Music News & Reviews

Impeccable vocals, wit make Groban concert memorable

Diehard music fans and those who appreciate flawless vocals had nothing to complain about Saturday night as Josh Groban brought down Intrust Bank Arena.

Groban's powerful voice sounded better live than most artists can produce on mixed-down, auto-tuned albums.

It was easy to tell this was going to be a different kind of concert experience. An orchestra drew the attention to the main stage, where a rustic, opera-themed backdrop overlooked it.

Groban surprised everyone by entering from the rear of the arena, making his way to a platform erected in the center of the floor. Surrounded by at least 6,000 fans, he began to serenade the audience.

Groban showed off his range and impeccable vocals. He went from the lowest ranges of his voice to a stunning falsetto that showed no signs of peaking.

There were parts of the concert when one was left with the quandary of whom to watch: Groban on the center platform or the talented orchestra on the main stage. Groban eliminated that on "You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" when he made his way to the main stage, high-fiving giddy fans who ranged from teenage girls to 60-year-old men.

In the middle of the concert he picked out a special audience member named Ashley to sing "The Prayer" on the main platform. After she stopped shaking, Ashley and Groban performed while the crowd cheered the makeshift duo on.

Groban slowed the pace with the Latin-influenced "Alejate." The crisp, deliberate strums of the Latin guitar, combined with the subtle maracas and complementing violins, gave off an air of the opera "Carmen." Groban proved able to sing in any language from Spanish to Italian to English.

After "Alejate," he worked his way through the crowd again. Instead of addressing the fans like most performers do, he held conversations that lasted 30 to 40 seconds at a time. It was in these instances when it felt like more of a comedy club than a concert.

"You are a little grabby in Wichita. I'm not going to lie," Groban said after being mobbed by a couple of overwhelmed women.

He talked to three or four audience members, asking them personal questions. The fans who were calm enough to hold conversations with him quickly found out how witty the international star is. He managed to turn each interaction into a laugh.

When he asked a 20-something what there was to do in Wichita, she replied that she was going to the bar Heroes. "I will see you there at midnight," Groban said to her surprise.

Groban proved to be quite the showman, but his vocals truly made the show memorable, as songs like "Galileo" and "Awake" proved. He managed to belt powerful and enunciated lyrics, then quickly switch to a soothing falsetto. Few performers have the ability to perform that way live without a hitch.

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