Tag Archives: Josh-Groban



The moon…


My favourite rose

This year has been the first since 2007 when I didn’t commemorate february, which was the month when I heard Josh Groban sing for the first time. It happened six years ago, and the reason why this event turned into an anniversary is the profound impact this singer has had on me. I won’t repeat myself – if you know me, you know the details. But in a nutshell – his voice reassured me, gave me strength and inspired me in more ways than one, for a long time. There has been no other performer who has had such a big influence on me.

But with time, every influence weakens. It happens naturally, because we grow, and we move on. What used to have an impact becomes trivial, because we have absorbed its message, and have learned our lessons. Josh Groban was never an ordinary singer for me, and because of his extraordinary impact I always considered him a messenger and even a mentor in some ways. As the years went by, the power of the teachings I received through seeing him perform, or listening to his songs waned. I accepted this fact as a natural occurence in life, and I was grateful for two things. For his presence that left a lasting imprint on me for years, and for the fact that I was growing. I tried to stay cheerful when I thought the time of goodybe came. Josh is a wonderful person and I would always cherish that, but if the time came to let go of the side of him that used to play such a crucial role in my life, I would do it. I was growing, and I was learning my lessons all this time – through other experiences, theatre, music, literature, psychology, etc. Josh became a mere singer, however magnificent. And I stopped listening to his music, because I felt no need to hear his voice.

All that echoes came out earlier in February this year (when I think about it, I find the sweet coincidence of months very satisfying – it’s as if he decided to catch my attention on our “anniversary” once again – I know I’m reaching but this thought pleases me, so indulge me, will you?!), and when I first heard it, I knew it was a special album. It didn’t mesmerise me the way Illuminations did, which is a very tight, very deep, very personal record, a resonating realm of private moments which I felt privileged to hear. With each and every one of those songs I was peeping into very personal space. Josh wrote or co-wrote almost all the songs, mostly original, and the album was a valiant jump from the carefully produced, tame and expected music that his name used to mark to a place of confessions and shattering tenderness both in the personal and the musical sense. I cried so much over that album I lost count. All that echoes contains many covers and a few originals that, despite their different styles somehow work together – probably because of the personal power of Josh’s voice. He’s the unifying link. He chose songs that mean a lot to him, and that comes through. I was deeply touched by a very personal experience when I decided to listen to the album for the first time, and this could be one reason why the album did not disappoint. In fact, I cried through half of the record. The other half amazed me. But I would like to give my opinion about it regardless of what I was going through that day. Musically speaking, it’s Josh’s best CD so far. There is so much richness that needs to be discovered in it still. I only heard it about five times – the reason I stopped listening to it was that whenever I did, the power of the songs simply swept me off my feet and I was unable to do whatever else I was doing. Besides, I felt no real need to hear the songs more times: they moved into my heart on the very first occasion.

When the tour dates were announced, I was perplexed and angry by the fact that my closest location, Vienna, was also the costliest when it came to tickets. I impulsively decided to skip this tour altogether. I had no need to see Josh live. I thought I’d make an adult decision and not see him live, for the first time since the “Awake” tour. I felt no envy that most of my Grobanite friends were going to one or more tours, I was happy for them and I knew that my responsible goodbye from Josh was more important than toeing the line for the sake of peace and not standing out. My resolve lasted all two hours until I got home from work and my husband told me I should reconsider. Knowing what Josh meant to me, he told me to go to Vienna, no matter what. My Grobie friends were also not helping, because they displayed disbelief and derision at my original decision. And so, because I could afford it, I was influenced against my original resolve.

I would like to state for the record that I have never been happier to be proven wrong.

There was basically no preparation or anticipation before Vienna. I work a lot, I had no time or energy to mentally prepare myself. I knew that a bus would take me, that I had the ticket, and that it would happen, so why stress or fuss about it? Those time are over. I used to have pre-concert depression, post-concert depression, and everything in between. Not any more. I am better at living for the moment than I used to be. I accept and count my blessings and absorb the joy that comes from being fully present during an experience. I don’t want to spoil it all with expectations, and so I expected mostly nothing from the concert. I’ve had so many wonderful experiences already, that I thought Josh wouldn’t be able to surprise me any more. If I was expecting anything it was that quiet, peaceful farewell to happen.

Just like the new album, the new tour is also, musically speaking, the richest, most complex and many-layered that the J-Gro and his band have put together to date. The acoustics of the Stadthalle were also magnificent. All this resulted in a flow of rich, potent sound, music at its best. And the ultimate best part – Josh’s voice – was also on a higher level than before. (If that is even possible.) He’s learning to play on the instrument in his throat better each time, and I don’t mean with more precision or discipline – I mean that he truly is playing with his voice. It’s what makes the songs more alive every time you hear them. Songs like “Alla luce” alone would be worth going to his concerts. Each year it sounds better and better. (Now would be the time to re-record it!) The new songs literally blow the mind – and thanks to the acoustics, the body, too. The first song, “Brave” and the one that followed, “False alarms” set the mood and rhythm right from the start. “Hollow talk” was a favourite of mine ever since I heard it – and on stage, toward the half of the show, it was indescribable. The potent waves of drum and bass and the sudden explosion of music toward the end of the song tore me to atoms. I wept like an idiot, I couldn’t help myself. “Vincent”, beautiful, wonderful, immortal Vincent… tender and loving song, bringing back so many memories. It was the song that made me truly love Josh – and Van Gogh’s art, as well. They are closely connected and when I hear the song today, I see the paintings of Van Gogh before me as the lyrics describe them. It’s great that Josh still performs this particular song. “Falling slowly”, a very gentle cover of a uniquely beautiful song from a uniquely, memorably beautiful movie, and now, stage play. I’ve loved the movie for years and when I heard Josh would sing this song, I had goosebumps of joy – last night, those goosebumps returned and I felt so happy that he loves the movie as much as I do. “Voce existe em mim” rocked us to pieces, so much so that the audience stood up to dance to the rhythm. The strict Austrian audience. It was my first time dancing at a Josh-concert! This was repeated during “Machine”, which will remain one of my favourite songs by him – by the end of it, a crowd formed just below the stage. I felt euphoric! I watched the faces of the musicians. Their expressions were priceless, I’ll never forget the sense of pride and joy and gratitude that showed in their eyes, in their smiles, in their gestures. Josh was loving our closeness just as much. I felt free, I felt in shock, I felt grateful, I felt alive!

“I believe when I fall in love” was spectacular, but we knew it would be. With a wonderful little choir it took the breath from our lungs. Endlessly uplifting, rich and respectfully different from Stevie Wonder’s equally magnificent original. (The thing about Josh Groban covering a song is that he does it with so much respect. Musicians should learn from this guy.)

A wonderful surprise was hearing “Awake” again. It’s Josh’s most special, most meaningful song and this time, the musical arrangement was different. Toward the end they added a string of fast drumbeats that translates to the fearful drumming of a heart, which senses the imminence of loss. It adds urgency and desperation to an otherwise gentle, tender song about the power of now. It was a touch of genius.

“You raise me up” was sung by several thousand people. Whoever said this song needs to be taken off the setlist should check their hearts and souls. It sounds better and better and the message cannot be ignored.

The last encore was “Smile”. Ruslan, the crazy Ukrainian pianist and Josh, the crazy American-Jewish-Russian-Norwegian singer made us smile deep within our hearts with their duet. Charlie Chaplin would have been proud!

I thought Josh couldn’t affect me much any more. It is very typical that when he finished “Alla luce”, he instantly jumped into the Q & A part, which is always funny. I am not sure how he does this, but he always manages to bring me to tears by making me laugh first. I don’t mean the laughing so hard that one cries part. I mean that moment when laughter changes into weeping. So when everyone else was laughing their heads off, I was trying to make as small of an idiot of myself as possible. After the Austrian waltzing lady fell in her own feet on stage, it was just a riot till the end of the Q & A. (And beyond.) We ate from his hands. I first cried, then laughed, then was cold from all the goosebumps, then became a shaking blabbering mess of snivel during “Hollow talk”, then rose to heights I never experienced during a JG-show. And what’s more important, I saw the man, and I saw the musician, and I saw everyone else beside him – and I was his slave no more. I loved him with all my heart, but I loved him in the moment, aware that after he left the stage, I would let go of him. I loved him for as long as he was mine in that immaculate white shirt and the facial expressions that I know by heart and adore every single time. I took what he gave me and felt glad, and gave back what I could, every way I that could as part of his audience.

This sense of euphoria lasted even after the show ended. The Hungarian “delegation” was quite a big one and many people were taking our photos. Josh noticed our flags and dammit, by now he should know we’re on the map, seeing as 6 of the 10 meet and greet fans were Hungarians! I was disappointed I didn’t win a meet and greet, again. It’s been a long time since I’ve longed to meet him for real, in person, and the occasion just keeps eluding me. I was disappointed and frankly, envious and jealous of everyone who got their chance. Not as envious as I used to be years ago, but there was a trace of envy. I won’t deny it. I felt cheated and worthless as a fan. But I knew, in the end, that Josh has given me so much more already than 1 minute of meeting and greeting and a general smile photo. And I was really happy for everyone who won their chance to meet him. After the concert every sense of anything negative was gone, blown into the murky, grey, drizzly-cold weather. (It just shows that you can have your own celebration inside your heart even if there’s a storm outside!) I felt over the moon. I remember how two years ago Yanni had the same effect on me – but this was better, because this was Josh! My darling, amazing Josh. Josh, who brought friends into my life, who gave me faith, who erased my fears, who stirred my soul, who inspired me to create, and to open my eyes to a lot of new music. And I used to think that albeit being a one of a kind singer, his songs are not the pinnacle of music. I knew he had it in him to grow as a musician, and he proves that with each album, making all of his fans, including me, so proud! Well, he grew a lot with his new album and even though he cannot be called the pinnacle of music, I know that the combination of a unique voice, a truly likeable persona and the humble attitude he adopts as a musician make him rather outstanding.

