Written by Dave Clements
Nov 12, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageAs the first cold front of fall dropped temperatures down into the 30’s here in Houston, Josh Groban arrived to bring those temperatures back up. That fact was clearly felt by the many female fans who poured into the Toyota Center to see the 32 year old New York City bachelor perform. He did not disappoint; there are not many on earth who can sing a song the way he does.

Groban, who has sold over 25 million records worldwide, had no problem filling most all the seats on this Tuesday evening and it sure looked to me like most hung in there the entire show – absolutely no consideration to leaving early! This special VOICE is one you will not often hear. He personally has described his voice as a baritone with some high notes up his sleeve.

Although I can’t tell you the difference between a tenor and a baritone, I can tell you that whatever the label – he’s is damn good! The boy can sing his butt off! And this review is written by someone who really isn’t into his kind of music. I was this night however and very unexpectedly.

But before raving any further about Groban, let me tell you about his opener, Ms. Judith Hill. I was not familiar with Hill. I don’t watch much TV but later learned that she was a contestant on THE VOICE and wow, does she have A VOICE. One that I will look forward to hearing again and it complimented Josh’s very well when they performed a couple of duets as well during his set.

Speaking of the stage, the Tour was being called ‘InThe Round’ although it was more ‘InThe Oval’. It worked out well as it gave three times as many people the opportunity to have front row seats. He was active enough during the evening to give all those folks ample opportunity to get up close with him. In my opinion, more artists would do well to consider this stage set up.

ImageJudith Hill was a natural on this stage and a perfect match for Groban. She displayed an equally strong voice and always appeared comfortable and poised in front of the large audience. There was no evidence of nerves or intimidation when on her own or sharing the stage with Josh.

I thought the two musical highlights of the evening were when the she and Groban sang ‘Remember When…’ and ‘The Prayer’. Both numbers were so well orchestrated and powerful. I was really thrilled to have experienced it. Thank you Judith and thank you, Josh.

Actually, the entire evening was a special experience.

Before the show I got to chat with a couple ladies who had won the opportunity to ‘shoot’ the show and were trying to have one or more of their photographs make the upcoming Josh Groban calendar. I enjoyed giving them a couple of tips that may have helped. I was also allowed to photograph three songs rather than the normal two. Therefore, I have given you a little more variety in the HMR Photo Gallery.

And the show itself, once the photography was out of the way, was very entertaining and captivating. Groban, besides singing in English also sings in other languages. He is able to pull it off and by the reaction of the audience they seemed to really enjoy it. Maybe this spills over from the fans of operas, since his style definitely has that feel at times. I definitely prefer all the songs sung in English so that I could get into the lyrics more. Still, all in all, the 14 or so songs that he did were routinely hitting the mark. From right out of the chute with Brave, False Alarms and the February Song to I Believe (that featured the Houston Cougars Choral group) to You Raise Me Up and Smile.

ImageBefore closing let me also mention that Groban was very engaging with the audience. He answered a few questions pre-submitted by some audience members. He also gave a couple of drum sticks to young children in attendance and talked about his support of underprivileged kid’s programs in the arts. He also snuck in a little standup comedy… all of which this reporter enjoyed.

My suggestion would be if you haven’t seen either Judith Hill or Josh Groban – do so when you have an opportunity. They are superb performers who gave quality performances – a real value. And FYI, the Toyota Center sounded great and is an easy place, in spite of its size, to enjoy a show!

Until next time remember there is no time to kill.