Michael Bublé, Van Morrison & Bananarama – Hyde Park – 13.07.18
It’s not often that the thought of women getting wet in the audience terrifies Michael Bublé — he’s made his career off the back of it — but it’s British Summer Time Hyde Park, it’s raining buckets and there’s more plastic ponchos around than on the log flume at Alton Towers… he’s nervously making calls to his manager asking “Are they still there? Are they leaving because of the rain?”…
“Oh Michael”, his manager replies, “They’re English and it’s raining — they’re all out here drinking!”
A reference to Love Island and an emotional wobble about coming back after so long (until he sees all our smiling faces), and it’s obvious he’s still very much in control of the weather, both above and below the waistline.
Indeed, Bublé claims the weather is actually Frank Sinatra crying in heaven because he’s worried people will forget about him after hearing Bublé’s powerful comeback. In his own words, vocally, “I’m better than ever before” — this kind of shameless self-congratulation would not normally go down well with a crowd of 55,000 Brits, but the only thing richer than his vibrato is his natural charm, so it works well and we let him have it. Also, you have to accept that someone who needs to hold his microphone two feet away so their high notes don’t overload the system has bragging rights. Especially when you think that Cheryl Cole mostly has her microphone set to ‘off’ for any of hers.
Hits are a-plenty (Everything, Haven’t Met You Yet etc.), but we also get a sneak peak at some new material — new album in the works, ladies and gentlemen — and a stunning cover of Where or When is revealed, with a complex and emotional string arrangement. We haven’t heard him make a song his own like this since Cry Me A River, and the part of me that spoils for a fight with anyone who says ‘he’s just a poor man’s Sinatra’ is wholly glad that we have one more complete remake in the arsenal.
I wasn’t even going to mention him during this piece, as during his support set for Michael, he couldn’t have been less interested in the audience, enunciating any of his own lyrics, or generally giving a shit, but while Bublé shows his confidence and swagger in swathes, he is also incredibly humble when talking about his hero, Van Morrison — to the extent he watched the whole support set to make sure he wasn’t doubling up by covering any of Morrison’s live set. Luckily Morrison’s half-baked performance didn’t include Crazy Love, so we’re treated to that before the biggest sing along of the evening, Home.
*Sidenote: despite having only known them from the Gillette Venus TV Advert, I was way more impressed with Bananrama‘s support set that night than Van Morrison‘s — they had way more energy, crowd interaction, and words you could understand. And I’ve never even shaved my legs.
The only thing that takes away from the magic of an evening with Bublé is the lack of power in BST’s speaker system, which somewhat cripples his big band, who from some distance we can only assume are playing their hearts out.
In short, even the quickest, heaviest downpour all summer couldn’t put a dampener on the crooner’s comeback. After all, sometimes a shower with Bublé in person is better than a Bublé bath with the CD on… here’s to many more comebacks, Michael.
Photo Credit: Dave J Hogan