SALT LAKE CITY; "In the Round" Josh Groban concert; one night only; 2 hours 30 minutes (with Judith Hill from "The Voice" opening)
SALT LAKE CITY — There's no denying Josh Groban has the pipes for the beautiful songs he bounces off the rafters in the arena.
The effect is lush and gorgeous, a seemingly effortless surround sound, and then he turns on the power.
It sweeps one away. It's breathtaking and dramatic.
Friday night, he wowed a crowd of fans who had bought out the arena with standout cuts from his latest album, "All That Echoes," and high-energy favorites like "Voce Existe Em Mim" from previous successes like his "Illuminations" CD.
And he gave his all as he bounded onto the stage in white shoes and circled the crowd throughout the night on his racetrack stage for 90 solid minutes and two encores.
He sang, he joked, he played the piano, he worked the drums, all the while making sure the crowd knew he liked performing in Salt Lake City. (He did admit, however, that the 2002 Winter Olympics were darn cold.)
Groban was warm and funny and played the house with charm. Some outtakes: He acknowledged that some of the men probably came along to please their girlfriends. He answered dumb audience questions: Tips on teen driving? "Don't."
His vocal range was as impressive as it's ever been. He sang with emotion and heart. He didn't hold back, even though before the concert he had been on voice rest.
He shared the stage midway with Judith Hill and brought back the memory of his long-ago appearance on the Grammys singing "The Prayer" with Celine Dion.
The magical color in his voice rewarded his fans for their investment in tickets as he moved from favorites like "Vincent" and the "starry, starry, night" to the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian ballads he loves to include.
This is one of those concerts that makes simple listening to the CD at home insufficient.
You gotta see Groban live.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.