About twenty minutes after the show (during which time we frolicked and laughed and made group photos) I decided to take a look outside the building, where the tour buses were. Two of my good friends, with whom I shared the love of another unique performer, and who also became JG-fans later, joined me. It was cold outside and we thought that if Josh came out at all, he would come much later. We were wrong – the moment we got to the tour bus there he was under an umbrella Darren (God bless him) was holding above his head, surrounded by appr. twenty people only. We couldn’t believe our luck. I edged closer, waited for Josh to get right where I was standing behind someone and I told him how much I loved the new arrangement of “Awake”. He looked up from signing something to someone and he thanked me, like he meant it. I remember thinking after the meet and greet winners were announced that even if I won the chance to meet Josh, what the hell could I possibly say to him, how on earth could I cram several years’ worth of life-changing experiences, friendships, inspiration that he gave me – into one sentence??? There would never be a way, and I also knew that all these things are important for me, and my friends involved in those experiences, but Josh doesn’t need to know. I don’t need to tell him. He knows he is loved – we buy his albums, go to his shows, we keep his career alive and we give him feedback in all shape and form and through all possible channels. Personal stuff – that’s mine, because I experienced it. He didn’t. I did. So I can’t and probably shouldn’t tell him. And here was my incredibly lucky chance, to see him up close, and to tell him something that would matter to him rather than to me. I did, and it did matter to him, because it concerned his music, and he was grateful. We saw him for about 30 seconds more, before he was ushered into the bus to be driven to Zürich.

There are five rosebushes on the edge of our garden, just under our living-room windows. They were planted when we moved to this house, almost nine years ago. I haven’t done much tending of them over the years, just the occasional spring trim, or some minor fertilizing, when I remember to, perhaps once every second year. Despite my almost negligence, these rose bushes have been growing beautifully, yielding roses every year, from spring till late autumn. I love my roses very much.

But I love the one bush that is the strongest, and largest, most; the one that yields dark-purple, blood-red roses, a hue impossible to describe, truly the mixture of red and purple. And they smell like no other rose I’ve ever smelled. This is my favourite rose-bush. Roses will come and go, but this particular rose-bush will always remain my favourite.

Josh Groban 401-500

More Josh Groban wallpapers (click on the links)

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Blue Christmas

Merry Christmas to Grobanites all around the world!

Boldog Karácsonyt Josh összes rajongójának!

Tears of an angel…

(Click on the link below for the video/Katt az alábbi linkre a videóhoz)

Can you hear heaven cry
Tears of an angel…

Keep me awake…

Készült egy videó pár éve… az egyik leggyönyörűbb dal ihlette, amit valaha írtak és énekeltek. Rengeteget adott nekem ez a dal…

I made a video a few years back. One of the most beautiful songs ever written and sung inspired it. The song gave me so much…

(Click on the link below/Katt az alábbi linkre)

“Keep me awake to memorize you
Give me more time to be this way
We can’t stay like this forever
But I have you next to me

Parsley and two hours of bliss

It is with quite a bit of sadness that I write my final report this year (and probably, tour). Seeing Josh Groban three times in a month is something I seriously never thought would happen. Never, ever. Ever. My financial situation places me somewhere safe, I can afford many luxuries, but four years ago little did I suspect that the ease with which I got to see him for the first time, mere weeks after I first heard his voice would be the forecast of something even more incredible. Three concerts in four weeks’ time. To say that I’m fortunate simply doesn’t cover it. read more »

“Straight to you”, Párizs

Nehezen hiszem el, hogy néhány hét leforgása alatt kétszer is láthattam Josh Groban-t élőben énekelni. Két napja a Grand Rex fényűző páholyában ültem, mégis álomnak tűnik, mintha meg sem történt volna. read more »

Ars poetica

Najólvan… folyt.

Azon a bizonyos képes honlapon elég döbbenetes képekre bukkantam. Láttuk a klipeket, de így kép formátumban… nehezen találom a szavakat.

(Thank you, Tanya for your amazing website: http://tg4jg.smugmug.com/galleries)

Ezek pedig sírnivalóan gyönyörűek. Összeszorul a torkom mindegyiktől…

“Straight to you”, Bécs

Egyetlen olyan előadó létezik, akit már többször láttam élőben és akiért ennek ellenére hajlandó vagyok külföldre utazni, akit színpadon szeretnék látni és hallgatni egészen addig, amíg ő vagy én életben vagyunk. Ez a valaki Josh Groban, az énekes, akinek a torkában angyal lakozik. read more »

“Straight to you”, Vienna

There is one person on Earth I saw live several times, am ready to travel abroad for any time, and whom I intend to see live as long as either of us lives. That person is Josh Groban, the singer with an angel in his throat. read more »

Ösvények a fénybe: “Illuminations”

Erről a lemezről írtam már egy ajánlót tavaly novemberben, a megjelenésének hetében, első meghallgatás után. Úgy érzem, azóta jobban bele tudtam mélyedni a dalokba, mindenképpen közelebb került hozzám az egész lemez, mely a maga zenei sokrétűsége és tartalma miatt igenis megérdemli, hogy ismét írjak róla, hogy szabadra engedjem a dalok kapcsán megszületett gondolataimat. Magam miatt írok most erről a lemezről, számomra fontos, hogy elmondjam, mit érzek a dalok iránt.

Vonaton ülve tegnap kétszer egymás után meghallgattam a teljes “Illuminations”-t, a bónuszdalokat beleértve. Ha összesítenem kellene az érzéseimet, melyeket a dalok ébresztettek bennem, úgy fogalmaznám meg, hogy ez a lemez a fényről szól. Nem csak a címe miatt, ami a fény fizikai és szellemi jelenlétére is utal, hanem azért is, mert a dalok egyenként, külön-külön is apró ösvénykék a fény felé. A dalok szövegeiben is sokszor tűnnek fel fénnyel kapcsolatos szavak, kifejezések, a lemez hangszerelése is a fényt idézi bennem. Ahogy hallgattam, csengtek, zengtek és csilingeltek a dalok a fülemben és lelkemben, leeresztett szemhéjaim mögött fénypontok és fénysugarak táncoltak, a felkelő nap ragyogott, melegített a hűvös reggelen. A “Wondering kind” a fejlődésről szól, az önmagunk szűk világából való kitekintésről, a megújulás fontosságáról, a nyughatatlanságról, mely nem feltétlenül a testi helyváltoztatásra utal, hanem szükséges is az élet hozta változások elfogadásához és megértéséhez. Kedves, bájos, felemelő melódia, érezzük benne a mozgást, az optimizmust, a nyitottságot, a napfényt, a hangszerek kacagnak, mosolyognak, töprengenek benne, lírai vonósok és játékos gitár váltják egymást, az ember szíve azt súgja erre a dalra: UTAZÁS. Varázslat. Derülátás. Remény. Az utolsó hangok csak azért zárnak le egy fejezetet, mert a lemez első dalát azonnali hangulatváltás követi, a következő dalt melankólikus és vágyakozó sóhajok alkotják; egy híd alakja sejlik fel, sóhajok hídja ez, melyen az énekes hangja átvezet bennünket. Fogjuk az énekes kezét, halljuk a harangokat, “The bells of New York City” ugyanis őróluk szól, vágyakozó harangokról, modernkori szirénekről, melyek hívó szavára mi is érezzük a vágy ébredését szívünkben, értjük, miért húzza maga felé az énekes lelkét ez a bizonyos város, melyben ő, Josh Groban, az amerikai énekes szakma legfényesebb csillaga személyes fejlődéstörténetének új fejezeteit készül megélni. Tények jelzik, hogy a város magánjellegű és szakmai varázzsal is bír a számára, a dal sorai pedig szívünk részére is egyértelművé teszik ezt. A dalban hideg van, fázunk, az ember lelki szemei előtt templomok tornyai sejlenek fel az alkonyat ködében, hólepte utcák tekeregnek a pasztell-épületek között, sürgő-forgó embertömegek árasztják el a város tereit, pezsgés van, rohanás, de mindez csak a háttérben, mert a lényeg keserédes álomként dereng még csak, és készül valóságként testet ölteni. Oly erős a vonzódás ebben a dalban, mintha mágnes húzna bennünket is az éneklő személyel együtt New York felé. Szabadulni képtelenség e bűvkörből, de nem is akarunk, mert a vágyakozás tárgya a belső béke, önmagunk megtalálása, érezzük, hogy valami szép készülődik, varázslat és misztérium van születőben, ahogy a finom fénycsillanások hangfüzérei végigzongoráznak lelkünkön, majd kicsúcsosodnak, katarzisközeli állapotot hozva a vágy felerősödésével. Ha bárki nincs tisztában Josh Groban énekesi képességeivel, akkor ebben a dalban már ízelítőt kaphat. Mélységek és magasságok jellemzők a “Bells of New York”-ra, a lent forgataga és a fent békessége hű kifejezéseként. Ez a hang búg a templomok harangjaival, zúg a hideg téli széllel, elsuttogja a vágyakozást, mélázva sóhajtozik, kétségbeesést kiált, örvénylik a hópelyhekkel. Ez a hang simogat, fájdalmat okoz, annyira gyönyörű. Szépségével kitörölhetetlen karcot ejt szívünkön, képtelenség nem együtt érezni a hang tulajdonosával, minden egyes hangot megélünk vele. Számomra egyetlen szóval ez a dal: SÓVÁRGÁS. A nyugalom és révbeérés reményét keltve nyugtalanságot szül. Sokáig emésztené az ember, amit hallott úgy zeneileg, mint szövegileg, de nem sok az időnk, mert a “Galileo (Someone like you)” következik, amiről külön értekezést tartottunk ugyanezen a blogon tavaly év végén, a rögtönzött véleményposztom hozzászólásaiban. Alázatos, szerény dalról van szó, egy ír fiatalember szerzeményéről, melynek személyes hangvételű feldolgozása került fel erre a lemezre. Képtelenség lenne mindent leírni, ami erről a dalról eszembe jut, meg aztán, kicsi úgy érzem, elnyomná a többi dal fontosságát, ami a tartalmat illeti. Hiszen ennek a dalnak az üzenete, legalábbis számomra (és még vagyunk így néhányan, igaz, Olga, Mara…?) nem kevesebb, mint ez: az emberiség fejlődéstörténete a materializmus jelenkori látszólagos uralmával bezárólag egyetlen aprócska emberi eseményen, a szerelmen keresztül. Egy tudós találkozása Istennel. Az emberiség legnagyobb kérdései: hogyan és miként szeretünk, hogyan születik egy szívárvány, hogyan jönnek létre az élet nagy csodái. Az emberiség létezésének kezdete óta elhangzanak ezek a kérdések, a válaszokat pedig mai napig kutatjuk, kémleljük az égen, fürkésszük a mikroszkóp alatt, daraboljuk atomokra, molekulákra, vegyületekre, énekeljük meg, festjük le, öntjük szavakba. Egyesítenek bennünket ezek a kérdések, általuk leszünk egy egység, vagyis mi, az emberiség. A Teremtés koronái vagyunk, Isten képmása, és makacsságunk, fennhéjázásunk és kapzsiságunk révén a Föld legnagyobb ellenségei. Kíváncsiságunk a cél, mely minden eszközt szentesít, és formulákra, egyenletekre bontva, kézzel fogható magyarázattal ellátott folyamatokra szeretnénk mindent feldarabolni. Többek között a szerelmet. Számomra a dal üzenete: ALÁZAT. Lágy és puha ívű a dallam, elképesztő magasságokig emel minket az énekes, mintegy kifejezve az Isten keresését. Természetesen, nem áll szándékomban ráerőltetni a magam meglátását a dalra; nem azt akarom mondani, hogy az énekes Istent keresi. Voltak ilyen nyilatkozatai, elejtett mondatok, melyekre csak az figyel fel, aki maga is ezen az úton jár, de nem tudhatom biztosan, hol tart Josh Groban a spirituális fejlődésben. Mindez csupán megérzés. Számomra ez a lemez egyik legspirituálisabb dala. Alázatossága és a dallam magasságai pontosan azt a kettőséget fejezik ki, mely a hívő életszemlélet velejárói. A dalt talán túlságosan is emelkedettnek gondolták a lemez alkotói, talán ezért következik utána a “L’ora dell’addio”, ami visszahúz bennünket a földi valóságba és elmeséli egy kapcsolatban szükségszerűen bekövetkező búcsú történetét. Sokáig nem szerettem ezt a dalt. Az opera műfaja tőlem még nagyon távol áll, csak az idő a megmondhatója, vajon valaha is megbarátkozunk-e mi ketten. A dal stílusa egyértelműen a klasszikus zene, az opera világát súrolja, az énekes fantasztikus baritonja a maga teljes pompájában érvényesülhet, tehát a klasszikus hangzás szerelmeseinek valószínűleg ez a dal jelentheti a lemez csúcspontját. A férfi búcsúja és talán szegényes kis magyarázata ahhoz, hogy miért is hagyja ott kedvesét, nos, egy kicsit patetikus számomra. Bizonyára azért, mert nem éltem még meg hasonló búcsút. Azzal tisztában vagyok, hogy az élet egésze búcsúkból áll, végekből és kezdetekből; talán azért zavar ez a dal, mert nem hűen fejezi ki a szerelem elmúlását a maga szépségeivel is. Megtörténik az elválás, ami pedig hátramarad az nem más, mint a hiány, a vég érzete, a szomorúság. Az emlékek szépségét elhomályosítja az üresség, nem marad semmi. Semmi. Talán pont ezt akarja elmesélni a dal. Ha ez a célja, akkor sikeres a vállalkozás… de tartalmát, üzenetét tekintve számomra nem elég pozitív, különösképpen a többi dalhoz képest. Ez a dal számomra: ÁRNYÉK. Nem tudom még szeretni, még nem engedtem elég közel magamhoz a dalt, sem zeneileg, sem tartalmilag. Türelmesen várok, hátha eljön majd a pillanat, amikor átérzem és megértem, elfogadom a mondanivalóját. Szerencsére a dal után beálló fizikai és érzelmi csendet gyorsan megtöri a “Hidden away” bensőséges zongorajátéka. Ismét egy szerény alkotásról beszélhetünk, zeneisége visszafogott és egyszerű, nagyon egyszerű, nincs benne flanc, tiráda, kacifántosság, csak a szavak. Itt a szavak fontosabbak, mint a zene. Felhívás e dal mindenki felé, hogy ne rejtőzködjön, ne meneküljön, ne a sötétséget keresse, hanem merjen megmutatkozni teljes valójában, vállalja önmagát, mondja ki mindazt, amit aggódva őrizget magában az elutasítástól és meg nem értéstől való félelmében. Nézzen bátran szembe a fénnyel, vállalja azt, aki ő, hallassa hangját, találja meg önmaga kifejező erejét, öltözzön saját színeibe, legyen önmaga. Csakis akkor élhetünk teljes életet, ha elfogadjuk önmagunkat és bátrak vagyunk mások előtt is valós mivoltunkban megmutatkozni. Mindannyian keresztet cipelünk, valós vagy képzelt keresztet, mind félünk, sőt, rettegünk valamitől, mindannyian érezzük, hogy ezt vagy azt nem fogadják el bennünk. Mindannyian némák vagyunk időnként, elhallgatunk dolgokat, nem vállaljuk fel önmagunkat mások előtt. Így azonban másokra sem lehetünk pozitív hatással. Virágok vagyunk, külön-külön csodálatos, egyedi, bámulatos virágok egyedi illattal, egyedi színekkel, egyedi alakban. Merjük a szirmainkat kibontani, hagyjuk, hogy mások szirmai hozzánk érjenek, fogadjuk el az eső és napfény áldásait, és bátran, harsányan hirdessük önnön valónkat a világba. E dal üzenete: BÁTORSÁG. Bevallom, lúdbőröztem tőle első hallgatásnál, és ez az érzés azóta csak fokozódik, egyre jobban, ahogy telnek fölöttem a hónapok, ahogy egyre jobban érzem magamban kialakulni a vágyat arra, hogy pökhendiség nélkül vállaljam és fogadjam el az értékeimet.

