Hockey-loving Michael Buble will croon for fans at Raleigh’s PNC Arena

CorrespondentOctober 24, 2013 

  • Details

    Who: Michael Bublé

    When: 8 p.m. Friday

    Where: PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh

    Cost: $54.50-$99.50

    Info: 919-861-2300 or thepncarena.com

It’s common to find professional athletes who wish they were celebrated musicians – and vice versa. John McEnroe openly dreamed of becoming a successful rocker, and Kenny Chesney stated this spring that he would love to bat against former Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay.

So it’s not surprising that Canadian native and Vancouver, British Columbia, resident Michael Bublé once imagined himself playing for his native Vancouver Canucks hockey team.

“There’s nothing that I would have liked more,” Bublé said. “For me and many Canadian boys, hockey was an obsession.”

Bublé’s incredibly successful singing career didn’t help with becoming a professional hockey player, but it has enabled the charismatic entertainer to buy a piece of the Vancouver Giants, a junior hockey league team. Bublé co-owns the team with three of the greatest hockey players ever – Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and former Canucks coach Pat Quinn.

“Hockey is a passion, but without this career, I don’t own a hockey team,” Bublé said. “I love hockey, but I love my job as a singer.”

Bublé is driven to distraction not just by hockey, but also fatherhood. His son Noah is almost 2 months old. “I’m going to watch my first Canucks game with my son,” Bublé said. “It’s nice to have other interests aside from music.”

But fans can rest easy knowing that the hockey-obsessed Bublé, who will perform Friday at the PNC Arena, is still focusing on his music. He is touring behind his latest album of swingin’ jazzy pop, “To Be Loved.” On the record, he belts out a number of unforgettable classics such as the Bee Gees “To Love Somebody,” Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” and Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

“There are so many great songs that I love to sing,” Bublé said. “Each album I have a shot at them.”

And then there are the fun songwriting collaborations. Bublé helped pen a number of breezy, catchy cuts for “To Be Loved,” such as “Got It Easy” and “Close Your Eyes.”

“I’m not just a singer,” Bublé said. “I can do other things.”

One of those things is engage a crowd. Bublé’s music is retro, and so is the way he works the audience. His style is reminiscent of performers from a generation or two back.

“So many performers my age just stare at their shoes when they’re up there under the lights,” Bublé said. “That’s not the way you do it. I look at the masters of live entertainment, who were great then and are great now – like Neil Diamond and Paul McCartney. They know how to do it. I look at the live show as a party. It’s two hours in which I can take people away from their troubles. They just need to have fun.”

Bublé currently is touring with the biggest production of his career, with plenty of eye candy to complement the sonics.

“You have to see it to believe it this time,” Bublé said. “The last time I toured, I did a theater act inside an arena. I learned from that. This time I have a gigantic production. It’s massive, but it doesn’t take away from the intimacy that the songs provide. I love singing these new songs. When I made this record, I wanted to make a Motown album, and I feel that it has that flavor. I just let it rip with (producer) Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi). We just went in and had fun. Life is pretty great.”

There’s no doubt about that. Bublé is married to Argentinian actress/model Luisana Lopilato, plus, he’s a beaming dad who owns a hockey team. And then there is his enviable career.

“It’s amazing,” Bublé said. “I love what I do. I could have never envisioned all of this when I was a kid. When I was growing up I had a big crush on Christina Applegate when she played Kelly Bundy on ‘Married ... With Children.’ My wife played the Kelly Bundy part on the Argentinian version of ‘Married ... With Children.’ It’s crazy. I can’t complain about anything. I have this tour. Hockey season just started. My son just got his first pair of ice skates from Pat Quinn, and (Canucks coach) John Tortorella just sent me a huge bundle of Canucks stuff. It’s really good right now.”

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