“I have travelled to many wonderful places around the world but the Middle East is somewhere that I have always wanted to perform.” Michael Bublé
So last week’s road trip to Dubai was to see multi-platinum selling Canadian singing sensation Michael Bublé and he really had a tough act to follow after we had seen the amazing Ed Sheeran concert (see Thinking Out Loud) the previous week. It was Bublé’s first time performing in the UAE as part of his long ‘To Be Loved’ concert world tour from the album of the same name, that started in London back in June 2013 and finishes today (22nd March) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dubai promoters Louder Entertainment took over the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Sports City for three days, with Bublé headlining the first two nights and fellow countryman and rapper Drake, playing on the third.
I have to say the enormous stadium didn’t really lend itself to a concert (terrible organisation by the promoters all round) as the grandstand seating felt a long way from the action and had some sound distortion and delay in some parts, but that seemed to be rectified as the concert progressed. The evening finally kicked off with the support act, the self-entitled ‘vocal play’ group Naturally 7 taking to the stage to warm-up the restless crowd. The all-male group from New York performed several distinctive R & B numbers a-cappella and threw in some beatboxing too, nice guys and a good sound but as it was nearing 10pm the audience just wanted to see the main event.
From the moment the four-time Grammy-winning artist Bublé walked on to the stage, amidst screams of delight from the mainly female crowd, he charmed the pants of us and the fact that it was now after 10pm was quickly forgotten and forgiven. Not only is he easy on the eye and looked ever so dapper in his regulatory black dinner suit and dickie bow, he has the voice of an angel, was endlessly charming and witty throughout, engaging the crowd (even from afar) between effortless renditions of his own tracks and covers of so many well-known classics. Swoon, Ed who?
It’s impossible not to love an evening filled with old school glamour, a fantastic big band sound coupled with Bublé’s crooning and continuous ad lib banter. He was especially surprised by a group of ladies in the front row who called themselves ‘The Bublettes’ and went down and made their day taking numerous selfies with them all (pure social media gold ), before he returned to the stage for a selfie with the entire crowd. Bublé told the crowd that he doesn’t do concerts, he throws a party and that’s what he did in Dubai and we were all his guests, he took the show off script a few times for more interaction with the audience and relayed stories of his family, their trip to Dubai and his social media.
He started with the cover of ‘Fever’ against a backdrop of pyrotechnics and ignited the crowd into a frenzy of singing and dancing. Next up was his popular single ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ and the full Bublé band appeared on moving sections of the stage from behind curtains. The throwback to the big band era continued with Try a Little Tenderness, his idol Sinatra’s You Make Me Feel So Young, Van Morrison’s Moondance, Nina Simone’s Feeling Good and even an Elvis Presley cover amongst others and then my favourite his classic some might say soppy, Home. Bublé took a seat on his high stool as he introduced his band one by one in the style of a sports team on the large screen, as their individual photos appeared he gave the crowd a short synopsis and funny quote or nickname.
He brought things more up to date with a cover of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky as he made his way through the crowd to join Naturally 7 on a second smaller raised stage at the back of the crowd in front of the VIP section. Together they sang some Jackson 5, Micheal Jackson, The Bee Gees and The Beatles songs which was accompanied by a flurry of confetti over the crowd. The encore brought show to its climax with the powerful Cry me A River and A Song For You. Bublé has a fantastic voice and his band were incredible but I would have preferred a more intimate setting (i.e. a venue suitable for a concert not a sporting event) like the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre where Sheeran and Bruno Mars have both played, but judging by the crowds adulation I think he was loved anyway.
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. As usual my concert photos were pretty terrible apart from the one of the stadium (2nd photo), so the rest of the photos are used courtesy of (in order) Louder Entertainment, The National, Gulf News, whatson.ae and Dubai Fountains from Michael Bublé’s own instagram account.