Itt szünetet tartok. Rövidke szünetet. Számomra itt tartalmi és zenei váltás következik a lemezben. Dallamosabb, líraibb alkotások következnek egymás után egészen a lemez végéig. Úgy is mondhatnám, hogy egyik érzelmi megrázkódtatásból a következőbe szoktam zuhanni, amikor a lemez második felét hallgatom. Míg az első részben levegőt tudok venni, hiszen a hangulati és tartalmi váltások megengedik ezt, a lemez második fele számomra szívet-lelket facsaró. Felocsúdni sem bírok, máris jönnek az újabb “csapások”. Az “Au jardin des sans-pourquoi” francia nyelvű, ami számomra máris érzelmi telítettséget jelent. Mostanában, miközben hallgatom a dalt, erősen figyelem a francia szavakat, melyek tökéletesen vannak kiejtve és hangzásuknál fogva akkor is gyönyört fakasztanának bennem, ha nem érteném, miről van szó. De értem. Futkos a hideg-meleg a bőrömön, ha erre a dalra gondolok. Azt sem tudom, hogyan öntsem szavakba, mit érzek a dal kapcsán. Az ártatlansághoz való visszatérésről szól, az egykor szebb és jobb világ utáni reménytelen vágyat énekli meg. Nagy benne a fájdalom, hatalmas benne a vágyakozás, véget nem érő. Valami elmúlt, de míg a “L’ora dell’addio”-ban vége van valaminek és kíméletlen, megmásíthatatlan a lezárás, itt ebbe nem nyugszunk bele, itt fájdalmasan kiáltunk, jajongunk, sikoltunk a sötétségbe, hogy “fényt, fényt!” Itt emlékezünk az édenkerti állapotokra, itt még vérünkben pezseg a tökéletes boldogság, az idill pillanatát, melyet egykor semmi sem szakított meg, még most is vissza akarjuk hozni. A jó és rossz kettősségét még nem ismerő angyalokként születtünk, ám földre zuhanásunk hús-vér emberré varázsolt bennünket, immár érezzük a fájdalmat, a haragot, a féltékenységet, a bánatot. Sötétségbe kerültünk, de visszavágyunk a fénybe. A dal számomra egyértelműen a VISSZATÉRÉS. Oly erős a vágy benne, hogy az ember azt érzi, bármikor visszamehetünk, bármikor létre tudnánk hozni ismét az édenkerti állapotokat. Talán, ha elfogadjuk, hogy a mennyek országa bennünk van, akkor sikerülhet is. Vágyakozás- és reményteljes borzongással zárul a dal, melyet hasonló hangulatú követ. A “Higher window” szó szerint és képletesen is az emelkedettségről szól, egy kapcsolatról, melyet nem mindkét fél tudott vállalni, mely szakadékként húzódik két ember lelke között, és melyet áthidalni csakis szeretettel és megbocsátással lehet. Egy férfi bánkódik a múlton, kesereg, amiért nem fogadta el a nő közeledéseit, amiért inkább karrierjét építette… most már magányos, és szeretne visszamenni hozzá. De vajon lehetséges ez? Fényzuhatag öleli körbe őket, kettejüket, szó szerint isteni fény, melyben létrejöhet a megváltás. Az élet egyszerű szépségeit fejezi ki a dal, a régmúlt megbánását, a jövőbe vetett reménykedést. Csendes, alázatos, mégis határozott imádság ez egy másik emberi lényhez, kérlelés, könyörgés. Gyönyörű. Könnyeket fakaszt. Ez a dal erről szól: FOHÁSZ. Időm sincs lenyelni a könnyeimet, mert az “If I walk away” következik, ami egyszerre könyörgés és újjászületés, pihe-puha fellegvár és őszinte vallomás, álomszőttes és a jelen sivársága. Régmúlt életek kagylótöredékei a tengerpart homokjában. (Idéztem a dalból. Csodálatos képekkel fest az énekes a dal palettáján!) Csilingelnek a hangok, a kagylók pitykézik a tenger partját, emlékek suhannak át lágyan előttünk, értjük ezeket az emlékeket, mert annyira gyönyörűek. Buták voltunk mi is egykor, bánjuk, ami történt, és azt is, ami nem. Súlytalanságban vagyunk, a ködlepte élet számunkra kijelölt ösvényét keressük, vágyunk a fényre, mely a dal magasodó ívével párhuzamosan bukkan fel a horizont fölött, a melódia napfelkeltéje és a képzelt-valós felkelő nap első sugarai forrón hatják át lényünket, a sötétséget felváltja a fény, és a múlt helyébe varázslatos, reményteljes, ragyogyó jövő lép. Csodálatos a dal, fantasztikus a hangszerelése. Maga a FÉNY. És ezt sincs időnk megemészteni, megérteni, átélni a teljes valójában, mert a “Love only knows” folytatja a fájdalmasan szép dalok listáját, ezúttal egy talán titkolt vagy reménytelen szerelem megéneklésével. Talán az elválás előtti pillanatban vagyunk, lehet, hogy a holnap komor bizonyossága elől fúrjuk a fejünket a párnák közé, melegségre és a pillanat halhatatlanságára vágyva. Szerelmesek vagyunk, semmi más nem számít, sem a múlt, sem a jövő, csakis a jelen. A szerelem mindenható erejére hagyatkozunk, nem hozhatunk döntést, mert az túl fájdalmas lenne, rábízzuk hát a sorsra, de még előtte egymásba nézünk, egymásba hatolunk, átöleljük és elfogadjuk egymást, húsunk és lelkünk egyesül a tökéletesség lángjában. Egymást választjuk a világ ellen. Ez a dal: ÖLELÉS. A fokozására pedig következzen a lemez legkülönlegesebb dala, a portugál nyelven énekelt “Voce existe em mim”, amely óda a szerelemhez, talán egy angyal szerelme egy ember iránt, talán egy földöntúli szerelmet érző férfi vallomása, de mindenképpen földrengető szerelemről van szó, TŰZről. Testekről, parázsról, buja esőről, virágba szökellésről, tavaszról, lángolásról, teremtésről, kertről, szomjúságról, lelkekről. A brazíliai dobegyüttes érzéki ütemei szolgáltatják mindehhez az alapot, melyet vonósok emelnek ki, szinte az édenkerti első szerelmi aktus jut eszünkbe a maga ősrobbanásával. Egzotikus, parázsló testi utazás ez az érzékek birodalmába, fantasztikus dal, a szív és test egy ütemet ver a dobokkal. Miután vége, mi is érzelmileg kimerülten pihegünk a csendben, abban a néhány pillanatban, mely a “War at home”-ot előzi meg. Az ég felé emelkedő fúvósók jajszava a temetések és gyász hangulatával tölti meg a szívünket, miközben az új dal szövege a háborúból hazaérkezett, de otthon tovább harcoló katonáknak állít emléket. Hallottam már nem egy véleményt, miszerint ez “egy túlságosan amerikai dal”. Én legelső percben sem annak éreztem. Háborút szinte minden nemzet megélt már, és azt is tudjuk, de legalábbis sejtjük, milyen nehéz lehet annak, aki a halál torkából visszalépve próbálja ismét megtalálni helyét az otthon hétköznapjaiban. Mindezek ellenére az sem vesz el a dal értékéből, hogy tudjuk, az énekes egy amerikai rehabilitációs korházban tett látogatása kapcsán írta meg ezt a dalt. Ebben a dalban sír a legjobban a hangja. Úgy sír, hogy a lelkem vele zokog. Nem azt a (szinte elcsépelt) kérdést teszi fel: miért bántjuk egymást, miért van háború, hogyan engedheti meg Isten, stb., hanem a kész tényekről beszél. Arról, ami nem költői kérdés, hanem pokoli valóság. A húsba és lélekbe vágó valóságról. Azokról, akik kötelességből vagy kényszerből (szinte mindegy) háborúba vonultak, küzdöttek embertsársaik ellen, kiket a nemzeti hovatartozás ellenségekké tett, majd csoda folytán életben maradtak és hazatérvén otthonaikba immár nem találják helyüket. Mert aki megjárta a poklot, az többé nem tud hinni a mennyben. Aki szembe nézett a halállal, az nagyon nehezen tudja elfogadni az életet. Ezekről a testi és lelki roncsokról szól e dal, melynek neve FÁJDALOM. A harcban edzett testű, de lélekben örökre sérülten maradt hősök dala ez, értük sír az énekes hangja és a mi lelkünk is. Ha nem lenne lezárása a dalnak, feltétlenül harag és meg nem értés maradna utána. Egy újabb háború kezdete. A bosszúé. Csakhogy Josh Groban spirituális művész, aki érzelmi érettségéről is tanúbizonyságot tesz a “London Hymn”-ben. Rövid, két perces alkotás, melyben megszületik a tökéletes lezárás, a felemelkedés és megváltás. Már a latin kórus hangja is gombócot formál torkunkba, én legalábbis már első hallásra sírtam ezen a dalon, hát még, ha értjük is a rövidke szöveget. “Morti irrequieti somnum reperiat et lux memorandi nostri eum, porteat ad pacem aeternam”, azaz (angolból fordítva) “Leljenek a holtak békére és emlékezetünk fénye vezesse őket örök nyugalomra”. Micsoda gyönyörű, isteni mondat ez! Aki ilyet elénekel, aki ilyen mondatot felvállal a lemezén, az csakis mély spiritualitással rendelkező személy lehet. Áldja meg az Isten ezért Josh Groban-t, mert milliók számára jelentheti ez az egy mondatból álló, két perces dal a megnyugvást és BÉKÉT. A múlt elengedését, a harag elengedését, az elfogadást és megbékélést.

