Michael Bublé has no problem poking fun at himself. At the Citi Wang Theatre on Saturday, the singer acknowledged that the men in the audience might have wanted manlier entertainment, engaged in an extended skit during which his trombonist characterized him as an attention-seeking diva, and claimed that his last thought just before the curtain rose was "Critics, love me."
But having a sense of humor about one's foibles (real or perceived) doesn't actually negate them, and Bublé's stage persona was rooted in a hollow smugness disguised as self-deprecation. He oozed an undeniable charisma, but unfortunately, oozing is just about the only way it comes out.
The women in the audience didn't seem to mind, partly because the man is so darn good-looking. Like adults reverting to a long-dormant teen fandom, they peppered the show with screams of "I love you, Michael!" and "Take your pants off!" Whenever Bublé threatened to take his act into the audience, women poured down the aisles in the hopes of reaching him one way or another.
In between such moments, Bublé sang a few songs. He drew more heavily from the last 40 years of pop music than befits a man who's typically placed in the same category (if not class) as Tony Bennett, though he did reclaim "For Once in My Life" and "Try a Little Tenderness" for the pre-rock standards they once were. His low-key, noir cover of Leonard Cohen's "I'm Your Man" couldn't help but be sultry, and his incorporation of Homer Simpson's "Spider-Pig" song into his scatting intro to "Call Me Irresponsible" felt spontaneous, funny, and surprising.
That was probably because the bit was new enough that it hadn't yet congealed into shtick, unlike "Y.M.C.A.," which marked the point at which the show stopped being a concert and started being karaoke night at Shooterz. Bublé's impeccable showmanship mostly seemed insincere, with his fervent delivery of "That's Life" appearing scripted down to the smallest leg twitch, while the seduction in "Me and Mrs. Jones" was more focused on the women in the audience than the woman in the title. Such moments showed Bublé to be a fine singer of unimpeachable craft and minimal artistry.
Fellow Canadian Jann Arden opened the show with tasteful and low-key Shawn Colvin-esque folk-pop.