Concert review

Groban gives Sprint Center crowd inspiration, laughter

Updated: 2013-10-20T04:40:53Z

By TIMOTHY FINN

The Kansas City Star

About 30 minutes into his show at the Sprint Center on Wednesday, Josh Groban joked about a group that held a protest outside the arena beforehand: “If I’m offensive, they’ve run out of people.”

Nothing about his 100-minute set was even slightly offensive, not even his attempt at juggling, which ended poorly.

Groban, 32, is touring on his latest album, “All That Echoes,” a collection of original songs, many of which he co-wrote, plus a few covers. He opened with “Brave,” the album’s opening track, a typical Groban anthem: one that inspires and shows off the operatic baritone that has made him famous for nearly 14 years.

He followed that with the lament “February Song,” a track off his “Awake” album, now almost 7 years old.

The crowd wasn’t huge by arena standards — about 5,500 were in the place — but it was loud. Groban gave them plenty to cheer about. He performed on a stage in the middle of the arena with an eight-piece band plus horn and string sections comprising local musicians he’d hired for the night. He also enlisted Kantorei of Kansas City, a 16-piece chorale, for a few songs at the end of the show.

Each musician in the band had a moment in the spotlight, including trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom on “Un Alma Más” and pianist Ruslan Sirota on the lovely cover of Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress.” During the instrumental version of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” Groban put down the microphone and played drums. The choir joined him on the cover of Stevie Wonder’s “I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever),” which added some much-appreciated soul to the feast.

He sent the crowd home with his most earnest and inspirational anthem, “You Raise Me Up,” urging everyone to sing along with him and the chorale.

He’ll be singing that song until he decides to stop performing. But, no doubt, he’ll still be wisecracking plenty, too.

Give him credit: He has figured out there’s more than one way to entertain a big crowd, without being offensive.

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/phinnagain. Read more from him at our music blog, Back to Rockville, at KansasCity.com.

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