És ha ezek a dalok mindezidáig nem lettek volna elég spirituálisak, ha nem szóltak volna kellően a fényről, akkor jöjjön a hivatalos lemez verzió záródala, a “Straight to you”, melyet az énekes Nick Cave-től kölcsönzött és melyet, véleményem szerint, tökéletesre alakított. A lemez dalainak egy része a földi, a másik része a mennyei szférákat idézi. Ez a dal pedig tökéletes szimbiózisa e két világnak, Föld és Menny egyesítése, a szerelem és divinitás összeolvadása. Benne van minden, mit őrülten szerető ember érezhet: égi látomások, mennybéli lovasok, fogatok, fúvósok, a hangszerelés pedig hol sejtelmes, hol világot rengető. Fény és árnyék így találkozik, a kettő összefolyik, egybeolvad, az angyalok hintói összeütköznek, a Világ bevégeztetik, ám a szerelem tovább él, a férfi dacol mindennel és mindenkivel, éggel, földdel, emberrel, angyallal, démonnal. Borzongunk a dallamra, a hangszerelésre, a dal szövegére, mely Nick Cave vízióit dícséri. Ez a dal számomra a maga a SZÜLETÉS. A Teremtés. Az Új kezdete.

Akinek csak eddig van meg a lemez, az is nagyon szerencsésnek mondhatja magát. Ritka zenei csemege ez, szerintem egyetért mindenki, aki hallotta már a lemezt. Akinek pedig a három bónuszdal is megvan, az tovább gazdagíthatja zenei palettáján a színeket. A “Feels like home” igazi békebeli szerelmi vallomás, gyöngéd és egyszerű, türelmes és mindent elfogadó, egy nehéz, magányos múltat lezáró révbeérés. Hatalmas kincs, ha így tud szeretni valakit az ember, és ha egyáltalán mindez megadatik neki! A “They won’t go when I go” Stevie Wonder dala, önmagában is zenei különlegesség, hát még Josh Groban baritonján. Micsoda mélységek! Micsoda borzongató hangok! És micsoda szöveg… A “Le cose che sei per me” pedig a lemez talán leggyönyörűbb, legborzongatóbb dala, ami a zeneiséget és hangot illeti. Szerelmi vallomás, a szöveg szinte sablonos, de az olasz nyelv és a bariton kettőse fantasztikus egészt alkot. Fájdalmasan szép.

Csodálatos drágakövekkel kirakott zenei ékszer az “Illuminations”, melyet átragyog a fény, mely mindenképpen pozitív és emelkedett hangvételű dalokat tartalmaz. Utazás az elejétől a végéig, az emberi érzések rengetegében tett varázslatos barangolás; ha van is rajta fájdalom, szinte mindig megváltja a boldogság vagy legalábbis a remény. A fény mindig jelen van, nem hagy teret a sötétségnek eluralkodni. Aki hívő, azt is mondhatná, hogy ezen a lemezen nagyon ott van az Isten. Számomra minden alkalommal felér egy csodával végighallgatni, a mai napig hálás vagyok az énekesnek, hogy létrehozta és átadta nelünk ezt a csodát. Az előző, “Awake” című lemezével is így voltam, de az “Illuminations” egyértelműen fejlettebb munka mindenféle szempontból. Telítettebb, gazdagabb, többrétű, különleges, ízes, aromás, ínyenc és pikáns, kifinomult ízlésre vall. Bátrabb, nyíltabb, és mindenképpen bensőségesebb, mint az énekes bármelyik korábbi munkája. Néha fájdalmasan bensőséges, különösen ha nagy empátiával ellátott hallgatósághoz jut a lemez. Kiváltságosnak érzem magam, amiért hallhattam ezt a munkát és szívem összes melegével szeretem minden egyes hangját (még a számomra kissé idegen “L’ora dell’addio”-t is) a lemez társszerzőjével és énekesével együtt.


Az utóbbi időben kezdtem végre úgy érezni, hogy ki tudom iktatni a végleteket. Egy-két kirívó kivételtől eltekintve. (Szökés-mánia, White Collar és társai.) Amikből elég hamar fel is épülök általában, átfut rajtam, mint az áramütés, megborzongat, felráz, felélénkít. Aztán utána folytatom a normális kerékvágásban, a nyugalomra összpontosítok, és azon vagyok, hogy ne hagyjam magam kizökkentei az egyensúlyamból. Lepergetem magamról az idegességet, nem veszem magamra, ha valakit, akit szeretek, megbántanak, nem veszem a vállamra a világ baját, de már lassan a másét sem. Krisztus ide, Krisztus oda, rendben van, hogy Ő mindannyiunkban ott rejlik és tulajdonképpen, ahogy az “Emberek és Istenek” c. csodálatos filmben mondja a szerzetes, Krisztus megtestesülése mi, az emberiség vagyunk; bennünk születik újra, meg újra, meg újra, tehát mi mind valahol Krisztust hordozzuk magunkban. Ez gyönyörű gondolat és valahol egyet is tudok vele érteni. De a gyógyítókat is arra tanítják: más fájdalmát nem veheted át, más keresztjét nem cipelheted. Csakis a sajátodat. Ennek megfelelően igyekszem jelen lenni, igyekszem segíteni, de előbb saját magamnak teszem fel az oxigénmaszkot. read more »

The angel, the man

This is the translation of my concert report written in Hungarian on November 25, 2010. The reason for my delay was my PCD at first, then, emotional ups and downs, then buing very busy. I still am but many of my English Grobie friends kept asking me about my impressions… so, a few months late and almost a the brink of the “Straight to you” tour, here are some memories. I wrote it the day after the concert, but in present tense in a vain endeavour to grasp and preserve the moment…

I’m sitting on the plane to London. I’m pondering the beauty of the sky above the clouds, the immaculate whiteness of everything, the blinding strength of the light, and the kind of calm that spreads in me at the sight of the cloudy vastness. In my heart there is expectant peace and my mood is swell, I’m a bit excited to see how my first big trip on my own will turn out. Naturally, I know the answer in advance, but you never know, right? I’m listening to “Illuminations”, which sounds more beautiful and intimate each time, and the thought that I’ll be seeing Josh in a chapel tomorrow starts turning into certainty. The divine sight of the heavens is fittingly accompanied by angelic music but soon enough, the plane starts descending, it slashes through the white massless mass, we arrive into grey area, it’s dark, it’s all equivocal, almost cold. Change is always scary… Then, London’s evening lights start to appear, countless tiny and gradually growing specks of clarity, the bloodstream of cars gushes along the veins of roads and highways, it’s fascinating. It’s beautiful. Sometimes we have to look at something from a distance to notice its beauty… How amazing that after the perfect, heavenly calm even mundane chaos can be pleasing.

