Michael Bublé: The Real Deal

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gentl emen, your attention, please: You won't want to hear this, but it's okay if you don't hate Michael Bublé. We know: Your wife/girlfriend has had at least one of his CDs on repeat since 2003. Your mother calls every time he's on the "Today" show. But on the evidence of his stylish revue at the Patriot Center Saturday night, he wants your vote, too. And thanks to his self-deprecating, Rat Packy stage persona, he deserves it.

Greeting "Virgin-yah," the 31-year-old Canadian said he knew the correct pronunciation, but would stick with his own because it suggests "a mystical fantasy country I want to go to." After a feverish rendition of "Fever," he expressed his "sincere appreciation for you, my fans -- you should see the house I just bought!" Bada-bing!

Bublé's standards-heavy set was mostly a series of valentines to the ladies who squealed every time he narrowed his eyes. He may more resemble "Footloose"-era Chris Penn than "Footloose"-era Kevin Bacon, but in the presence of his charisma -- not to mention those silky pipes -- the ladies would melt even if he looked like Tom Petty. It's rare in this era of "American Idol" bathos to hear a vocalist with the chops to pull off the flourishes Bublé deployed throughout the 95-minute concert. He made it look easy, and made it sound spectacular.

Not that the ladies in the house necessarily noticed. Based on their frequent interruptions of "We love you, Michael!" it seems they came more to gawk than to listen. He didn't discourage them, even leaping into the audience for a fan photo session.

An ace 13-piece big band backed the star. Feigning jealousy at the rapturous response to their hot-jazz instrumental number, Bublé sulked offstage. Trombonist Nick Vagenas leapt up to say what an insecure diva his boss is, even mocking Bublé's jerky dances. Only when Vagenas tried to sing did Bublé return. The only lull came when Bublé interrupted the parade of lounge favorites for some original tunes, "Home" and "Everything." Both No. 1 adult contemporary hits, they sounded ersatz amid all the warhorses.

"That's Life" featured a gospel choir. After an encore of "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," Bublé repeated his thanks and said good night with "A Song for You."

It was a classy finish to a supremely entertaining evening. The only tacky note was the "MB" logo on the video screens and music st ands. No need to splash your name all over the stage, Mikey. You already proved who owns it.

-- Chris Klimek


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