This was indeed the redemptive aspect of this concert, as organizational difficulties were quite evident this time around. From parking to the show starting a good 90 minutes late, it proved to be a nightmare to the organizers who are well known for their diligent, meticulous way of doing things.

Apparently their first big show at the Malta Fairs and Conference Centre, under a big tent, hosting a full complement of 6,000 seated patrons and punters turned out to be more than just a headache. Without going to the merits of why such mishaps cropped up in the first place, one just hopes that such problems will be dealt with, or to be more precise, pre-empted, as it will not only harm the organisers’ reputation but also our own country’s reputation as a leading venue for entertainment tourism.

Bolton was in a great mood. It isn’t just his voice which stands out. He can co-ordinate and really rise to the occasion. He was really in synch with the rest of the band, be it if it they were delivering Frank Sinatra ballads, which they did in fresh, deft, swing style, or when they addressed some of Bolton’s all-time classics like How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, or Steel Bars, which he composed with his own hero, Bob Dylan. The smartly-dressed Bolton, who was also complemented by the equally smartly-dressed singers and musicians.

At times, the whole thing sounded so enchanting not least when he and Pat Hawk interpreted Georgia On My Mind. As expected, Bolton did an excellent rendition of Nessun Dorma, a tribute to Luciano Pavarotti, with whom he once collaborated in a concert which he dubbed as 'memorable'. His quiet take on Said I Loved You But I Lied, his rendition of Otis Redding’s Sitting At The Dock Of The Bay and the wistful ironic take on How Am I Supposed To Live Without You and also How Can We Be Lovers brought huge audience acclaim.

Bolton's apparent bombastic style may berelatively well-suited to arias, but he can really come up with surprises as he indeed did with yet another fine take of BB King’s Rock Me Tonight, which he rendered wonderfully with guitarist Chris Camozzi, who knows all too well how to interact with Michael Bolton after all these years. It was as if it was Eric Clapton not Michael Bolton and co. who were delivering during the encore.


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