We all dwell a bit in this no man’s land trapped between two worlds. We remember something but very rarely and only dimly and even if we do remember, we chase away the thought because we don’t believe any more that it ever existed. And yet, it did exist. Amidst this mortal coil sometimes we all get “homesick”. We distinctly feel that what we were born into is not the only place that exists. And sometimes, once in a blue moon, an event or occurrence intensifies this feeling and the memories become sharper of an invisible, hardly believable, perhaps unimaginable world, or time, or place, or being. It’s hard to say what causes stronger homesickness: a hug, or a scent, or a splash of colour amidst the greyness.

I contemplate these things but I’m already off the plane, I’m sitting on the transfer couch, on the first seat. The driver is a black gentleman in a beret, he looks a little grumpy but he seems and sounds a lot happier from the music blasting from his speakers. Pops is playing some good shit, the soul music of the 80’s at first, then fresh stuff. My feet are involuntarily moving to the beat and so is my heart. I resolve that as soon as I get home I’ll add Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder to the artists I need to look into in detail. It’s dark outside, the gentleman is driving a tad crankily, to be honest I feel like I’m on a roller-coaster. I love it. We’re gliding and sweeping, the music’s good, and suddenly I notice a road sign: Hampton Court Palace. My lips stretch into a smile, memories rush in, London, 2007, Josh and a similar kind of cold weather, weirdly in June.

Well, yes. Josh. My bank account contains almost nought, normal people do not spend such amounts of money to travel abroad for music concerts. My conscience is often bad, that money could have been used for so many other things, I could have helped a lot of people with that money, I feel selfish. The black dude is performing a mini-concert of his own and he helps me forget every negative thought in my body, the music keeps getting louder but no one dares protest. I don’t protest, either, mostly because I’m several feet above ground. If we crash into something now and I fly across the windshield it’s probable that I’ll walk over the threshold to the other world with a smile on my face and dancing in my heart.

The workplace of an old friend of mine, a teahouse is my next stop. She has the key to the office I’ll be staying the night in. It’s very ironic that tonight’s her last day of work, she’s been living in London for four years and she decided t take a break, come home, gather her strength and her wits. She’s also coming to the concert tomorrow, she’s not a fan of Josh’s like me, but the Union Chapel is a very prestigious concert hall, many musicians have given intimate shows here and she’s curious what Josh can offer. It should be a good winding down for her, soothing evening music. I look around her tea shop, it’s very pretty, homey, filled with teaboxes, tons of coffee and tea sets and embroidered kitchen cloths and tablecloths, chocolate in solid and liquid and powder form, too. I marvel for a while and then allow temptation to vanquish: I purchase some Azteq chili chocolate powder. My friend closes the shop, we start walking toward my place of accommodation. It’s dark, there seems to be a drizzle in the air, it’s cool but I’m not cold, I’m hauling my bags. Yes, only here for two days but I needed to be prepared, I have a towel and clothes and some food, make-up, hygiene stuff, camera (it’s a big bulky thing), book, etcetera. I’m a woman, for us travelling is a way of life.

My fiancé’s mom offered to put me up in her London dental practice. There’s no shower, the toilet is at the bottom of the staircase, and my ass is freezing off in the cold. No matter, this is an adventure, or what. My future mom-in-law has scattered letters and messages all over her office regarding the whereabouts of everything I could need. The portable electric heater seems to start very slowly. Moreover, it doesn’t start at all. There might be a problem, it seems, there can’t be more than 12 degrees Celsius in the office. I’m cold. My facial skin is cold. It brings to mind Moscow, 2005, figure skating world championships, go Plushenko, three-star hotel with gigantic crevice along the windows. I caught my worst cold ever in that hotel. I would not like to repeat that just before Josh’s concert. Me and Gee plug and click and discuss for half an hour and then I call Maarit, who explains where to find things. Turns out, her business partner had completely rearranged the entire office during the day. Yay, there’s a heater just under the dental chair, and IT WORKS. There’s hot water also, the sink is circular and appr. 6-7 inches in diameter, but that only means that I’ll wash myself under romantic circumstances, like our great-grandmothers. Gee leaves shortly, I’m left alone, I lock myself in, I grab a few bites, I brush my teeth and burrow myself deep under the duvet. Even with the radiator turned on I shiver for several hours, my skin won’t warm up from its icy temperature. I can’t sleep, anyway, the beautiful chaos of London that was visible from bird’s view is now fully audible, too, the city never rests, the traffic is continuous from dusk till dawn. I occasionally start when I hear a noise. Oh, yes, the upstairs neighbour is walking, almost tramping. I slowly get used to it. At times the entire building shakes itself, as if it was shivering in the cold, too. We warm each other.

I’m up at seven in the morning. After a rustic bath and a swift breakfast I gather my things and start waking toward the centre. My aim is to locate that second-hand CD shop, which years ago supplied us with a great variety of marvellous and ridiculously cheap music. It’s been a while since I last rummaged in a similar shop, looking at the covers, reading the song titles, guessing the style of music from the instrumentation, listening to my guts. Alas, the Piccaddily Circus in a morning light and not over-populated by people is an entirely different universe from when I last saw it. I don’t recognize the streets, the area is almost beautiful, I’m close to genuinely falling in love with it. The Soho is filled with red lamp shops, what if I walked into one of them. I visited one when I was eighteen, a well-meaning acquaintance took me there with strictly educational purposes. I then think that perhaps Josh himself wouldn’t mind a gift from a similar shop, he’d probably consider it funny, he’s crazy like that – but the venue is slightly more conservative than that, me appearing with an adult gift object would seem a little off, especially if they search our bags at the entrance. (They didn’t. Josh did once get some handcuffs. Perhaps I should have kept the custom alive…?) In the end, I discard the sex-shopping but inwardly grin at the thought that I definitely could do it, if I wanted to. That intoxicating sense of freedom…

A French friend promised to get to the queue around 11 o’clock. Uhm, you’re asking, what? Queue? We’ll be allowed inside in order of arrival. We’ll be approximately 1,000 people. I don’t consider myself a true hard-core fan but it would be great to talk to Nathalie and I don’t have anything better to do, anyway, so I go. I throw in a snadwich and fries at McDonald’s. I need the energy. The doors will open at 7 in the eveing. A rough calculation says that’ll be eight hours. Outside in the cold.

I’m not the first one, there are a few in front of me… I count… me, the egotistic one… there are eighteen. I’m no. nineteen. Holy crap. We are going to sit in one of the front rows. Holy crap! I don’t know anyone from the middle-aged and younger ladies. The usual audience. There’s a very old lady with a very likeable face, she has a walking stick, she can hardly stand. She’s going to stand for eight hours, naturally, at some point someone gets her a portable plastic chair. There are thermal coats and blankets, thermoses, folding chairs. These people know the drill. They come from Denmark, England, Scotland. I find Mary-Margaret who kindly offered to sell her second ticket for my friend Gee. Soon two German girls arrive, I don’t know them either, but they are nice. One of them is not even a fan, she’s only keeping company to her best friend, they came in the morning and are flying back tomorrow morning, they will sleep at the airport. That’s what I call friendship! Then, a lady in her forties arrives, I don’t know her but I instantly like her. After a while I say hello to her and she asks me, are you Krisz? I say, yeah. And she is Julia from the “Bad Grobanite” thread. What a thrill! We’re both glad. We hit the common notes instantly, we chat a lot. She mentions that the security people had been warned: the fans of Josh Groban are a little bit crazy. What can I say… it’s not very flattering. (In the light of what happened later, it is, sadly, true.) A French woman in her thirties arrives, I ask her, do you know Nathalie? She says, she’s a good friend of mine. And then Nathou herself arrives. Wow, this is so great! I’ve known her for years but this is the first time we’ve met in person. She’s the one who won our Hungarian Grobanite Package created for the Grobanites for Charity Holiday Auction. She waited until the last minute, the tricky one, and bid on it then! She’s wondering why there wasn’t a bigger turnout at the bidding, it was a great package full of useful things. (You hear that, my Hungarian friends who contributed?) We talk about her trip to South-Africa, about Josh, about all kinds of things. The time passes, the people keep arriving. It passes slowly and people arrive slowly, too. But the company is great and that’s the main thing. The sun is still up, the cold is relatively bearable.

At 2 in the afternoon I’m well frozen over, I’ve already been to the McDonald’s across the street to pee and drink a coffee. Julia is an amazing gal, cool, open-minded, nice and honest. I’m happy she’s here, she’s waiting for her daughter, who emerges with a warm sandwich for her mom and is very cool, a genuinely straight-forward teenager.

Three o’clock. I’m very cold. People keep coming but the queue is still short. The faces of those arriving around now display some disappointment. Who would have thought that there would be a queue already?! Norma comes, a middle-aged lady in a wheelchair, she can walk but she’s ill. But only her body, because her soul is soaring. She smiles, she tells stories, she cracks jokes and starts distributing food enough to feed a whole army: sandwiches, cookies, crackers, tea. Madness. Nathalie will stay with her. Norma’s daughter arrives, too, around four. She’s young and beautiful, she suddenly asks me: “Hogy vagy?” That’s “How are you” in Hungarian. Turns out, she has a Hungarian friend. Madness! People are coming, people are trickling. Before five o’clock my every cell is frozen over, I’m a perpetum mobile in an effort to stay alive. Good to see I’m not the only one freezing. But perhaps I’m freezing the most, me and a girl from Chile who is obviously even colder than I am, she’s studying in Cambridge for a few weeks, she got to know Josh’s music through a Grobanite friend of hers and she’ll be the one to see him live first! Nathalie’s dad is from Chile, too, Nathou and the girl start speaking in Spanish, what bliss for them. (And me that I can listen in, me and my fiancé started studying the language a few months ago.)

