Sunday, October 05, 2008

A night to remember

I never will forget where I was the first time I heard it.

Beaver Creek Road, Powell, 2004, coming back from a doctor's appointment.

"Another summer day has come and gone away in Paris and Rome, but I want to go home..."

The voice hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't Sinatra. It wasn't Dino Martin. But it sounded like them, and yet it also had a contemporary edge.

Enter Michael Buble.

This phenomenal Canadian talent brought his big band and quirky, charming personality to Thompson-Boling Arena tonight. You will accuse me of hyperbole, but this proved to be one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Buble swung and danced his way through the Great American Songbook, paying homage to Frankie ("I've Got the World on a String") and Dean ("You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You") and all the greats. And he threw in some classic soul (Billy Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones") and some Eisenhower era groove (Peggy Lee's "Fever") and a little something for everybody.

And he joked with the crowd, made fun of us in a good-natured way and promised to come back to Knoxville. He even shook hands with UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

It was old-fashioned entertainment in the best sense of what that word used to mean. What a treat to see so many young faces in the crowd, too. It gives me hope that good music might just stand the test of time after all.

The best part? Well, one special moment had to be "Home," Buble's first American No. 1 single, the song that almost caused me to have a wreck on the highway four years ago. Perhaps the best of his original tunes, though, is the simply divine "Lost," which became one of my favorite songs tonight.

But, no, the best part, the "sends chills up the back of your spine" moment, came when Buble brought out his opening act, Naturally 7 (check these guys out NOW!) to work magic on Hoagy Carmichael's great contribution to popular music, "Stardust." He said the song is going to find its way onto the next album; I wish I could buy it on iTunes tonight.

Wow.

Then Buble closed with Leon Russell's "A Song for You" ("And when my life is over, remember when we were together...") and none of us wanted to find our way back to the car.

We knew we'd been in the presence of pure, raw talent, the kind that only comes around once in a blue moon.

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