25TH FEBRUARY 2019
The man best known for the inspirational anthem, “You Raise Me Up”, performed for his fans in Singapore for the first time on 25 February at The Star Theatre, The Star Performing Arts Centre.
It was a Monday evening, with work and school commitments for most the next day.
But for Josh Groban’s concert, tickets were snapped up by 5,000 people who packed the auditorium.
The night started off on a high as many families and friends enjoyed dinner and conversation at the numerous dining establishments at The Star Vista, before making their way up to the theatre in a smooth and orderly manner.
They were then treated to what is probably one of the most moving, uplifting and engaging performances in Singapore in recent memory.
Accompanied by his top-notch touring band, as well as an orchestra and choir comprising locals, Josh, who has sold over 25 million records worldwide, had his audience in his grip for the duration of his 90-minute concert.
The 17 songs he chose to sing in Singapore were the highlights from his 21-year career and many were familiar to his Singapore fans.
On the song which opened the concert which he launched into once he stepped onto stage in black jeans and a black jacket, one of his fans, a piano teacher, said “I felt like flying with joy when he started with Pure Imagination from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
He also sang his two of his most popular songs – “You Raise Me Up”, a song which has been used widely for events from weddings to business retreats, and “To Where You Are”.
Crucially, his voice is better in real-life than it is in recordings.
Pitch-perfect, powerful and hauntingly beautiful, The Star’s superb sound system amplified the beauty of Josh’s voice, enabling them to savour every nuance and whisper of his vocal prowess.
At the same time, live video feeds broadcast close-ups of Josh’s facial expressions onto the LED screen transforming the huge auditorium into an intimate and cosy setting for his ballads.
One of the highest points of the evening was when he sang “Bring Him Home”, a song from the Les Misérables musical which he recorded in his Stages album.
Accompanied by just a piano, one could hear a pin drop in the audience as many sat in their seats with tears in their eyes and smiles on their faces. When he finished, they roared.
But what made the concert more than a vocal showcase was how Josh prefaced each song with beautiful stories about why the song is special.
These stories resonated with the audience.
Brimming with energy, he appeared at times like a motivational speaker.
Striding around the stage, he introduced the song River which he co-wrote, from his latest Bridges album, by saying, “We don’t talk enough about mental health and diseases that are hidden like depression. These are silent killers. This was a song that I wrote during a particularly dark time.
“If you understand what these feelings are, pledge with me that you have the courage to take that step with me, towards the light.”
At other times, laughter rippled through the audience as he was in stand-up comedian mode. Recounting how he was first talent-spotted at the age of 13 by a music teacher who noticed the exceptional vibrato in his voice, he enacted the scene, role-playing his teacher and mimicking himself with his high, unbroken little-boy voice.
“My mum had never heard me sing before and she was in the audience, bawling, tears rolling down her face. A kid who had always given me crap came up to me the next day and said, ‘You got the voice of an angel bro’. He fist-bumped me! When I won that guy over, I thought, this must be it,” he said, on the moment he realized he was destined to sing.
In his concert, he managed to communicate the story of his life and his music effortlessly.
And it was this engagement, with charm, music and stories that made all the difference to his audience.
The night ended on a special note as Josh’s crew wheeled out a birthday cake for him. He turns 38 on 27 February 2019. What an awesome night it was to many who certainly hope it won’t be 21 years till they meet again!
Photo Credits: Warner Music Singapore / Aloysius Lim