Five pm. It’s cold, it’s dark, we are many. Two more hours. There’s a rumour that a smaller crowd is waiting at the back of the chapel, waiting for the artist himself. Me and Julia walk back, we might as well move a little. Indeed, he hasn’t arrived yet. We eventually decide to go back, what’s the point in getting a mere hello? He wouldn’t stop for more, anyway. We pop in to McDonald’s, a number of Grobies keep walking in and out at intervals, they use the restroom and carry coffee and food to those in the queue.

Half past five. We are cold. (I am well beyond the state of simply being cold.) I spot Lizzie whom I’ve known for a long time from FOJG, she’s from Norway. Hug, joy. She says Anja and Tea are also in the queue, around the end. We walk there, hugs, more joy. They are from Croatia. I’ve known them for a good while, too. With them is a tiny, slender little girl who flew in all the way from the States. Madness!!! And then Eszter says hi, she landed not so long ago, she flew in from Budapest today, she’s with Luca, her friend who lives in London. Finally I get to meet her, too, I give her a hug, I squash Eszter in a hug, we do some squealing. We’ve known each other three years, me and Eszter, Josh brought us together. She’s one of the most important people in my life, Josh is just one of the countless things that keep us together. I tell her, don’t worry, this is not our place in the queue. We start walking, Eszter keeps staring, and then her jaw drops when we arrive. Indeed, we will be sitting well in the front! Luca bids farewell, she goes on a “hunt” in her high-heeled boots, she’s very pretty and we wish her good luck. She’s cool, I think I could easily like her.

Six o’clock! Only one hour, peeps! From here on we count the minutes. Exciting! Around the front of the queue there seem to be more people than previously. We start to feel a bit edgy. A few harsh remarks fly across the air. We’re tired, we’re cold, we want to go inside. It’s cold. It’s very cold. We start cracking jokes, we eat (as long as you eat you don’t feel the cold, interesting), we count the minutes. The friend of the German fan is suffering big time… no wonder. Only forty minutes left! A few people stop by the front of the queue and linger. Why are they lingering? They wanna buy tickets. Give us a break, we laugh. Who’s the imbecile who is ready to sell their own tickets to this show?! Two girls are very conspicuously standing there, Jlia has had enough, she walks up to them and tells them to not infiltrate the front of the queue, if possible. They say that they only want to buy tickets… all right. A little while later someone shouts to the girls that they can find tickets across the street! The girls run, from person to person. I don’t get it, where are they going? The German girl is showing Josh’s tweet of a few minutes ago: Look for the ticket where they clothe Superman. The two girls fall into the red phone booth, in a few minutes they jump out screaming: they found two tickets!!! It was Josh’s creative game, he promised in the morning that one could win something if one followed his tweets. What a beautiful coincidence that those two girls got the tickets! We receive them joyfully and with cheers, they are laughing. Someone remarks: to the end of the line, please… My mouth is bitter. Nonetheless, our spirits are lifted by the unexpected playful moment. And there is only a half hour left!

The last minutes crawl by incredibly slowly but eventually the door behind which the miracle awaits, does open. Eveyone makes an effort to push others in a dsicreet manner. All three of us sit down in row 4. It’s wonderfully close to the stage. Astonishingly close. Just like in 2007, I sat in row 4 just facing the microphone stand. I am a little bit to the left this time, not a problem, I can take photos from a better angle. We stare at the simple but lovely set, couch, small table, wine (?), a piano, a mic stand, a tall leather stool. The chapel is beautiful, the ornate ceiling is covered in wood, the stained glass windows are gorgeous. The seating area is small, there are people upstairs in the gallery, the visibility is great from every spot. Oh my God!!!

By the time we become excited beyond our brains the lights start dimming out, Tariqh comes in and is received with large ovation, he sits down and before we could gather our wits in comes Josh. The chapel explodes. God’s house is hosting a lot of joy right now. We are almost irreverently loud. No one really cares, he’s here, he’s dressed in grey jeans and a snow white shirt. I seem to find duality in his clothes, too. He is beautiful. Literally speaking and without the shadow of a doubt he is a beautiful young man, his hair is messy, his cheeks are full, he looks healthy and his gigantic sunrise-eyes light up the entire hall. He is visibly shocked by the reception of his audience. He’s sprightly and wastes no time, he says hello with a few words and we’re already laughing at a joke. He sits down at the piano and plays “Changing colours”. It’s a simple song, pretty and with a deep message. He sounds amazing! His voice is slightly brazen, raspy. Oh dear Lord, he sounds so good… I think no one has really grasped that he is here, that he is beautiful and that he is singing for us. I try my camera, without a flash like they asked us. I didn’t believe it but the camera takes incredibly good photos. I lose my wits, I click away, I need memories and those unable to come need them also… He asks us where we’re from. From everywhere! There’s someone even from Malaysia. If I hadn’t said it yet, madness with cherry on top!!! I yell Hungary, but the hubbub drowns out my voice. Doesn’t matter! He points at someone in the first row and says, “God bless you, I’ve seen you at every show, always in row 1, seriously, thank you very much”. He sings. I forget the order of the songs… they come one after the other, “Bells of New York City”, he says that’s a difficult one to play live, if he messes up, we have to forgive him… it sounds painfully beautiful. One of my favourites from the new album. “Hidden away”, “February song”. Oh, geez. I’m scared a little, how will SF sound without the overwhelming instrumentation? I’ll tell you how: perfect. The voice and the piano are enough… perfect! After that, someone takes him a gift, and what ensues is an AVALANCHE of gifts. I’m not joking. Avalanche. For fifteen minutes gifts are transported to the stage, wine, Belgian chocolate (“what, do you wanna kill me? my face will be full of chocolate pieces, I’ll look great”), someone painted a large canvas of him, a portrait, it’s commanding, Josh is visibly impressed. There are people coming, a small photo album with funny pictures (“separated at birth”), Josh laughs his gorgeous laugh and then glances at the lady, who stands very straight. “You are no. 1,000 to read this, your reward is a hug”. Josh plays any and every game, he hugs her, she comes back to sit down just behind us, she moans that her legs are jelly. (Duh.) He gets some honey, too (“I see I can start my own cooking show after this”), he receives God knows what not. He carries the gifts away, he pulls faces, he gestures, “so my next song is uhm…”, but there is no way he can sing, because they keep coming and he keeps carrying away the gifts, he plays with his face and his body for our entertainment. Someone says, “that’s for Tariqh” and he replies, “oh great so I’m a carrier now”. We laugh non-stop, it’s been minutes of continuous laughter, my jaw’s in a cramp, Gee’s roaring too but she records it with her iPhone. Strangely, the beautiful songs have not moved me to tears, but from the jokes and the glee something snaps in me and my tears start rolling down my cheek. It’s not the crying from laughing kind of thing, it’s crying for real. Someone in the front row tells him that her mom cannot see him as she is blind but she is very happy to be here and she loves Josh very much, could she get to meet him personally? Josh crouches by the edge of the stage, the old lady stands up, Josh takes her hand, he says hello to her nicely, I was crying to begin with, but now… Someone from above wants to say something, he speaks up and says that a relative of hers has recently passed away from leukemia but Josh’s music, especially “To where you are” has helped her go through the hard times. Josh thanks her, then goes on singing. “Un dia llegara”, he can hardly get into the mood after all the laughter and jokes, we don’t help him in the least bit, he tries singing but ends up grinning, he cracks a joke, we roar, and then he adopts his poker face and starts singing for real and we die a little of joy… he nails the difficult high note in “manana”, his voice is tired, very, but he nails it, we clap hard… In between songs he takes questions from the audience. What is more difficult, the writing of music or that of the lyrics? Tough question, for him the music is easier. That’s good because I wrote you some lyrics, if you get inspired to add some music to it, says a woman somewhere. We’ll see, Josh says, and takes the sheets, we never know, he adds. What is the background of “London Hymn”? He says that “War at home” was written after a visit to a military hospital and it’s a very sad song; “London Hymn” is meant to be a kind of closure, it’s about the acceptance of death and the letting go of anger, the importance of forgiveness and the finding of peace. And since we’re at it… he starts singing and playing “War at home”. It is painfully beautiful… my heart cracks open from the pain in this song. He then introduces the next song, the one that was most difficult for him to sing from the first album, he has always dreaded singing it, it was recorded when he was seventeen, the first song they ever recorded with him. “Vincent”. Oh, sweet delectable death. He talks about how he loves roaming in strange cities and countries, he goes into museums, he tastes local culture and one of his favourite songs, which is again from his first album, is a bit about that. “Gira con me” is sung and I beg Gee to record it, I offer to hold the iPhone as her arm’s in a cramp. I hold it and look and listen and marvel at the sight and at the sound. Sung in his voice today the song is even more beautiful. A thousand times more beautiful! Eszter and I die a little. He says, let’s see who the oldest married couple is in the audience. Forty years. Twenty-two years. Come up on the stage! The audience goes bananas. A grl (it is Anja) calls out, “I don’t have a date”, Josh is game, he calls her up, too. I cheer for her, I’m so happy for her! Anja syas she’s 21. Josh is playfully flirting, we cackle. He sits them down on the couch and offers wine to everybody. And then says, “and now that I brought you all here, I’m gonna sing a song on breaking up”. Roaring. “Broken vow” is not my favourite song by him, but at the end in the chorus his voice cracks a little and becomes raspy and I almost get an audio-visual orgasm. Holy heavens. When it’s over, he starts walking up to the couples but Anja literally grabs him and gives him a huge hug, Josh loses his balance almost. This is not cool. The bitter taste in my mouth returns. Then they leave the stage, but Anja is relentless. “What does a girl have to do around here to sing a duet with you? Because I also sing.” She is quite pushy. The audience is laughing, but I am unable to. Josh: “I can see I’ll sing with you one day… but not today.” He looks slightly uncomfortable. You can feel it in the atmosphere, on his tone and behaviour. But he is a good sport, he’s smiling, it’s no big deal, it’s only my stomach, especially since I know Anja. I cannot help this. It’s a gut reaction and I may be totally mistaken but it’s how I see it and I am very sorry that I may be hurting people… Finally, he says, “for you guys… it’s Per te”. THIS is heaven, for sure… and then they say goodbye. Of course there is an encore. They knew they would be called back and they were. Two more songs: “Galileo”, absolutely undescribably beautifully sung despite his walking up and down, he can’t even get in the zone properly, he shoves his hand in his pocket, a relaxed kid in jeans, and yet, within the man there is undoubtedly an angel. All the way. The very last song is “Play me” that I have never heard before, its lyrics are beautiful… simple, tender.

