| 11.4°C Dublin

Irish fans' crazy love for Buble

DUBLIN crowned a new King of the Swingers last night as Michael Buble drew 45,000 fans to the Aviva Stadium.

Traffic was at a standstill and bars were heaving in Ballsbridge as throngs of fans -- mainly female -- descended on the stadium for its debut concert.

The staggering crowds surprised nobody more than Buble himself. "This is ridiculous," he remarked, before explaining that he had previously only played to crowds of 20-25,000.

"Can you turn the lights on?" he continued, genuinely taken aback, "I want a moment to be proud."

Last night was the first of a sold-out two-night run for the Canadian crooner, best known for his modern interpretations of big band standards and his adoring female fanbase.

The show opened with a rousing James Bond-esque rendition of Cry Me A River, with the singer swaggering across the stage, switching on lights with a flick of his wrist and setting off fireworks with a stamp of his feet.



CHEERS

"I feel very fortunate to be the first entertainer to grace this place," he said afterwards, before quipping, "even though it's cold as s***."

A consummate showman, Buble performed many of the big-band songs for which he has become renowned, All Of Me and For Once In My Life among them. However, it was his own song, Haven't Met You Yet, which elicited the biggest cheers of the night.

The 35-year-old has a loyal fanbase in Ireland and he has an obvious love for us too.

"You're salt-of-the-earth people, so I know I can say this to you," he remarked in between songs. "If you're in London or New York, people are so far up their asses they don't know where they are. If you want to sing, sing. If you want to dance, dance."

He proved his affinity further when he sang Van Morrison's Crazy Love (the song is a favourite of the singer's and the name of his latest album) and Westlife's Home, the latter testing the vocal skills of almost all in attendance. The only moment when he didn't have the crowd completely in his thrall was when he announced that he was to marry his Argentine girlfriend, Luisana Loreley Lopilato de la Torre.

The news drew a chorus of boos from the females in the stadium and exasperated looks from the assembled men. Perhaps that's why Heartache Tonight was part of the setlist ...

The Aviva Stadium proved itself in its musical debut. Concert-goers were shown to their seats with military precision and the entirely seated venue was deceptively intimate. However, some seated towards the back of the stadium complained about the sound quality.

Perhaps aware of this, Buble weaved his way through the crowds mid-concert to perform from the sound box in the middle of the stadium.

"I want to take this time to apologise to the people who paid good money to sit at the front. These people paid good money too."

It was one of many showpieces that endeared him to the audience. He proved not just his vocal range and canny choice of showstoppers, but his natural charisma too.

hnews@herald.ie


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