Alicia / Arena / Live Music / Midtown

Michael Bublé, Madison Square Garden

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When my cousins were in elementary school, my aunt and I used to torture them in the car by making them listen to Michael Bublé’s music.  To typical 8 and 10-year-olds, his music is terrible and boring.  To a mother in her late 30’s, his music was heaven.  My aunt, who’s more like a sister and only 12 years older than me, is the first person I know who was listening to his music, and she has been in love with Michael and his crooning since he first hit the scene in the early 2000’s.  (She’s also a serious fan of Harry Connick Jr., thus I’ve always said my aunt was meant to be a housewife in the 1940s.)  Soon after her initial introduction in 2004, his stardom was rapidly growing and it made its way to my mother in Michigan – an elementary school principal in her mid-50’s.  Fast forward 10 years and Michael is bigger than ever. Selling out concerts around the world and wooing women every night with his smooth voice and charismatic performance.

I’ve had the good fortune to work with Michael several times over the past year while on duty for Sesame Street – Cookie Monster was in his Christmas Special, Michael taped a song for our 45th season of Sesame Street in April, and finally, he performed at Sesame Workshop’s annual gala honoring our founder, Joan Ganz Cooney, this past May.  I think we’re #family now.  Let me tell you, he’s the real deal.  Genuine, funny, gracious, talented and extremely generous.  In my line of work, I don’t like to ask for favors that much, I’d rather give them out – as Rachel would say “it raises my spirit.”  But when I saw that Michael was coming to Madison Square Garden on July 7th and 8th, I knew I had to ask for tickets.  My mom, my aunt and my best friend (also a huge Bublé fan) needed to see him.

About a month before his concert, I started to get requests from our puppeteers at Sesame to see if I could get them tickets too – they don’t ask for favors that much either, so I was happy to oblige.  Needless to say – I was asking for 16 tickets – yes 16 tickets.  I basically stalked and offered to sell my future firstborn child to Michael’s tour manager – but he is awesome, and didn’t want any favors in return and he hooked us up.

My mom flew to NYC from Michigan and my aunt took Metro North into the city and we were ready!! After an excellent dinner at Koi, we arrived at MSG a little saucy and ready for some Bublé.  I’ve sat in the seats that performers give out at MSG before – they’re usually on the side of the stage – meaning they’re not the best.  Not Michael’s guests.  My group and six of the puppeteer requests (the other six went the next night) were in the 12th row and pretty much center stage. It was amazing.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better – I got a call from Michael’s tour manager – it was my mom’s turn to meet Michael.  Yay! About 5 minutes before he started his concert, a small group of us made our way backstage and visited with him for a couple minutes.  As you can see in the smiles on our faces, everyone was blissfully happy.  As we walked back to our seats, my mom told literally every person she passed “we just met him…we just met him!!” Cute.

Unlike our usual nights out for Crushing Vinyl, I didn’t take any notes, I was too engrossed in my mom and aunt’s happiness.  So I don’t know the set list and everything just melded together.  He sang his usual crooner standards that I love and all of his original songs like “Home,” “Haven’t Met You Yet,” and “It’s a Beautiful Day.” He makes each person in the crowd feel as if he’s speaking directly to you individually with his casual cheekiness and connection to his music and fans. His band is amazing.  He travels the world with one of the best brass ensembles ever constructed, and the moving stage is perfectly choreographed to every note they blow out.

Towards the end of the night, Michael moved to a stage located at the back of MSG and his A cappella and beatboxing R&B/Motown-inspired opening act, Naturally 7, took the stage with him.  (If you read my bio – you know this was huge for me.)  They sang a few amazing songs together – once again proving that Michael can sing just about anything.

I guess this post is more of a story, and less of our usual review.  It’s hard to say anything negative about an international superstar who’s just performed his 114th show of the current tour he’s on.  It’s like second nature to Michael by this time, but that didn’t show in his energy level or his showmanship as both were topnotch.  We all walked away completely blown away.  That night, I won the daughter/niece/friend/colleague of the year award and thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it while doing so.

Remembering back to the times in the car, little did my cousins know that when they weren’t looking, my aunt and I used to turn around and watch them sing ALL of Michael’s songs and they knew each of them word-for-word. I wish I had a smart phone back then so I could show their current selves the videos.  (I’m not sure they’d be happy.) But, I guess Michael’s singing really does reach people of all ages – even those who “pretend” to be tortured by it.

Alicia’s Takeaway: It was a magical night on all levels.  Spirits were raised.  And to you Andre – if you ever read this – we are eternally grateful for yours and Michael’s generosity.

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