SHOWMAN: Under the Bublé spell
It takes a special kind of performer to convert a non-believer into a fanatic. I went to a Michael Bublé performance last weekend with neutral feelings towards the crooner.
But in under 90 minutes, I not only became a big fan, I would have gone home with him had he asked.
His opening act, Naturally 7, had the audience jumping out of their seats. The seven-piece (as the name suggests) band wasn't, in actual fact, a band. At least not in the traditional sense. They were, essentially, beatboxers - perfectly imitating the sound of the drums, the harmonica, the saxophone and the electric guitar using only their mouths. Not only impressive, it was fun and high-energy stuff.
Bublé himself appeared on stage rather dramatically.
Behind the stage curtain, the opening notes of his stunning take on Julie London's Cry Me a River started. The curtain opened, and there stood, clad in a suit, Bublé, member of the Rat Pack born a few decades too late.
Handsome and stylish, his voice was even more potent, emotive and incredible live. But it was more than just his chops that made the show memorable.
Bublé is quite the showman and when he admitted to the crowd that as a child he had wanted to be an actor, it came as no surprise. By the time he'd revealed that childhood fantasy, most of us had figured it out.
His banter with the audience was refreshing, an essential part of the show. He chatted with us as if we were friends at a dinner party. He had the audience hanging on to his every word.
"I had seen so many movies about this place, but I never knew what Jurassic Park looked like until I came here," he said of Sun City, where he was performing.
When he told the audience that he had married, there were some boos, to which he responded, pulling a zap sign: "Thank you so much."
Smiling, he continued: "You just totally took away my sentimental moment. You just booed me for getting married. Half of you booed me. The other half are men sitting with their girlfriends and wives saying, 'Oh please, he's so gay'.
"If I was gay, I would tell the whole world about it. And I'd be excited too. I'd be proud of it. And then I would bang that guy right there," he said, pointing to a middle-aged man in the front row.
He promised the audience that, since this was the last show of his 182-performance tour, it was going to be "loose".
"There's going to be s**t happening that never happens before."
It was great.
From anecdotes about Ferris Bueller's Day Off to Michael Jackson impersonations (dance moves and all), Bublé dazzled and bewitched the audience. Couples danced, women screamed, young girls blushed and men smiled as one man's energy was injected into a few thousand people.
We all sang along loudly to, among others, Home, Everything and Haven't Met You Yet. We didn't sound as good as Bublé, but we didn't care because we were having fun - and so was the man on stage.