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  • Writer's picturePaul Gainey

Michael Buble, Motorpoint Arena Cardiff

Michael Bublé is back with a bang for his first UK arena tour in four years, Higher, and he was in fine form at the Motorpoint in Cardiff last night with his undeniable talent, star quality and boat loads of charm and charisma.


Those who are fans of Bublé know what to expect – big, splashy orchestrations, easy patter and interaction with the audience and those powerhouse vocals that soar to fill the space with ease.


Opening his account with the sizzling "Feeling Good", which while, of course, isn't one of his own compositions, is very much one of his calling cards and has been for years now.


Michael is often pigeon holed as a 'crooner,' but while it perhaps is on the jazz classics in his repertoire that he particularly excels, he can also bring the party in abundance, with the still insanely catchy and totally joyful "Haven't Met You Yet" an early highlight.


This was swiftly followed by the equally crowd pleasing "L.O.V.E", Dean Martin's classic "Sway" and “Smile,” the lovely ballad written by Charlie Chaplin and popularized by Nat “King” Cole,


Bublé also includes his own tasteful original songs like "Just Haven’t Met You Yet", "Home", "Love You Anymore" and "Save the Last Dance For Me".


New song "Higher" is a high point of the evening, showing off Bublé and the dramatic and musical capabilities of his 26-piece band and three backing singers with aplomb thanks to the heavy drumline, swooping melody and jazzy graphics on the video screens surrounding him.


The tempo of the concert was far from predictable with genuinely emotional moments like "Smile", heartwarming singalong standard "Home" and the angst filled sucker punch ballad "Hold On", rubbing shoulders with more upbeat numbers like radio smash "I'll Never Not Love You".


The arena was bathed in a sea of confetti as the man of the hour ended a fantastic Elvis medley with "Can't Help Falling in Love", before the Barry White anthem You're The First, My Last, My Everything.


For me, Michael's take on "Cry Me A River" has to be one of the best covers ever recorded. With its dramatic and menacing Bond soundtrack-esque opening, it gives him the springboard to be at his very best, ending with a fantastic crescendo, that is like the musical equivalent of a mass explosion of pyrotechnics.


Bublé had a smart way of sharing the spotlight with his band and backup singers. Their faces were shown, one by one, on the video screens, with their names shown as chyrons. It was a generous way of giving these talented musicians the spotlight they deserve.


It’s quite something that Bublé is able to make such a huge venue feel intimate, but he does, working hard to maintain the illusion that it does not, in fact, require a lot of effort.


The only sign of that were the multiple face towels he went through, throwing them out into the appreciative crowd afterwards.


At a Michael Buble concert, the audience is central to the whole show and last night was no exception. Whether it is his posing for selfies, encouraging them to sing along, or selecting someone to catch one of his towels.


He also threw in a few more ‘grown-up’ jokes to help shed his ‘Christmas Boy’ image, as he put it, playing up the angle that was ‘so sexy’ he made women faint in during his outdoor UK tour last summer – and the amount of giggling and shrieking from his crowd would suggest they agreed.


With everyone a part of the party, even Buble’s trumpet player, Jumaane Smith, was in the spotlight for an upbeat version of "You’re Nobody ‘Till Somebody Loves You", before Buble delivered a flawless "Cry Me A River" as his main set closer.


Encore songs included "Where Or When" and "Everything" before the crooner turned country for his exit, a powerful rendition of "You Were Always On My Mind".


All in all, it was exactly what you’d expect and want from a Michael Bublé concert, and if a few Bublé Babies result from the evening then consider that to be an added bonus.




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