There’s a four-tier backdrop at the back of the stage, which eventually houses 34 musicians (not including the three backing vocalists) plus one conductor. “Birds flying high, you know how I feel,” Michael Bublé croons atop shimmering strings from the very top of the stage setting.
Wearing a suave blue suit, Bublé soon gallops down the stairs to stage level and we’re bewitched by his velvety timbre. Following Bublé’s spectacular arrangement of this classic song, three backing vocalists enter the stage space to lend their pipes to his own radio hit Haven’t Met You Yet.
Bublé is charismatic as hell and his between-song banter never disappoints. While telling us he enjoyed a Valentine’s Day dinner with his wife last night at an Italian restaurant he can’t seem to remember the name of, a rowdy punter suggests, “La Porchetta!” Incorrect. Bublé then continues on with his story and it turns out a dude called Dave joined their romantic dinner for two, uninvited, and remained at their table for quite some time. After we’re told it’s cameraman Barry’s birthday, a cake is brought out while Bublé leads us in a Happy Birthday singalong for the cameraman who has worked with him for 16 years. A dramatic version of My Funny Valentine, which Bublé describes as “murderous”, follows and props to this magnificent orchestra.
When Bublé asks whether there are any aspiring singers in the house, Lorraine’s friends dob her in from the super-fan pit between stage and catwalk. It turns out Lorraine is a singing teacher and while she struggles to think of a song to sing, a random Italian lady hilariously suggests she sing the Australian national anthem. But Lorraine chooses (and nails!) Never Enough from The Greatest Showman OST before Bublé takes a selfie of the two of them using her phone. After Bublé expresses interest in hearing Australia’s national anthem, the audience obliges and soon enough we’re all on our feet singing Advance Australia Fair. Bublé says our stirring rendition gave him goosebumps.
“After Bublé expresses interest in hearing Australia’s national anthem, the audience obliges…”
One of Bublé’s trumpeters is given the opportunity to take lead vocals on You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You and knocks it outta the park, utilising the catwalk and closing out the song with a trumpet solo.
Throughout the evening, Bublé certainly gets his steps in and constantly reaches out to hold fans’ hands and connect with as many finger tips as possible.
We learn that Bublé’s grandpa, who instilled in him a love of music, passed away just before Christmas last year aged 92 and he recalls sitting on the floor of his grandfather’s living room listening to records by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. When Bublé was just 16 his grandfather – a plumber – would sneak him into nightclubs and trade his services to give his beloved grandson an opportunity to sing on these stages. Fly Me to the Moon is then dedicated to Bublé’s grandpa. Bublé then endeavours to take us back to where it all started by assembling a mini-orchestra on the circular stage at the end of the catwalk to perform a selection of sublime covers including Buona Sera Signorina and Just a Gigolo.
Back on the stage proper, Bublé’s main set closer Cry Me a River is an absolute showstopper thanks to this version’s innovative arrangement, which is perfectly executed by the orchestra, and his impressive vocal control.
Some punters leave the arena at this point to avoid hectic car park exit queues, but Bublé ain’t done yet and early leavers clearly don’t know what they’re missing! While introducing the final song of the night, Bublé references how connected he feels to his fans and tells us it was painful to watch Australia’s recent bushfire devastation from afar. Then with tears in his eyes, Bublé touchingly delivers Always on My Mind, channelling Elvis. The audience claps wildly while he sustains a note for an impossibly lengthy period of time to close out the show in memorable, poignant fashion.