Review: Michael Buble in Auckland
Auckland, Vector Arena, May 22
Watching a Michael Buble concert is like being in the theatre.
The crowds are hushed and well-behaved - apart from the occasional screeching from a middle-aged fan-girl that gets added to as the lights dim.
The drums roll, fire balls burst and the curtain parts teasingly to reveal a silhouette of the Canadian jazz singer.
He bursts forth, cord microphone in hand, gesticulating cheekily as he slides about the stage to aptly named Fever.
The dramatic entrance is followed with crowd standing for Haven't Met You Yet.
"Tonight it's our last night, I want you to let yourselves go," Buble says.
"I don't want you to give a s**t about anyone who's sitting next to you."
Ma and Pa Buble are in the audience tonight so Buble junior promises not to hold back on the final night of his Australasian tour.
"We're going to take it nice and slow like we've just met at a bar," he says.
"Maybe we'll slow dance and by the end of the night we'll be dry humping."
Clearly this is directed at the whooping female contingent in the audience rather than his folks.
To more whoops and cheers he moves into Try a Little Tenderness, foot-tapping number You Make Me Feel So Young and Van Morrison's Moondance.
But the standout has to be Feeling Good, with its sassy James Bond vibe and luxurious vocals. Buble struts the stage, swinging microphone in hand. It's all a bit sexy.
With that he introduces his all-male band with lines like, "drummer Marion Felder visited the Virgin Islands and now they're just called the Islands".
The band sings along to World on a String and everyone joins in with Everything, with Buble cheekily admonishing the crowd for changing the words "la, la, la" to "love, love, love".
For those, like me, who don't know the words to every Buble song, there is still much to enjoy.
The catchy jazz and swing set was injected with healthy doses of Latino numbers, Motown, the Beatles and even some Daft Punk.
Buble is joined halfway through his set by some youthful female members of the Auckland string section and later by his opening band Naturally 7. The latter especially impress with their acapella opening to All You Need is Love before heart confetti rains down on a delighted audience.
His emotional rendition of Home brings us near to tears before he ups the tempo, "I know you didn't come here to cry," he announces, launching into Get Lucky.
His polished 90-minute set is near complete with It's a Beautiful Day before he returns for a stormy encore of Cry Me a River and The Drifters' Save the Last Dance For Me.
But it's his acapella rendition of Song For You that truly captivates. Equally impressive is his ability to shut excited fans up enough for us to enjoy it.
If I was a half-pie fan before, I have unabashedly been won over.