Review of 'Michael Bublé Higher Tour 2023'

Michael Bublé


I can't say I am a huge fan of fellow Canadian Michael Bublé but I have enjoyed the singer's easy-going crooner style for many years. When we heard he was going to be visiting Manchester, a short drive away, we jumped at the chance to see him. Ticket prices were not cheap with the ground seats particularly pricey but it is not often you see a musician of this calibre nor a show of this quality. This being our first visit to the AO Arena there were a few logistics to worry about such as parking but we need not have worried as they are very well organized and it was quite easy.

The concert programme was priced at £20 and there was a good amount of merchandise available at the merchandise stalls including CDs, tour posters, t-shirts and a singed programme for £45. Amusingly all programmes included as a bonus a piece from one of Bublé's famous suits.

Bublé Staging

Our seats were in the 203 block, which is the top level, about half way back pretty much immediately over the stage so we had a great view of the show. The stage consisted of a large inclined stage where the brilliant band and back-up singers performed with a long catwalk into the audience to a small central stage. It would be a theme of the night for him to make the long walk out to be amongst his fans which crowded around. In fact, a lot of his time was spent interacting with the crowd, as he would stop to read a banner, throw into the crow numerous sweaty black handkerchiefs, reach out to touch and shake people's hands, and walk along the edge of the security fence to greet people even more closely. At one point he had the audience sign happy birthday to a lady with a difficult-to-pronounce name while at another point he was keen on how a gentleman had caught his handkerchief so he had him repeat the capture a few times. He genuinely seemed to be having fun though, it has to be said, his energy did noticeably taper off into the second half of the show.

The show started at 7:45 pm (showtime was 7:30 pm and doors opened at 6:00 pm) with the countdown of the final three minutes projected onto the screen surrounding the stage. Bublé started with the old standard “Feeling Good” initially appearing in video form above the stage before being raised in person on a platform in the middle of the stage. The set included a large number of other covers including “L-O-V-E” (Nat King Cole), “Sway” (Dean Martin), “When You're Smiling” (Seger Ellis), “To Love Somebody” (Bee Gees), “Smile” (Charlie Chaplin), even ending on “Always on My Mind” (Gwen McCrae). He did also perform his own material which included “Haven't Met You Yet”, “Home”, “Everything”, “Higher” and “It's a Beautiful”. In the middle of the show he perform a tribute to his idol Elvis Presley on the stage in the middle of the auditorium performing a medley of the rock legend's work and doing a reasonable job of it. Bublé did engage in a bit of banter with the audience including a gentle poking fun at the city itself which was well received and talk of his friendship with Pricilla Presley. There was no warm up act or interval with the “encore” consisting of three songs played after he briefly left the stage. The show ended at approximately 9:30 pm.

Middle Stage

The quality of the show was really good though when he was singing on the main stage it was harder to make out what he was singing (we did also believe he was causing sound problems himself by over-emphasising mic control - often pulling it too far away from his mouth). When he was on the central stage it was much better. Interestingly, when he was in the middle the sound came out of a different set of speakers which were high above the area. For those at the back of the audience there were also two additional screens that would come down from the ceiling in the same area so they could enjoy the performance. The video and light show was absolutely incredible, really making the experience so much more special - Really professional, perhaps to match the ever-dapper Bublé dressed in a black suit with black shirt and tie.

Bublé Channelling Elvis

It was a really fun, great performance with some wonderful crowd-pleasing songs. He was received very warmly from his fans who he obviously appreciates a great deal. There were a few minor complaints but otherwise, very good indeed.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-04-21

AO Arena

Location: Manchester (England)

Address: Victoria Station Approach, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR ENGLAND

Public Transport: NRLOGO Manchester Victoria

Telephone: +44 (0) 161 950 5229


The 21,000 seat AO Arena is the biggest venue in Manchester and hosts a variety of large indoor events and concerts. While the facility is fairly basic with all seating areas accessed via a grey concrete perimeter concourse.


Entry to the arena is primarily via Manchester Victoria station with the entrance up a set of stairs from the station platform level. There is a 900+ space multi-story car park attached to the arena but there are other parking locations nearby including at the Arndale shopping centre, a five minute walk away.

Approach from Victoria Station