SUCH IS Michael Buble’s hold over his adoring fans, he knows he can even get away with having a dig at Cheryl Cole.
The Canadian crooner was in Leeds with his spectacular Christmas Tour and, having arrived with Fever amid lavish pyrotechnics, quickly set about putting the nation’s mind at rest.
There had been a public backlash the previous evening after Cole and Leeds’s own Mel B had failed to stand and applaud Buble following his rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside with Idina Menzel on X Factor.
But, trying not to smirk too much, he explained there had been no ill-feeling and maybe he had been staring too much at Cole thinking about how he’d like to “pluck out her beautiful teeth and put on a necklace for his wife.”
With that, he was straight into an unrelenting set full of swagger and poise, that effortless cool he has managed to master over a decade of such performances all the time attired in that dinner suit.
Sliding across the stage to Haven’t Met You Yet, leaning into Try A Little Tenderness, rising again for the ever-popular Home or making a nod to his hero Van Morrison, Buble had the sold-out arena hanging on every note, nod and smile.
This show – it is the best way to describe Buble’s performance – had the full works with his brilliant big band colleagues bringing further class and entertainment as he continued on with Feeling Good and Cry Me A River.
The biggest surprise, though, was when Naturally 7, the fascinating ‘Vocal Play’ capella band from New York, returned from their supporting set to appear on a stage halfway up the main stand.
Buble sidestepped his way into the crowd and up through the throngs – and probably thongs – to give those at the top end of the seats an unexpected closer look at the action.
Here he segwayed into everything from Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams’ Get Lucky to a little Jackson Five’s Who’s Loving You.
When he returned to the main stage, All You Need Is Love was still making the arena bounce and, through almost two hours, surprisingly there was just the one Christmas song.
But pity the man in Spain who didn’t answer his phone when, with more than 13,000 fans waiting, Buble told his wife to FaceTime him. He will be in trouble. More than Cole anyway.
Gig date: December 8