And it’s over. One and a half hours, they flew by. We cried and we laughed. He is a miracle. Musician, singer, pianist (he plays the piano bloody well), boy next door, clown, helper, leader, muse, crystal child. Disperser of problems. Watching and listening to him is like marvelling in the sunrise. He gives you energy, he inspires you, he makes you fall in love. Whoever hasn’t seen him in concert cannot know why it hurts so much to leave after a Josh Groban show. Here I am a little bit at home… that is, I was. It’s but a memory now. It’s over, it was yesterday. The present tense is gone, but we still walk to the back of the chapel, he will come out, they say. There is a car right at the exit, we know that means he won’t stay long. There are so many of us. Taking pictures, using the flash, recording everything. Josh is not even here yet. When he comes, the crowd starts flowing. He is guarded well by security. He signs, fast and a lot. There are many people. We never have a chance to get closer. He only stays ten minutes, he sits into the car, he is taken away. We wave goodbye.

I don’t feel like saying goodbye to anyone, it’s cold, I fell out of the love-cocoon, I am utterly cold. Eszter and Luca say goodbye, she sees how changed I am, she doesn’t press me with questions. She knows me. Gee is chatty, she’s had a difficult day, she would need me if I was able to support her. I’m silent, I only walk beside her, I try to pay attention to her. I fail. I’m a horrible friend. She asks, am I depressed? It was great, she says. I nod. I am depressed, and I can’t even explain why. It was a beautiful concert, the sound was amazing, a musical delicacy even if I hadn’t known the artist. I could try to explain all day long what Josh means to me and what it means to me to see him live. So many, so many things changed in me because of him, I discovered so many treasures thanks to him, and I don’t only mean my friends I met through him, but also music that he suggested and I listened and loved, or experiences that he drove me into. I did so many things because of him, he has moved me in so many ways. He has brought the stars and the sun to me, he helped me connect with my inner voice, he reminded me of the fact that he is only a mirror in which I see myself and that all the beauty I see in him is present in me, too. I know his fights, I’ve seen him happy and sad, I heard him when he was ill and healthy, too. I saw him when he was fragile and still doing his job, I’ve seen him sincerely giving, I guessed things that he never said, felt them and wrote them into words. I know him even if we never met, even if we never exchanged a word. To me he is all the above, and more. Being depressed that I can’t see him any more may seem like a childish whim, the behaviour of a crazed fan – but He represents the Light when everything else fails to show it to me; when nothing else is enough to inspire me, He does. He’s also searching himself, sometimes our struggles overlap. He’s my friend in the struggle, I learn from his mistakes. And if I could, I would bring down the Sun and the Moon and everything that could make him happier, I would tell him everything I know and he doesn’t yet, even though it is not my place to do it. I long to be near gim as his friend but I’m only in the background, one face among the endless, faceless mass of fans. I clap and cheer and often expect things of him, and then I feel ashamed and lie low for a while. I’ve never had, and most probably will never have the chance to tell him even a part of what I feel for him. I can’t give him anything, however much I would love to. This is why I’m depressed, and also because of the fact that he would love to keep on giving, and giving, and giving, more and more, he let us into his house, his living-room, he shows us everything, he takes us up on the stage, he sings himself into illness, he’s tired and yet goes to give autographs, and it’s still not enough for us. And this will only end when he loses his trust in us completely, or when he perishes in the effort to keep giving more because he feels it’s never enough, because we make him feel that way. Both alternatives are horrible…

I miss him badly, I’m freezing to the bone. I am homesick, I long to be back in the Light, in the warmth. I am insatiable, one can never get enough love… and I know I’m selfish, but the only thing that keeps me going in this moment is the thought of seeing this strange, two-faced angel who has come to us in human form to show us the way.

Dear Josh

It’s 11 pm local time, by the time I finish this post it will be midnight, 27th of February. I could keep it short and simple and just say, Happy Birthday… but this time I feel like I should write more… not sure what… and not sure why… not sure why now.

It has been four years. Four years since I first heard you sing. Back then, you pulled me out of my deepest misery, you chased away my nightmares, you lifted my spirits and made me believe everything would be all right. Always.

Since that time, you have had an impact on my life stronger than most people around me have. You have inspired me artistically, you have showed me how to be generous, you have given me some of the most amazing friends I ever had. Because of you, I travelled; because of you, I was brave; because of you, I became involved. You made me think, you made me soar, you made me help others. Through your music I experienced feelings I have never had before. From your voice I drew strength and bliss. By your beauty the artist within me was profoundly moved. Your humour has made me laugh, your generosity has made me weep, your presence has given me clarity. Your humbleness is a constant reminder of who I want to be.

I am writing a novel that you inspired. This novel is teaching me things about myself and other people I never understood as clearly as now. It may never be published but my soul and heart are in it, and it is a world I can take refuge in, and get recharged by. Whenever I feel off, I only need to write a little to my novel. Indirectly, you’re still helping me find my center!

You have given me new musical insight. Ben Folds, Mumford & Sons, A Fine Frenzy. Charles Aznavour. Thank you for them!

Your foundation made me become involved in doing charity work. Something I have never done, not that I’m proud of it. You set us an example, and you live by it. You do exacly what you preach. You truly live by Christ’s teachings. You get involved where and when you can , you help people, as many as you can, you pay attention to your fans, to as many as you physically and emotionally can. You listen to what we say, you grant us our wishes. You indulge us, you cater for our needs. You care for us. You really do. The way we care for you. It’s a full circle that has not been broken yet, and I know for certain that it’s not you who will break it, when the time comes… it will be our foolishness, selfishness, and greed.

All these things that you do, you do them gladly, without any effort. You stay open and you stay focused on what’s really important in life. You have been brought up well by two wonderful parents in a wonderful manner and you can walk on your path with your head raised high. You exude love and clarity, you have an aura of something genuine about you, something that we find irresistible. A dear friend once phrased this thought in the truest way possible: “We are drawn to Josh like moths are drawn to the fire. But instead of getting singed, we are reborn.” We are drawn to you, Josh, like tiny moths to a gargantuan, magical, surreal fire; you engulf us with the flames of your love and we are, literally, reborn; each of us rise from our ashes, better persons, grown into our better selves. We are saved, and purged, because of you.

Please don’t be frightened of this huge responsibility. It’s a heavy load but it would not be within you, if you weren’t strong enough to carry it. And if or when you decide to throw the burden off, we’ll be there to carry it for you. And you can let go, and fall back on us. We’ll catch you, we’ll break your fall. We’ll give back what you gave us. There is nothing in the world that you can do and make us stop loving you, Josh. Nothing.

I know now why I wanted to write this post. It’s a public blog, you might come across it. Maybe, who knows. Bigger miracles have happened! I know that I can never tell you all this in person, not ever. Not only because I couldn’t, but also because I am not meant to. I’ve been struggling against this for years, I was hoping to get closer to you, one day, maybe, through a miracle, start working for you, or something as silly as that. But all the things that you’ve given me, now I know: I am not meant to thank you for them. Because deep within your subconscious you know all of it already. You know. You see it in our eyes, you hear it in our cheers. You feel it in our love that travels to you each and every time. So there is no need for yet another clingy fan to tell you just how much she loves you.

I wrote all these things down with the certainty that I can never personally express to you what you mean to me. And in the humble hope that written words travel fast. Maybe they reach you while you sleep, or drink your glass of champagne over a slice of cake, or rehearse with the band for one of the upcoming shows. Maybe the power of loving thoughts and words can indeed move mountains. I truly hope so.

Happy Birthday, dear Josh! May your life always be as amazing as you are making mine.


Ülök a repülőgépen London felé. Elmélkedem azon, milyen csodaszép a felhők fölött az égbolt, milyen makulátlan fehér minden, milyen vakító a fény, micsoda nyugalom árad szét az emberben a hófehér felhőrengeteg látványától. Várakozásteljes béke terjeszkedik a szívemben, jó a kedélyállapotom, kicsit izgulok, hogy első nagyobb utazásom egyedül miként fog sikerülni. Persze, a választ előre tudom, de azért sosem lehet tudni, ugye? Hallgatom az “Illuminations”-t, mely minden meghallgatással egyre szebb és meghittebb, és felélénkül bennem a tudat, hogy holnap este Josh-t fogom látni egy kápolnában. A mennyek isteni látványához angyalian szép zene társul, de kisvártatva a gép elindul lefelé, áthasítjuk a fehér tömegtelen tömeget, szürkeségbe kerülünk, sötét van, bizonytalanság van, majdhogynem hideg van. A változás mindig ijesztő… Aztán felsejlenek London esti fényei, sok-sok apró, majd egyre nagyobbodó világosság-folt, autók véráramlata zubog végig a pályák és utak erein, különös látvány. Gyönyörű látvány. Néha messziről kell ránézni valamire, hogy szépnek tűnjön… Lám, a tökéletes, mennyei nyugalmat felváltó földi káosz is tud szép lenni. read more »

Josh Groban “Illuminations”: A Review

“An operatic voice that soars into superhuman heights and makes us reach for our handkerchiefs, tacky lyrics and a boring style, melodramatic songs”, etc. This could have been Josh Groban’s description, at any point in his career, if he were just one of the many singers blessed with a beyond ordinary voice.

But he is not.

Moreover, try shoving him into any musical genre or category and he will bounce back right into your face.

If you have heard some of his previous work, you will know that Mr Groban is comfortable both in classical melodies and – well – everything else. I do mean everything else. Josh had commented several times on the blessing and curse of his voice; there really is not much you can do when you’ve got a voice like this in your throat, it’s like a beast ready to unleash its fury on the unsuspecting. Nevertheless, he has always been ready to embark on new adventures and discard all expectations, all pressure from labels and public alike. At the risk of losing fans by the thousands, he has sung pop, he has again and again sung world music, he is ready to sing jazz, and gospel.

