“I hope to win you over,” Josh Groban said to a nine-year-old girl who was at the singer's Quicken Loans Arena concert on Saturday night with her mom. He told the girl this after she confessed that her favorite concert was the Jonas Brothers. Groban said they were a hard act to follow.
Groban is quite good at connecting with his audience, as that exchange proved.
Rather than stand onstage the whole night, the 30-year-old singer worked his way through the crowd between songs, talking to fans, cracking jokes, and even finding new talent when a New Philadelphia music teacher told him she wanted to duet. Groban obliged, and the woman ended up getting a standing ovation from the Q crowd and a barrage of praise from Groban, who seemed genuinely surprised at how good she was.
Groban also exhibited a quick wit, especially when he realized the fireworks from the Tribe game were overpowering his banter.
But more than anything, the dude can sing. There's no denying that. He proved it many times Saturday night. Of course, it can often get pretty cheesy, something Groban himself acknowledged.
The really inspirational stuff is the hardest to stomach. He fares much better on piano-driven pop ballads like “Bells of New York City” and “Higher Window.”
While it's easy for rock writers to rip on Groban because of his music, truth is his concert was entertaining. The band was quite skilled, and the lighting and visuals were appealing. Plus, Groban's self-deprecating humor makes it hard to get any good jabs in at him. He gets there first.
I don't know about the Jonas Brothers fan, but Groban's showmanship won me over. —Eddie Fleisher