An Evening In New York City

Josh Groban

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An Evening In New York City Review

by William Ruhlmann

An Evening in New York City is a home video version of the Josh Groban episode of the PBS music series Soundstage, initially made available to contributors to pledge drives on the network's stations. Appearing at the intimate Rose Theater in the Time Warner Center (but with a backdrop blocking the usual view of Columbus Circle and Central Park), Groban performs 12 songs before an audience small and close enough that he can, he says, "see the whites" of their eyes. In keeping with the casual atmosphere, he sports a bedhead hairdo to go with his didn't-have-time-to-shave-this-morning stubble, but his rumpled appearance doesn't faze an enthusiastic crowd that appears to have a female-to-male ratio of at least 20 to one. They are treated to songs from Groban's albums, in some cases featuring the guest stars who appeared on the tracks -- Chris Botti on "Broken Vow" and Herbie Hancock on "Machine." Among the rarities are versions of Stephen Sondheim's "Not While I'm Around" and Charlie Chaplin's "Smile," both sung over a solo piano accompaniment. Groban has made wise use of video and live recordings in his career, and this is another example of that, as it presents a deliberate contrast to the large-scale shows he has put on film previously.

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