If you have it – use it …
There is a statue just outside The Bell Center in Montreal of Maurice ‘The Rocket’ Richard. The Montreal Canadiens’ legend skated up and down the ice at a time when the number one crooner in the world was Frank Sinatra. The Rocket is gone, Sinatra is gone. There are no more statues depicting any Canadiens’ player after Guy Lafleur. The winning tradition may have vanished for the Canadiens yet Michael Buble seems to have replaced Sinatra as the number one crooner in the world. The vocal torch has been passed.
If a burglar was smart on Thursday night, a quick trip to the suburbs may have netted he / she with a grand loot as the majority of Montreal’s homeowners were at The Bell Center. Michael Buble may have his young fans yet it is their parents and even Grandparents who predominantly pay for Buble’s limousine. After all, it is the over forty crowd who are familiar with non auto-tune tunes and the skill of good songwriting. Michael Buble on tour in Montreal is music’s equivalent of dropping baseball at the Olympic stadium. Only the purists follow pitch by pitch.
Part of The Great American songbook unfolded at the Bell Center like a book removed from a shelf. Dusty favorites such as ‘ My Funny Valentine , When You’re Smiling , Cry Me a River and Where or When set the mood early, often and convincingly. Buble did not need to start singing any of them. The crowd knew what to expect and were already pumped before Buble rose from the floor atop the stage. Feeling Good and Haven’t Met You Yet were merely condoms to deflect the premature ejaculations arising from the mostly female crowd. In other words, to quote Dorothy from the film Jerry Maguire; ‘Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello.‘
Michael Buble has two things that Sinatra had. A distinct voice and charisma. Both men seem to posses that “I know where the treasure is’ grin about them. Does it arise from the natural talent of singing standards a little different than most or does it arrive knowing because of that talent everyone in the room would marry you in a heartbeat? One feeds the other and vice versa. In Buble’s case however, it is that Canadian humor that only Canadians posses which enables Buble’s ‘treasure grin’ to raise the roof. Hockey jokes and conjuring boos for being a fan of the Vancouver Canucks.
Buble 1 Sinatra 0.
Most performers use the “I Love You’ card once , maybe twice in a show. It connects the energy between punter and artist and solidifies the humanity between the two parties. Michael Buble is a walking, talking love machine. He loves the crowd, he loves his wife, he loves his kids, he loves his band and probably would love even the most sordid of characters if he met them face to face. Thursday night, Buble showed his love of song and audience as he picked out a man who wanted the chance to sing. The pair dueled the song Unforgettable and the audience member almost stole Buble’s spotlight. It was the moment when anyone who was not caught in Buble’s charm was reeled in. Hook, line and sinker.
The first of Buble’s two evenings in Montreal came to a close with Can’t Help Falling In Love. The Gwen McCrae cover had Elvis Presley written all over it. Vocally, no one can touch Elvis yet Buble has total command over his audience much the same way Elvis did. Much the same way Sinatra did.