If you’ve been on a tube late at night recently and have found yourself surrounded by giggling women, the chances are they’ve just been to see Robbie Williams or Michael Bublé. Last night (July 1st) I ventured to the O2 Arena in Greenwich to see The Bublé himself on the second date of his world tour.
Opening for Michael Bublé was Naturally 7, a New York based seven person, all male a capella group. I am a complete sucker for a capella and absolutely loved their set, full of tight harmonies and classic tunes including an amazing finale with Naturally 7, the audience and a 1960s video of Stevie Wonder all interacting perfectly. Their cheery stage presence and crowd interaction got an already over excited audience fully revved up for the arrival of Mr Bublé himself.
Michael Bublé’s entrance is as classic and showy as you’d expect, with a huge instrumental introduction breaking flawlessly into ‘Fever’ with some added pyrotechnics. The audience duly went wild as soon as they caught a glimpse of the dapper gent in his tuxedo. His vocals throughout the show were generally very good, with only a few notes that didn’t hit the pitch quite right. Although, for nearly £80 a ticket you want him to hit every note perfectly! Beware if your seats are toward the back of the seated areas on the ground and level 1 in The O2 as the B stage takes up a fair bit of room and may obstruct your view slightly. However, if you hold tight until about an hour into the show, the man himself makes his way to the B stage and serenades you close up. The set list is made up of a few tracks off the new album, some classic standards and a sprinkling of Bublé’s own pop songs. Notable missing tracks are Lost and Hollywood, but he does perform It’s A Beautiful Day, Everything, Haven’t Met You Yet and a truly heart wrenching arrangement of Home with some beautiful visuals behind him.
The main reason I was willing to spend what seems like an exorbitant amount of money to see Michael Bublé was to experience his band live. The arrangements may be fairly standard on the recordings, but live the band has room to play a bit more and some fabulous solos came from all areas of the stage. Bublé’s patter with the crowd is also what makes him a firm favourite with the screaming hoards, he is flirty and charming, signing people’s posters and happily shaking hands and hugging people as he passes through the crowd. His classic mix of confidence and self effacing humour mean he gets a laugh out of the excitable crowd easily, and he genuinely seems to both respect and get along with his band, which is refreshing and makes them just as much part of the Bublé experience as the man himself.
My main complaint about the whole evening is the outrageous price of merchandise. Bublé’s own merchandise was, I can only assume, aimed at the high rollers and aristocracy in the audience. A hoodie was £70 and a tour programme £20; I was blown away, along with a lot of other people by these prices. I was hoping to purchase a little something for myself or my Mum as a souvenir but it soon became clear that wasn’t an option. A tiny pair of pink cotton hot pants were a massive £30, I’m not sure I’d even pay that much if they were autographed. So if you are heading to The O2 for Bublé’s world tour and fancy picking up some merchandise bear that in mind. If, like me, the prices are way beyond reach for you, take some great photos and enjoy the memory of the night that way!
Bublé’s encore was opened by the enormous notes of Cry Me A River and a sparkly suit, the audience went wild, he did his thing and the show was back in the swing of things. By this point in the evening people start rushing away to the tube, but I find that The O2 isn’t generally too bad to get out of, despite only having the Jubilee line running through North Greenwich station. He then moves swiftly into Save the Last Dance for Me and completes the night with Bublé, alone on stage, a single follow spot on him, belting out the final notes of the concert without even a microphone to support him, proving his chops as a “proper” singer, despite what the critics say. Overall it’s a fantastic night out, definitely worth seeing him live if you’re a fan. In terms of timings, Naturally 7 were on stage from 7:30 to about 8:10, Michael Bublé from 8:30 to about 10:15 including encore.