Bocelli while his plane was delayed to rehearse "The Prayer," Hill rejoined Groban onstage proving herself more than capable of matching Celine Dion's soulful interpretation of the song.
The in the round set up was ideal for Groban's high energy, and allowed fans to experience a more intimate connection with Groban and his band as they played all the angles. Everyone had plenty of face time with Josh during the night.
Groban wound up the evening with fan favorite "You Raise Me Up", and chose Charlie Chaplin's "Smile" for his final encore. Said Groban, "It's my favorite song to sing."
Groban played one night in Chicago and his next stop is Grand Rapid, MI on the 22nd followed by Detroit on the 23rd.
For more information go to Josh Groban's Website