i went to last night's concert expecting schmaltz, cheese and big tunes, and not much more. the manufactured singing quartet are not my usual cultural terrain. and i got the schmaltz and cheese (and knickers - carlos marin got what he asked for when i interviewed him a couple of weeks ago), including weirdly generic images of burning wedding gowns, ornate buildings and, most strangely, the four divos sitting in a dirty room with an extravagantly made up woman and two dogs.
but when those guys open their mouths, who cares about the cheese? sitting six feet of open air away from the divos as they ripped through amazing grace had me wiping away the tears. their voices are forces of nature, and it was a pleasure to hear them up close. so there's no depth, no artistic integrity.
here's my metro review, composed in the 20 minutes after the concert and before the deadline.
The blue strobe lights swept the packed Metro Centre last night, a giddy crowd awaiting the entrance of Il Divo. The rumble turned to a roar as the four singers entered from the back of the elegant stage and electrified the thousands of devotees with a powerful performance of Somewhere.
The international quartet belted out ballads to a backdrop of flaming wedding gowns, mysterious women and the deepest realms of the universe.
David Miller, the American, thanked Halifax for the weather.
“The last time we were here, we were buried in snow,” the tenor said.
Sounding like mountains serenading the sky, Il Divo worked through a mix of classical music and pop songs on the opening night of their North American tour. They added a few unrecorded (by them) numbers, including strapping Bridge Over Troubled Water to a Learjet and taking the old Simon and Garfunkel tune for a ride.
When Carlos Marin stepped forward, he had the crew turn on the house lights so he could check out “the beautiful women.”
“Did you miss me?” he asked. The roaring suggested yes. Just in case he hadn’t won them, he dedicated Mama to all the mothers in the house.
The Divos added a little Cancon with an air-shaking rip through Leonard Cohen’s classic Hallelujah.
Ahead of closing the show with a rousing rendition of My Way, Miller thanked the crowd, admitting that when Il Divo formed five years ago, the guys expected it to last a year or two.
“We’re still here because of you,” he said.
The stage went dark, but the lights stayed off as the jam-packed Metro Centre stomped and shouted for an encore.
They got it when Marin, Miller, Urs Buhler and Sébastien Izambard strolled back out for Amazing Grace, a very sweet sound indeed.