Michael Bublé Reached ‘Higher’ 5 Times During His ‘Higher’ Tour In L.A.


Michael Bublé conducted some market research when he brought his “Higher” tour to Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles on Friday (Sept. 23). He inquired as to how many people were seeing him perform for the first time.


When a sizable portion of the audience indicated that they, too, were first-timers, Bublé joked about what their expectations of him must be — the Christmas guy who would sing a set of ballads and polite toe-tappers like “Haven’t Met You Yet.” His performance shattered those assumptions. It’s a large, wildly varied show, and Bublé is a master of the stage.

Long ago, the term “Great American Songbook” came to refer to a specific strain of American music — the timeless songs written by the likes of Cole Porter and Irving Berlin between the 1930s and 1950s. Bublé performed some of those songs during his set, but he represents the “New Great American Songbook” — a diverse range of songs and styles ranging from the Latin rhythms of “Sway” to the exhilarating disco smash “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” (RIP, Barry White). Bublé included songs by Nat “King” Cole and Dean Martin, as well as Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and Marvin Gaye. And why not, seemed to say Bublé. Let us enjoy the full spectrum of popular music rather than focusing on a subset of it.


Bublé seemed to enjoy his role of introducing his audience to genres they may not have known before on the “Higher” tour, named after his ninth Reprise studio album, which was released six months ago. “Enjoy your first big-band song,” he said before playing “When You’re Smiling.”

In some ways, Bublé is this generation’s Barry Manilow. Both actors are personable and hammy, and they make good use of self-deprecating humour. (When Bublé caught a glimpse of himself on the video screens, he exclaimed, “I look like Kermit the Frog.”) Both developed a reputation for showmanship, allowing them to headline major venues whether or not they had a current hit record.


Bublé is as charming as you’d expect from his numerous TV appearances, but he uses far more vulgar language than NBC or PBS allow. The Christmas guy apparently knows a few four-letter words.

Here are five times Bublé went “higher” during his Los Angeles tour stop:

Increasing the quantity “I haven’t yet met you”

Bublé’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 hit remains “Haven’t Met You Yet.” The 2009 single, co-written with frequent collaborators Alan Chang and Amy Foster, has the sing-along quality of Manilow’s 1977 hit “Daybreak.” However, Bublé has beefed up the song’s arrangement to sound more like Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (which was among the songs piped into the arena as people were taking their seats). A horn solo and the “love, love, love” chorus were welcome Beatlesque touches on the song.

Quieting the naysayers

There was a steady murmur of chatter from the audience as Bublé sang “Smile,” the lovely ballad written by Charlie Chaplin and popularised by Nat “King” Cole. Bublé paused his performance and said, jokingly but firmly, “I hear people talking.” I feel like I’m getting in the way of their good time. If you don’t shut up, I’ll sing this s— even slower.” This is almost certainly going to be a recurring gag in his show. Bublé had introduced the song by asking the audience to respect and revere the song, which set up this pay-off. And, unfortunately, today’s audiences frequently behave as if they’re watching TV in their living rooms, so Bublé can usually count on hearing audience chatter. But, hopefully, he persuaded at least a few audience members that there is a time and place for chit-chatting and a time and place for showing a little respect.

Taking it all the way down

While the majority of the show was upbeat, Bublé slowed things down for his 2005 hit “Home,” his first Hot 100 hit. He sat on stage and sang the ballad, which he co-wrote with Chang and Foster, with little accompaniment. The song’s strong melody lends itself well to this stripped-down treatment.

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