COLUMN: As Bublé Croons, St. Paul Swoons

Updated: 02/18/2014 9:55 AM By: Sarina Long

Michael Buble performs
Michael Buble performs

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Michael Bublé. He became a new dad to baby Noah on August 27, turned 38 this Monday and met with the women of The View and Good Morning America before playing to a packed house at the Xcel Energy Center Wednesday night. 

The Canadian crooner looked incredibly dapper in his black tux as he opened with Little Willie John's classic, "Fever." The night was filled with a great mix of songs from many eras, sprinkled among the Grammy-winners own hits such as "Everything" and "Home." 

He even brought a young fan on stage named Brett, who was celebrating her 17th birthday and serenaded her with a little help from the crowd. 

Bublé is easy on the eyes and the ears. He paid tribute to the Bee Gees, Otis Redding, Van Morrison among others, as well as a steady barrage of Frank Sinatra (see the full setlist below).

An all-female local string section, helped pay homage to Nat King Cole during "That's All."

Bublé and his 13-piece band made a stop in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center in support of his latest album, "To Be Loved." Its the third stop on the North American leg of the tour.

"This is my favorite place to be. I'm not just saying that," Bublé told fans. "This is the very beginning of the tour, so we're fresh." 

As Bublé introduced his horn section, a photo of each of the 8 male musicians popped up on a video screen with graphics including their name, hometown, college and "draft" date. It seemed more like a player's introduction at a sporting event than a nod to a backing band. 

Bublé was witty, keeping things light throughout his entire show. He was a little forward and suggestive at times but that didn't seem to matter. After all, it wouldn't be the first time the crooner's music sparked some romantic activity.

"We're gonna party tonight. We'll start things off nice and slow and romantic, but by the end of the night we'll all grind," Bublé joked.   

Bublé did plenty to endear himself to his local fans -- a brief stop at the Mall of America hours before his show -- as well as an initially misguided nod to the X's primary tenant. 

At one point Bublé told the crowd, "I wrote this one for (former Wild player) Marian Gaborik," which was met with a smattering of boos.   After starting the song, his new single "Close Your Eyes", he quickly stopped the band mid-stream. 

"Where's Lou Nanne?" Bublé asked quizzically.  

Upon spotting the Minnesota hockey legend in the suite level Bublé said, "I met Lou earlier and ... I love you, Lou ... but you gave me bad info. I should have said (current Wild star Zach) 'Parise', instead of saying 'Marian Gaborik'. I couldn't figure out why when I said Gaborik, all these people booed me," Bublé laughed, having regained the trust of his fans here in the hockey state.

Amid the laughs, there were also tears.

Bublé pointed out a few fans who couldn't fend off a bit of a cry as he sang his heartfelt ballad "Home" as a sweet video montage of families young and old appeared on the screen behind him.

He honored the Bee Gees again with "To Love Somebody" as part of a mini-set performed on a stage at the back of the arena. On the alternate set, he was joined by opening act, Natural 7, a group of seven a cappella singers.

The support band aided tributes to The Jackson 5 with "I Want You Back" and The Beatles, "All You Need is Love" which ended with a confetti shower of pink, white and red hearts.

The hour-and-forty-minute show wrapped with an amazing moment fans won't soon forget.

As the band tailed off and the curtain fell behind him, Bublé stepped away from his microphone to perform the final verse of his finale - the Leon Russell / Andy Williams gem "A Song For You" - completely on his own.  

There was no microphone, no band and near silence among the crowd as Bublé's amazing voice was left alone to fill the massive arena.

It was an a cappella finale that brought fans to their feet a final time.

"I love you for life, cause you're all friends of mine," the lyrics proclaimed, concluding with an ad-libbed, "I love you, Minny!"

Fan reaction: 

Monika and Ryan from Lakeville said, "We've always been a fan of the older Sinatra songs. Its nice to see a modern entertainer that actually has a throwback to songs like that."

"We're celebrating our wedding anniversary," Monika said. "We're really sad he didn't sing 'The Way You Look Tonight,' which was the couple's first dance song. The show was amazing!" 

Set List

1. 'Fever' (Little Willie John cover) 

2. 'Haven't Met You Yet'

3. 'Try a Little Tenderness' (Otis Redding cover) 

4. 'You Make Me Feel So Young' ( Frank Sinatra cover) 

5. 'Moondance' (Van Morrison cover)

6. 'Come Dance With Me' (Frank Sinatra cover) 

7. 'Feeling Good' (Nina Simone cover) 

8. 'I've Got the World On a String' (Frank Sinatra cover) 

9. 'Everything'

10. 'That's All' (Frank Sinatra cover) 

11. 'Close Your Eyes'

12. 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart' (Bee Gees cover) 

13. 'Home'

14. *'Get Lucky' (Daft Punk & Pharrell cover)

15. *'Who's Loving You' (Jackson 5 cover)

16. *'I Want You Back' (Jackson 5 cover)

17. *'To Love Somebody' (Bee Gees cover) 

18. 'All You Need Is Love' (The Beatles cover)

19. 'Burning Love' (Arthur Alexander / Elvis Presley cover)

20. 'It's a Beautiful Day'

*along with Natural 7 


21. Cry Me A River' (Julie London cover) 

22. 'Save the Last Dance For Me' (The Drifters cover) 

23. 'A Song for You' (Andy Williiams cover) 

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