Review by Becky Weaver

“I truly believe that if I do my job right tonight, I can turn this big arena into a little club. So, ladies and gentlemen, I ask you to join me tonight, because we’re going to celebrate love.”

Those are the words of Michael Bublé as he addresses his sold-out crowd on the opening night of the UK leg of his brand new tour, An Evening with Michael Bublé at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena.

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It’s been four years since the charming Canadian performed in the city following his son’s battle with cancer, but now that his adorable little boy has been given the all clear, Michael is back on the stage in a dapper suit doing what he’s born to do – perform, and what an utter joy it is to see him back on the stage for what proves to be a rather emotional performance for the 43-year-old.

A Monday evening is a challenging day to open an arena tour, but it was clear from the get-go that the crowd of all ages was up for a night of plenty of laughs and sensational vocals from one of Canada’s finest performers, their Monday blues well and truly washed away.

Michael’s no stranger to Birmingham and he’s quick to admit to that he’s spent a lot of time in the Second City, where he’s not only fallen in love with its culture, but its people as well. He’s done his homework too, listing off numerous facts and figures about the city which leads to some rather comedic opinions and Paris, its amount of green space and French people as a whole.

Michael Bublé holds a reputation of being one of the greatest performs of the last decade. A Grammy Award-winning artist, each song that he sings is almost so effortless that I found myself wondering just how powerful his voice is that he has to distance himself from his microphone.

The stage is grand, and so it should be for such a showman. Opening with his iconic rendition of Feeling Good, it wasn’t long before Michael was out interacting with the crowd, snapping selfies and even signing a women’s broken ‘hug me’ sign that security had insisted that she cut in half before entering the arena bowl.

His in-depth interaction with the audience is so wonderful to see, it shows a true mark of appreciation for who Michael is not just as a performer, but as a person, too. While some artists take the time to occasionally ask the crowd how they are, Bublé goes above and beyond all expectations to check in on his ‘family’ – he doesn’t like to refer to the audience as fans.

Supported by a full string and symphony orchestra only adds to the experience of spending my Monday night with Michael Bublé. At one point, he informs the audience that the show won’t be filled with confetti cannons and fire, because he’s put the money into bringing his band on the road with him. A refreshing choice that meant set design didn’t distract from the impeccable show that unfolded throughout the evening.

His set list is filled with a collection of his greatest hits – upbeat hits Haven’t Met You Yet and Beautiful Day both make early appearances within the first 10 minutes. Throughout the two-hour set you’re taken from date night to Downtown New York jazz club with smooth transitions and welcome chat in between, and of course, his unbeatable rendition of Cry Me a River also swept the crowd off their feet.

To say that Michael and his family have been through a tough few years would be an understatement given the circumstances, but forever the showman, his opening night is packed with emotion that literally brings him to tears.

After singing the beautiful Forever he’s encased by emotion and doesn’t hold back tears as he still makes a joke of the situation asking the audience if “there’s a therapist present for a quick 10-minute session.” The powerful hits keep on coming with a stunning performance of Home, which he dedicates to the service men and women, before picking up the pace and getting the audience on their feet with his rendition of Chuck Berry’s Pulp Fiction hit, You Never Can Tell.

Powerful, funny and effortlessly charming, Michael Bublé has utterly squashed all rumours of his retirement with what I’m sure is one of his greatest tours to date. A showman through and through, we can only hope he doesn’t stay away from the UK for too long, and you can be sure that his adoring ‘family’ will be ready and waiting to welcome him home when he does.

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