Sound Scene Express

Josh Groban Thrills at the Pavilion

soundsceneexpress August 3, 2016 No Comments on Josh Groban Thrills at the Pavilion

Josh Groban
w/ Sarah McLachlan
First Niagara Pavilion
August 2, 2016

By Kellie Gormly

When Sarah McLachlan completed her set that opened up Tuesday night’s Josh Groban concert, we in the audience thought that the angelic-voiced singer had let us down by skipping what is probably her best-known song: “Angel.”

And then later, during Groban’s set at the First Niagara Pavilion, he and McLachlan gave us something even better: They both sang “Angel” together, as a duet. It was an especially heavenly moment during a lovely and mellow evening in Burgettstown, leaving us feeling like we were wrapped “in the arms of the angel.”

With such classy singers, who usually perform at venues the likes of Heinz Hall and the Benedum Center, the First Niagara Pavilion was a very peculiar choice of location. Outdoor concerts like this usually host rowdy hard-rock and country concerts with big drinking and tailgating crowds. But not on this night, when Groban’s audience packed only the assigned-seat pavilion area; the lawn area was closed. The environment was mellow, with an older and mild-mannered crowd. Groban commented about how the outdoor breeze felt good, compared to his indoor shows. That was a benefit and bonus as a novelty; still, Groban’s and McLachlan’s shows seem a better fit for fine-arts venues, or Consol Energy Center.

Pop-classical singer Groban – who briefly attended Carnegie Mellon University many years ago, and did some reminiscing about Pittsburgh – opened his set with “Pure Imagination” of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” fame. The musical/movie theme from his recent album “Stages” continued with favorites like “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line,” and the encore “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Groban’s and McLachlan’s music frequently produces goose bumps in the audience, and the simple response “Wow.” On Groban’s side, one of the biggest “Wow” moments came from his singing of the French song “Le Temps Des Cathedrales” from “Notre Dame de Paris.” Backed by screen images of an elegant cathedral, the song provides a spiritual experience complete with goose bumps.

Josh Groban Setlist First Niagara Pavilion, Burgettstown, PA, USA 2016

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