Thursday, October 22, 2015

Josh Groban Stages Tour

Josh Groban concert was sold out
Monday night I celebrated my upcoming birthday a little early as my husband gave me a ticket to see Josh Groban at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis. I have followed the career of this extremely talented young man since he appeared on the Rosie O'Donnell show in 1999 at the ripe old age of seventeen. His music reaches inside of me and plays my emotions like the strings of a classical guitar. It doesn't matter what song he sings, or what language he performs it in. I don't need to know the words because I can understand the feeling through the timbre of his voice. Despite owning quite a bit of his music, I have never seen him in concert. I don't really enjoy going to concerts in large venues because generally let alone not being able to see the performer, you usually cannot hear very well either. So when I heard that he was coming to the Peabody Opera House, which seats 3,500 and was renovated in 2011 with acoustics in mind, I felt like this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Jim would have been willing to come to the concert with me, though this is not the kind of music he listens to himself. But he would have gone for me. After all, he did stand in line at the Fox Theatre many years ago to purchase two tickets to Barry Manilow for my Christmas gift. As he says, it was him and all the gay guys there buying tickets on the biggest football Sunday of the year. (He later admitted that Barry did put on a good show.)

But luck was on his side this time because a friend of mine also wanted to see Josh's concert, so I sat online the second tickets became available and tried to buy two. I have never been to show at the Peabody, but the reviews pointed out the the balcony seats were quite tight. My friend has a bad knee, so I knew sitting upstairs was out of the question. However, the only decent (in my definition) seats on the main floor were in the VIP sections. There were two classifications of VIP - one that included a pre-event dinner, special lanyard, some souvenir items, and a download of the new "Stages" CD, and a second that included all of the above plus a meet and greet with Josh and tickets in the first five rows of the theater. As the tickets for that designation were nearly double the non-meet and greet tickets, we decided we didn't need to meet Josh in person. I got us two tickets in the eighth row, left center section, with the bonus of them being the two end seats so my friend could stretch out her leg in the aisle if need be. That was back in April.

one of Josh Groban's trucks
It seemed as though October 19th would never arrive, but suddenly it was here. As it turned out, my friend had surgery on her knee just last Thursday, so with her handicap hang tag in hand, I was able to score a parking spot at a handicap meter directly across the street from the Peabody. And it was free! When does that ever happen? It had been a worry to me, wondering where I would park so she didn't have to walk too far. The VIP check-in was very slick, and I ran our goodies back to my car so we didn't have to schlep them around the whole night. We received a welcome beverage, and made our way inside for the buffet. It was nothing stellar, but it was adequate I suppose. They had a cash bar, which we didn't imbibe in, and water and lemonade for the non-drinkers. There was a fun little custard dish for dessert. And, of course, some photo ops with posters of Josh (for those of us who did not buck up for the meet and greet.)

me with Josh Groban
the gifts

We chatted a bit with our table mates while waiting for the doors to the theater to open. One couple was from Germantown, Illinois, home of St. Louis Cardinals great Red Schoendienst. The rest of our table consisted of two young women from Lawrence, Kansas. The gals had the super VIP tickets and their seats were in row AAA. That put them right up next to the stage, as the orchestra would not be playing in the pit area so they were able to add extra rows of seats. I was running a tally in my head - tickets+driving expenses+hotel+meals+all the items they bought at the merchandise table = one huge bill to see Josh. I got the impression they have been to several of his concerts. But they were all giddy when they got back to our table following the meet and greet. They were able to chat with him for a couple of minutes prior to having a picture taken by Josh's staff. No selfies or other cameras were allowed at the meet and greet. Instead, the meet and greeters had to go to a website to download their photo later.

St. Louis, King of France near ceiling
When we finally took our seats, I was able to look around the theater for the first time. While it is quite pretty, it is hard for me not to compare it to the Fox Theatre. I love the intimacy of it, though, and I wish I would have taken time before the show to check out the art deco motif of the lower level of the building. We had entered through special VIP door, so I only caught a glimpse of the lower level on our way out when it was packed with concert-goers. Or concert-leavers, as was the case.

As for the show itself, it was every bit as good as I was anticipating. Josh is very comfortable with the audience, and he is actually quite funny. He humbly credits most of his success to his supportive family and the music and theater teachers he was exposed to in school. A majority of the musicians were from St. Louis, and the Webster University Chamber Choir sang with him on a couple of songs. I love that he turned to local talent for his show. Additionally, Tony award winner Lena Hall is accompanying him on this concert tour. She sang several duets with Josh, and then belted out a couple of tunes on her own. From start to finish, the concert was first class.

Music may fill our lives, but Josh Groban's music fills our hearts. You can quote me on that.

Josh Groban & Lena Hall

Josh Groban


Anonymous said...

I am so glad you got to go see him and that you enjoyed the concert. I think I would have enjoyed it as well.

Mrs. Wryly said...

Wow! What a great birthday gift! Amazing how it all worked out so well. Meant to be!