Michael Bolton – River Rock Casino – February 18, 2011
Gone is the Fabio-esque long flowing mane of hair so synonymous with Michael Bolton of the 80’s and 90’s but the voice and the hits live on.
Stopping in Vancouver for a sell-out show at the River Rock Casino Theatre (in addition to a private charity fundraiser the evening prior) Michael Bolton certainly cannot be accused of limiting himself to a single genre. Over his lengthy career, beginning in a hard rock band, he has recorded R&B, Contemporary Pop, Classic pop, Standards, Swing, Opera and his career is still going to there’s ample time for a few more genres…perhaps Bolton Goes Country is in the future?During this 2 hour show the audience was treated to all these genres, showcasing the diversity of Bolton’s musical range and skill. Having just an image of the 80’s Michael Bolton as a frame of reference, I was quite impressed with what was presented. Especially surprising and welcome was his visit to the Blues…he plays a mean Blues guitar! Following was a trip into Swing and Opera with a set of classic Sinatra standards and a very capable rendition of Nessun Dorma, which he’d performed with the great tenor Luciano Pavarotti. After a short interlude, in which band-member, saxaophonist and successful recording artist in his own right, Michael Lington performed his own single “You & I”,
Michael Bolton returned, having changed out of a suit and into jeans and a t-shirt, to the auditorium in the middle of the audience. This began a set of the best know Michael Bolton songs, “How Can We Be Lover”, “Georgia On My Mind”, “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”… Singing in the midst of the audience, I’m sure hearts of more than a few of the ladies present skipped a beat…although judging by the demographic in the theatre this might not have been a healthy option. A number of ladies had brought flowers with them to present to Bolton, sadly he hasn’t quite reached the Tom Jones status of receiving panties, one younger lady in the front row was nearly overwhelmed with excitement when he pointed at her…she timidly presented him with her flowers. This seemed to draw her out of her shell and she kept on dancing at the stage, grabbing her friends to join in. Earlier, the slightly overzealous River Rock security ‘removed’ a younger lady (and her glass of Chardonnay) from the edge of the stage. Now the floodgates seemed to be open as more and more ladies (and a couple of men) rushed the stage and I don’t think any security dared face the wrath of a women refused the chance to get up close to Michael Bolton and his tight t-shirt. Dancing with great enthusiasm the wildly diverse audience was like a cross section of dance and fashion styles from the last 30 years. I think more than a few “Girls Night Out” were in the audience and they seemed to work themselves into a frenzy whereas those who came with a husband/boyfriend had equally good of a time dancing on their own. It was an excellent night for people watching, my friend and I were so mesmerized by one particular lady in pink dancing up a storm that we ended up forgetting to watch the show onstage. All the positive feelings in the room translated into a very entertaining evening, no matter what you say or feel about Michael Bolton it was great to see so many people having such a good time. That ability to know exactly how to win over the whole audience is the difference between a good performer and great