(Jerome-Duncan Ford Theatre, Sterling Heights, MI - July 7th, 2005)
Singer/songwriter Michael Bolton had an extensive, though not very successful, career under his real name, Michael Bolotin, before emerging in the mid-'80s as a major soft rock balladeer.
These days, although not selling out his shows like he used to back through the '80s and early '90s, the man is still a powerful musical vocal presence. Tonight, in front of a third-full outdoor auditorium, Bolton ensured that fans of all his range of performances enjoyed their night - even if it meant that 95% of his set were covers!
Taking to the stage, dressed smartly head-to-toe in black (ala the Johnny Cash of soft rock!), Bolton casually waved to his audience before quietly launching into his '93 hit 'Said I Loved You, .. But I Lied.'
'Soul Provider,' is then followed by a bunch of classics from different eras as songs such as 'To Love Somebody,' Otis Redding's 'Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay,' and the uptempo '(Hold On) I'm Coming.' Making the comment about his new album Vintage that "... the irony of this album is that all the composers are now decomposing!", Bolton then sedates the feisty crowd with the laid back cuts 'You Don't Know Me', Gershwin's 'Summertime', and the Billie Holliday co-written classic 'Daddy's Little Girl'.
With his short hair as gray as gray could be, the upper-class lounge-act crooner banters back and forth with the crowd; his story of nearly missing the plane journey tonight due to back issues a constant; their continual cries for him to remove his jacket, shirt, and everything else an ongoing stream of chatty fodder for the man in black.
The well-received 'Georgia On My Mind' is next, followed by the inspiring 'Go The Distance', but it's the last song of the first set, 'Nessun Dorma' (from his underated My Secret Passion album of '98) that gets everyone to their feet, their hands clapping like demented chipmunks on crack! With Bolton's bombastic style relatively well-suited to arias, it was truly an unbelievable performance and one to have given praise for just to have witnessed live.
For the second set, Bolton, now dressed more casually in a black T and blue jeans, first appears behind a screen; silhouetted and singing the Sam Cooke classic 'When A Man Loves A Woman' before he finally gives his soft rock fans something to sing and dance to. 'How Can We Be Lovers' and 'Time, Love & Tenderness' are two songs that really allowed the early '90s Bolton to shine tonight, but leaving us with the jam session song 'Rock Me Baby' probably wasn't the best way to bring the show to a close. More of his power pop would have been definitely appreciated, per the crowd’s reactions, but nonetheless a wonderful evening was had by all ... and inspired by an entertainer supreme.
Photos and Review by Russell A. Trunk