Either I was taking someone who wanted to see something I didn’t particularly care for, or in the case of Garth Brooks, just wanted to attend the opening of the Sprint Center because it was an “event.”
In my preview story for the Josh Groban, Judith Hill concert, I made it clear Groban wasn’t my cup of tea. That I was going to see Hill and Hill alone. Well, I’m ready to eat those words now for all the women who viciously attacked me in the comments section.
I may not be a “Grobite,” I can tell you that he put on one solid show, and I can’t recall an artist more interactive with his audience. The bottom line being that I enjoyed this performance far more than I would have ever expected and yes, I’d go again.
Hill walked out to a less than half full Sprint Center to only moderate applause which I found odd at best. She then laid down a nice, somewhat short set with the sole flaw being the backup singers never were properly mixed until Hill’s last song.
At set change, I looked around amazed at the crowd size.
The upper sections had been draped off and half the second tier was blocked off. I would put the arena as configured, at nearly full, but there couldn’t have been more than 6,000 people there. I sat in the fifth row with available seats well within reach.
Touring on Groban’s new release, All That Echo’s, I had assumed he’d have been a bigger draw.
Groban’s band opened with his individual band members playing in the crowd at the four corners of the arena, a nice touch that came off really well.
Early in the show Groban noted that he understood there were protesters outside, commenting that he generally didn’t get that since he was the “least objectionable person he could think of.”
Then after pondering that on stage for a moment he worked himself up and struggled to say… “Sh, shii, shit!” to add a faux edginess to his squeaky clean show.
Groban congratulated KC on the Chiefs and said this was a far better trip than last time, when he and his dog were ushered to the Intercontinental hotel basement for a tornado.
After doing a number of his favorites Groban took a small break and the band took the stage with what became the feature of the night for me, tackling their rendition of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” led by violinist Christian Hebel. It was at the conclusion of that house rocking cover we saw Groban reappear on the drums, exhibiting that he’s equally at home on percussion as he is at the microphone or piano.
Hill rejoined Groban on stage, first for the song “Remember When It Rained” and once again for “The Prayer.” By the end of the latter if you weren’t moved in some manner there was just something wrong with you.
And, it still moves Groban, who described it as a “pivotal” song in his career when asked by producer and friend David Foster to perform it at the Grammys as a 17 year old kid, filling in for Andrea Bocelli. Groban said he was home, doing math homework when he got the message and called back to tell Foster he was busy. He explained, his life’s priorities weren’t yet in place and Foster replied, “No, you misunderstand, I’m TELLING you to do it!”
Towards the end he introduced the Kantorei Choir of Kansas City, a 16 person ensemble who joined him on stage and provided back up for a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe; When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever.
Throughout the evening Groban answered questions from the crowd, calling them out by seat number and name. One question came from a girl who traveled from Australia for her birthday. She wanted to see him in KC, and then was off to NY, asking for things to do while she was there. He told her everyone needed to see the Statue of Liberty, but asked if anyone knew whether or not the government was open yet, or not?
Another question indicated that someone had heard Groban could juggle and brought a beginners tube of balls labeled, “You too can learn to juggle.” He took them, demonstrated his beginner skills then tossed the balls to the crowd.
He also noted the number of men in attendance, thanked us and informed us that the two hours invested in his show would pay them back later, “If you get know what I mean.”
You Lift Me Up, a Groban anthem, came during the encore. He turned it into a sing-along, with the Kantorei ensemble again providing back up.
Would I have gone to this show on my own? No way.
Would I go again? I certainly would and voluntarily. It was a rock solid performance by one of the great voices of our time.