Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 | 3:11 a.m.
Singer Michael Buble, Burnaby, British Columbia’s favorite son, skillfully played the part of charismatic crooner and comedian on Saturday night in his sold-out “To Be Loved” tour stop at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Looking sharp in a classic tuxedo with a black bow tie and with scruff on his face, the 38-year-old husband and first-time father commanded the stage in his nearly two-hour concert that was equal parts entertainment/showmanship and talent.
Buble is a fine-looking man and a smooth-as-silk singer in the vein of Frank Sinatra and Harry Connick Jr., but he downplays — or deflects — from those qualities with his sometimes-racy humor (of one band member, he quipped, “He must work at Subway because he turned my six-inch into a foot-long) and child-like antics — throughout the evening, he made funny faces and jumped up and down like a hyper child who just chugged a six pack of Coke behind his parents’ backs.
But mix it all together — the voice, the sense of humor, the looks and the theatrics — and Buble, who last performed at MGM Grand Garden Arena in August 2010, is a great entertainer from start to finish and never lost his infectious charm and momentum.
Buble’s setlist, supported by a stellar and thrilling 13-member band, and later an all-female string section from Phoenix: “Fever,” “Haven’t Met You Yet,” Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness,” “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Moondance,” “Come Dance With Me,” “Feeling Good,” Sinatra’s “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Everything,” “That’s All,” his new song “Close Your Eyes,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’, ” Eddy Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me” made popular by Ray Charles, “Home” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
Plus, Motown classics “Who’s Loving You” and “I Want You Back,” then The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody,” The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” (at the end of which heart-shaped confetti rained on the arena), Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love” and his recent hit “It’s a Beautiful Day.” The encore: “Cry Me a River,” “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “This Song’s for You,” the final lines of which he delivered a cappella and without a microphone. It was raw and an incredible way to end the concert.
Buble gave props to his band, Team Buble, aka North American Fire Power, and their names flashed on the LED screen as he named them: Jumanne Smith, Jacob Rodrigues, Josh Brown, Jean Caze, Tim Green, Nick Vayenas, Jake Saslow, Justin Ray and Marion Felder.
An unexpected moment: When Buble walked offstage from the front of the arena and into the crowd toward the catwalk on the floor while singing “Get Lucky,” yours truly inadvertently gave him a high five and touched his wedding ring.
Terrific opening act Naturally 7 — seven talented black artists — combined infectious harmonies with beat boxing — the imitated guitar was especially impressive during Coldplay’s “Fix You.”
Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery of Buble at MGM Grand Garden Arena; Donoghue also was at the arena the night before for the sold-out concert of Buble’s fellow Canadian, rapper Drake.
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
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MGM Grand, a AAA Four Diamond resort, offers 5,044 rooms and suites.
MGM Grand features KÀ by Cirque du Soleil; Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club; and world-class entertainment at the Grand Garden Arena and Hollywood Theatre.
The resort offers signature restaurants by celebrity chefs including Tom Colicchio’s Craftsteak, Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Fish House, Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill and Michelin three star and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Joël Robuchon.
As part of its ongoing “Grand Renovation,” MGM Grand has remodeled all rooms and suites in its main tower and is adding several new experiences to its lineup including Hakkasan Las Vegas Restaurant and Nightclub, a new upscale dining/nightlife concept (coming in April 2013).
MGM Grand also features a state-of-the-art, non-smoking conference center, the Grand Spa, Cristophe Salon, "CSI: The Experience" and an inviting pool complex featuring the tantalizing daylife of Wet Republic.
Upscale accommodations include The Mansion, an exclusive hotel within the hotel; the luxurious two-story SKYLOFTS at MGM Grand; and The Signature at MGM Grand, a luxury all-suite, non-gaming hotel located adjacent to the main resort.