Chunky, sparkly Christmas decorations dangled from the ceiling; a youthful orchestra – many lithe, glossy-haired female violinists – waited, instruments poised, for his arrival. Outside the temperatures were sinking down to a seasonal sub zero but in the art deco wonderland of the BBC Radio Theatre, it was toasty with feelgood anticipation.
Then, like one of Santa’s reindeer, Michael Bublé bounded joyfully onto the stage, shiny shoes and suit gleaming under the glitter, for a big, blast-off rendition of All of Me. How many singers can get an audience on its feet within the first couple of songs? And that’s an audience of all ages, both genders and no signs of inebriation.
Up on the sedate terraces of the press gallery, my plus one and I were itching to join the party that was happening down in the stalls, with Bublé as mischievous host trading jokes with fans, in between deliciously nostalgic covers of well-known classics, self-penned hits like Home and songs from his new album, Christmas.
Bublé live is as easy in his music as he sounds on CD. He once said that he only sings vowels and it’s true that his voice seems to envelop the lyrics. I’ll Be Home for Christmas was deep, slow and emotional without straining for sentiment, while Haven’t Met You Yet arrived effortlessly crisp and light.
The gorgeous Puppini Sisters came out to play for Jingle Bells in their nip-waisted suits and heels, hair artfully coiffed, voices sweetly trilling. Later, I bumped into this talented trio under the chandeliers of the Langham Hotel over the road and they told me tales of after-show laughs with Bublé, who can have them in hysterics with his impersonations of stars like Stevie Wonder.
Hopefully the red button audience (available to view from 10pm tonight for seven days) will get to see Bublé’s spontaneous send-up of Newley and Bricusse classic Feeling Good, all melancholy power for the radio and irreverent fun for those present.
But whether you’re a fan or not, if you want a bit of shamelessly festive fun, I urge you to pour yourself a glass of something nice, turn on the Christmas lights and surrender to the irresistible, frothy, musical delight that is Michael Bublé in Concert on BBC Radio 2, tonight at 8pm.