At Rogers Arena on Friday, August 20
When a hometown hero (who also happens to be a hard-core Vancouver Canucks supporter), announces to a packed hockey rink that he’s donating all proceeds from the night’s show to B.C. Children’s Hospital, it really ties your hands as a reviewer. I mean, only a douchebag of the highest order would say anything even remotely critical about a man who is helping to save sick kids.
Thankfully, though, Michael Bublé is not only a very generous man, he’s also a great entertainer. He proved that tenfold on Friday night at Rogers Arena.
Dressed in a dapper suit, the baby-faced big-band singer hit all the right notes. And his adult-contemporary fans couldn’t get enough.
For example, before he announced “Let’s start this party,” he pledged his allegiance to the West Coast with some good ol’ fashioned Toronto-bashing banter (always a well-received icebreaker in Lotusland).
Later, he hammed it up with a little standup routine in which he speculated what would have happened to a two-timing Tiger Woods had he been married to a stereotypically spicy, hot-tempered South American woman (evidently Bublé is engaged to just such a woman). He busted out both Swedish and Argentine accents during this shtick. Ticketholders were laughing up a storm; apparently there’s a huge crossover between people who appreciate this kind of sitcom humour and fans of new-school crooning.
Then, about halfway through the show, he coaxed his pal, Team 1040’s John Shorthouse out on-stage for a song. The duet was part of a sweet little tribute to legendary Canucks commentator Tom Larscheid, who was in the audience and recently announced his retirement. Bublé was obviously in his element (combining both singing and hockey). Shorthouse? Not so much.
“I think I just pooped my pants,” admitted the likable sportscaster before he and the Bubster launched into a reworded rendition of “Thanks for the Memory”.
Bublé scored some more points when made his own way to the mini stage in the middle of the floor. No rock-star float to cart his diva ass down the centre of the stadium. Nope, Bublé hoofed it like a good working-class Burnaby boy should. Of course, he had some hired muscle to help make a path. He had to. Otherwise, the soft-rock heartthrob would have been mauled by adoring female fans.
Musically, one of the highlights of the night (at least for Michael Jackson fans) was MB’s imitation of MJ. It turns out Bublé does a mean “Billie Jean”—who knew?
As fun as that performance was (crotch-grab and all), Bublé was really at his best when he was singing his own songs. Naturally, “Home” was a big hit. As were “Everything” and “Haven’t Met You Yet”—both ditties brought the crowd to its feet.
For the standards, “Me and Mrs. Jones”, “Georgia on My Mind”, and “All of Me” were all spot-on. He also made some, er, “interesting” genre-bending choices like when he came out swinging with the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight”.
But, like I said earlier, you won’t catch this reviewer dissin’ the man of the hour. No way. Uh-uh. Not gonna happen. In other words, well played, Bublé. Very well played.