Playing to a sold-out crowd on the second night of his Crazy Love Tour at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, Crooner/Funnyman Michael Bublé played to a warm reception from his fellow Canadians. "Promise me you won't be 'too cool for school' Toronto, since you're the Center of the Universe" he asked of the audience, hoping they'd dance for him in the show's up-tempo latter part.
Tonight was my second time seeing the two-time Grammy winner perform live and perhaps the show's biggest challenge was making a large venue with an audience of 14,000, seem as intimate as a small theatre show. Let's face it - Dancers, Pyro-technics and flashing LED Screens just aren't him. I saw Bublé back in 2005 at Sony Theatre and that smaller venue was just perfect, but considering the circumstances, he made the most of the situation tonight chatting much with the audience about growing up as a proud Canadian Boy. He confessed that Michael Jackson was his biggest influence as a child (which always surprises people), going on to tell us his Mother got him an outift similar to that worn by that one in his legendary Beat It video. Bublé went on to perform a snippet of Billy Jean for amusement's sake, drawing cheers from the audience. He'd occasionally joke about how the boyfriends of the audience must think he's Gay, to which he added that he'd be proud about his sexuality if that were the case.
Performing with an immensely talented band of Jazz musicians, along with long-time collaborator Pianist Alan Chang, tonight's show was just the perfect balance of accessibility and artistry. I'm sure much of the audience, vast majority of married couples, have likely have used Bublé's albums as the backdrop for many a romantic evening and he catered much to them. His rendition of Billy Vera & The Beaters' At This Moment which he dubbed humorously "a medley of their Hit", was stunning as was his performance of current single Crazy Love (a Van Morrison cover).
The audience saw the Crooner break down to tears at one point performing David Foster-penned Best of Me, recalling a relationship where his girlfriend couldn't give him back the level of commitment he showed. Emily Blunt, anyone? Whomever it was inspired by, Bublé appears to have moved on, proudly sporting an Engagement Ring from his Argentine fiancée Luisana Lopilato. As an aside, I did run into them (both in sunglasses) in Yorkville around 3:30 PM looking for a place to Lunch at and Bublé did remember me from the other night, taking some time to say "hi" and chat with me about tonight's show, reassuring me how much I was going to love it!
Although much of the show's first half was on the down-tempo, things took an upward swing as he got the audience on its feet for Save the Last Dance for Me and a fantastic rendition of The Eagles' Heartache Tonight. Bublé then decided to take the show into the audience, walking onto the floor and onto a platform, serenading fans with an acoustic version of his biggest hit Home. The show was wrapped up on an optimistic note with a dedication to all the single people in the audience, Haven't Met You Yet. Of course the audience wouldn't let him leave without an Encore and Bublé delivered a touching delivery of Song for You, powerfully projecting to the crowd without a microphone for effect.
Other than a couple lulls in the Ballads section of the show, Bublé delivered a fine performance tonight. It cannot be disputed that his fans love him and walked away satisfied, with a feeling of having connected with an old friend. A national treasure.
View some more pics I got from the show below.
Watch Bublé perform Michael Jackson's Billie Jean below. For more clips, visit Mr. Will-W.: Pop Maven's YouTube Page.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)