Internationally-renowned vocalist Josh Groban recently released a brand-new live CD/DVD on Reprise/143 Records. Directed by Hamish Hamilton, “Awake Live” captures Groban’s exhilarating performance at Salt Lake City’s Energy Solutions Arena before a sold-out crowd on August 28th, 2007. That stop was just one during his 81-city Awake World Tour, which visited North America, Europe, Australia, and the Philippines between February and October in 2007. In its review of the tour, the New York Times raved that Groban has “the power to knock the arena senseless.”

That such a powerful voice can come from such a slim man who still in many ways resembles the young boy who first appeared on Ally McBeal back in 2001, continues to amaze.  His rich baritone is like an instrument in  itself, and it is no wonder that all of his albums have sold in the millions worldwide. In addition to vocals, Groban is quite adept on piano and synthesizer and plays a mean set of drums.

The music is a rich mix of classics and original tunes and highly influenced by the musical styles Groban experienced in his travels through Africa. Instrumentation is done by violins, a cello, guitar, percussion and piano, and is an absolute treat to listen to. The second number on the DVD, “Mia” was backed up by classical guitar, one violin and the cello and was stunning.

“Lullaby”, which was written by Groban and Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews band, was inspired by Groban’s trip through Darfur, and while he sang, footage from that trip played on big screens behind him. Before singing the number, he spoke about the terrible conditions of poverty he saw in that country and how the people counter that with the richness of music and dance.

It is such a joy to watch a performer who so loves what he does. It is obvious in the way music moves through him, and it is obvious in the way he interacts with the other musicians and the audience. During the performance he went from one end of the stage to the other, touching fingertips with fans, and at one point, he even hugged a lady.

The final song on the DVD and the CD, “Awake” was dedicated to the fans. Groban thanked the fans there at Salt Lake for hosting his live recording and mentioned how honored he had been to sing at the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games held there in 2002. One line of the song is, “I’ll remember all the love we shared today,” and Groban sang it like he really meant it.

For the one or two people in the world who have not heard of Josh Groban, he is known as a classically influenced pop singer, and his albums are a mix of classics, soft pop, and original tunes. The CD and DVD come in a set and retail for $23.95

“Awake Live” is available Amazon

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