Michael Bolton's fans had a great time at the Salt Lake City stop on his concert tour on Saturday night, hootin' and hollerin' and screamin' and stompin'.
Whether Bolton himself had any fun was less evident.In a basically mechanical appearance before a big crowd at the Delta Center, Bolton did what he does best - he belted out his hits and the old hits he's covered in recent years in an 18-song set that lasted an hour and 45 minutes.
The former category included everything from "Soul Provider" to "Steel Bars," "How Can We Be Lovers?" to "Time, Love and Tenderness."
Bolton even included the crowd-pleasing "Love is a Wonderful Thing," the subject of continued litigation. (He lost a recent court decision in a suit that claimed he plagiarized the song.)
And as to the old songs, he sounded wearily defiant of his critics, saying "If I think it's a great song and I think you're going to want to hear it, I record it. It's as simple as that."
As simply as that, he emoted to "(Sittin' on the) Dock of the Bay," "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Georgia On My Mind," among others.
The concert itself was vintage Bolton - lots of scenery, lights and smoke, the three backup singers dressed like bimbos, a sudden appearance in the back of the arena, even fireworks.
As Bolton noted, he's been on the road a long time. But despite the fact that it seemed like just another stop for him, the crowd loved it. The largely female audience screamed its approval, cheering Bolton's every move.
They shrieked when he shrugged off his blazer. They laughed at some truly bad comedy.
They even put up with the Delta Center, an acoustical chamber of horrors. Bolton and his band often overpowered the sound system, which often made Bolton's lyrics unintelligible and turned the band into little more than noise.
Bolton and Co. might have benefited from toning the noise level down a bit. His opening act, Celine Dion, has an even more powerful voice than his, and with somewhat less volume had less trouble with the sound system.
And, seemingly, a lot more fun. Dion was simply smashing in a 10-song, 45-minute opening set, wow-ing the crowd with that incredible voice.
And she handled everything from ballads to songs that rocked the house with equal ease.
As an opener, she got two standing ovations and made a curtain call to a crowd that obviously wanted an encore.
The French-Canadian singer elicited a huge response for such songs as "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?," the theme from "Beauty and the Beast," "Love Can Move Mountains" and her chart-topping ballad "The Power of Love." And she was just as excited as the audience, obviously reveling in the response.