With this new album, the singer is treading on grounds untouched before. It is a shock but despite his repeatedly stated dislike for country music, he is almost there! You’re on the borderline, Josh, admit it, admit that you’re a sucker for country music, that simple humanity and unassuming spirituality that country (and its sub-genres) has to offer. There are folk and country elements in here, a-plenty; there are instruments unheard before in his songs (the trained will tell us exactly what instruments, all I know is that I have heard them before on all those albums I love by folk and alt-country artists), and if you expected – well – anything, you better hold onto your seats. This ride has started way back, back with his second album „Closer”, back where world music surfaced beside the grandiose melodies targeted at conservative audiences. It continued in „Awake”, his third studio album, where there was a lot of auditory dessert for the musically expectant, and it takes giant steps further into a land of total musical awesomeness with „Illuminations”.

THE WANDERING KIND (PRELUDE) is an instrumental song, something 99% of Josh Groban fans did not expect. I’m sure most of us sat with our mouths hanging open at the melody and complexity of this musical piece. Considering the fact that he started writing this at the age of 12, well… I rest my case. The upbeat pace, the unusual mixture of instruments reflects on so many cultures around the world and proves that this young man is not one to settle in just one place, literally or figuratively speaking. Josh takes us by the hand and, at the risk of sounding tacky, he leads the way for us, timid folk. For an album starter, this song could not have been better chosen!

A haunting melody and eerie mood that combined with melancholy piano and the sound of bell-chime results in a painfully gripping second song. After the positive tone of the first one, BELLS OF NEW YORK CITY is a song of reminiscing about the past, and of someone in particular… it is a song of indecision, a song of reluctant memories that come back to persist and linger obstinately, against someone’s will. It is a song of lamentation, of pleading for things lost. It is a song of winter, of things gone, there is not much hope in this song „of joy and redemption and everything in between”. The strings convey passion, the piano and the bells tear at the heart. It pretty much calls for a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. Or two.

The most important song on the record, message-wise, is GALILEO. The line „Galileo fell in love” says it all, if the song were this one line it would already send the message out… to everyone who is brave enough to embrace THE INEXPLICABLE. This song is a gentle confession, of love, and of faith. It dares to mention science and spirituality under the same breath and it dares to say that BOTH ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT… If anyone is scientific-minded, but enlightened enough, they will get the message. Otherwise we could go on and on writing essays about the importance of this song but if one is ready, and willing, the message is there at first glance. Tremendously uplifting.

As if taken out of a Broadway musical, L’ORA DEL’ADDIO is monumental and tender at the same time, the vocals are magnificent, and the fact that Josh co-wrote the song gives us a hint at how important stage singing/acting is for him. This song could be the forerunner of many, many Broadway plays to come, co-written by Mr Groban. Even the ones who dislike the musical genre (like me) will certainly see the merits of the song, and especially appreciate the vocal achievement.

HIDDEN AWAY is the trickiest song on the entire album. The melody seems simple, almost simplistic. The lyrics are made up of simple words. It seems to be a simple song. But it starts growing on you upon each hearing and I have heard it approximately twenty times so far… let me tell you, this song ranks with Galileo in my book, as far as its message is concerned. This song speaks to everyone, regardless of social status and age; it urges us to speak, show, paint, sing, yell, dance, build our message, show our true colours, say it, SAY IT, do it, don’t hide it, be brave, dare, DARE TO FEEL, DARE TO DREAM, DARE TO DO… dare to show yourself. Never hide away. For some, the song is a confession of love… and that’s fine too. For me, it’s about honesty, openness of mind and spirit… and heart. This message could never have come at a better time, for me, for you, for us all.

AU JARDIN DES SANS-POURQUOI is in French. Oui. Not the first song Josh sings in this difficult language, pronunciation-wise. He is quite good at it, though. Moreover, he wrote it. He wrote this song. Vous comprenez? Il a écrit cette chanson. Mon Dieu! I did not know this at the time I first listened to the album; all I heard then was the beautiful language and a beautiful song about returning there… where there are no questions… where there is innocence. Yes, this song is about the Garden of Innocence, that garden which was the comfortable nest for the first lovers, Adam and Eve, and which has been every lover’s haven who came after that. Again, the song reminisces on the story of a love lost… it is another song of longing, but very different from „Bells„ because one cannot help but feel hope in this one. One day, that beam of light will crash through the thick layers of darkness. Beautiful, Josh, beautiful!

HIGHER WINDOW is quickly becoming one of everyone’s absolute favourites from the album. The lyrics speak of regret, but also redemption; the friendly melody reaches our hearts without the slightest effort; the chorus that spreads warmth and love and most of all, light into this world, into our very souls. Yet again, it is a spiritual love song, one that uses the metaphor of light to convey hope. Without light, this world would be lost and after the rebelling sadness of „Au jardin…”, this song soothes like a gentle prayer.

One of the most personal songs from a very personal and introspective album, IF I WALK AWAY makes one feel shame; how is it we get to hear this, how can we listen to the lyrics without being changed, saved, redeemed? It’s hard to say where the merits of the song lie, maybe in the gently pleading words, maybe in the incredible instrumentation, so unusual from Josh’s previous music. And when the song builds, all fear falls away and explosions of colours explode behind one’s eyes, there is so much promise, so much positivity in this song that one feels like soaring… it’s like Josh had lent each of us his own wings so we could fly with them until our own become strong enough to bear the uncertainties and fears that mime our perfect selves. If he took us by the hand at the beginning of the album, his hand has certainly never been tighter on ours than in this song. Will we follow him, if he walks away? I speak for myself: I WILL FOLLOW YOU, JOSH, ALWAYS. With heart and soul.

LOVE ONLY KNOWS starts in the manner of a Renaissance ballad, and Josh’s song cutting into the silence like a timid bard’s; then, slowly, instruments step in one by one, and as the words turn into a gentle but reassuring love confession, the chorus sends us into heights unimaginable. We are ear-witnesses to some incredible dynamics within the frame of just one song, the softness building into such power… a perhaps un-biased „wow” is in order! There is definite hope that love conquers all, and upon hearing Josh’s voice, one can again fully believe in love, even if faith had been lost.


There is a reason why I am leaving the title all by itself, to stand alone.
I am not sure I am musically learned enough to speak of this song without messing up… but here’s what I feel.
I feel there has not been such an original, unique and complex song in Josh Groban’s career.
I feel the combination of his voice and the Brazilian drum ensemble is something not many would expect.
The end result is absolute, sheer, unforeseen brilliance.
It’s like the blood rushing through our veins when love and passion dictate the tempo.
It’s like buds blooming in Spring, stroked by the first lazy sunlight after the twilight of winter.
It’s like being reborn.
Magnificent is an understatement.

After the sensory overload of the previous masterpiece, WAR AT HOME assails our hearts in a completely different way. So many of us are among the lucky ones who have never had to suffer the consequences of any kind of war. Many of us were born into a generation that has been provided with everything needed for a perfectly safe and happy life. It is safer to say now than it was several decades ago that if one messes up, it will be their fault and theirs only.
Nevertheless, the pain emanating from this song touched one profoundly and one is also touched by the depth of emotion Josh displays in these lyrics. The psychological trauma of war survivors is manifest in the words, sung by one who has never had to live through any war himself, which only proves how deeply he feels for everyone forced to fight a war against people like himself. The repetitive vocals preceding the chorus that explodes into complete pain convey the monotony of soldiers marching into their death. Again, Josh wrote this.

To give my opinion on LONDON HYMN requires my complete sincerity and that might result in the total discrediting of this review, but I will take that risk. When I first heard the album as a whole, this was the first song that made me cry. I cried like a baby, I did. I do not wish to dwell too much on the song, it’s a feeling, a thought, a state of heart. One feels it or they don’t. I did, and upon finding out that this beautiful short piece was, again, written by Josh, I was (and still am) once again amazed by his talent.

They told me STRAIGHT TO YOU was a Nick Cave cover. That meant that before reviewing this version, first I had to hear the original. One would be a downright fool to get into a Nick Cave song without knowing its background, the album’s background etc. One does get the Biblical references that emphasize the strength of a love song, embedded in… in great music. It’s good stuff. The cover version is more quiet and pensive, less upbeat, an eerie confession of love, slow and soft and playfully macabre at the same time, building up to apocalyptic heights both lyrically and musically. It is pure genius, and my hat goes off both to Mr Cave for the original song, and Mr Groban for daring to put this cover on his album. It’s very much out of the box and his fans are challenged to broaden their horizons, like in so many of the above songs.

FEELS LIKE HOME (the iTunes bonus track) is the most beautiful love song I have heard in a long time… these are words we all crave to hear just once in our lives, and if we have, we are among the chosen ones. Such a tender confession sung in a humble tone that allows itself to soar higher upon the peak of the song. This song, alongside the others, is a musical gem untainted by corny lyrics and the aggressive beats that seem to permeate so many of today’s „love songs”; it is more daring in its simplicity than most sexually explicit pop-hits could ever be. It is a love song for the old souls of this world.

After „Voce…”, THEY WON’T GO WHEN I GO (one of the bonus tracks on the Internet Fan Edition CD) is one of the most daring pieces, musically speaking, a cover version of Stevie Wonder’s brilliant original. It is a unique piece of music in itself, a resigned song in the face of assumed death, and this cover (in my opinion done with humbleness and obvious admiration) does plenty of justice to its ancestor. In it, horns sound instead of the original piano, making this version slightly different, pushing it into the classical direction, but just a little bit. The cataclysm of the unforgettable voice and orchestra burst into the lamenting mood of the song with a start, then all is resignation again, all is letting go, all is facing fears, facing the end, ready to depart and meet destiny. (Some say Stevie Wonder wrote the song when he thought he was dying, the song was his farewell to the world.) A surprising choice for a bonus track but then again, most of the songs on this album have loads of the surprise factor in them.

LE COSI CHE SEI PER ME is the second bonus track from the Internet Fan Edition CD. The title means „the things you are to me” and if that is not enough to start the tears, the Italian language, the beautifully flowing lyrics and a monumentally sad melody will. The song reminds us most of Josh’s older, previous musical self, and it will (should!) satisfy even the most critical, classic-trained fans. One is swept away by the power of the lyrics and the melody, there is no way fans will avoid the „replay” button; biased or not, I listened to it 6 or 7 times in a row. The song is Josh’s comfort zone in the sense that this is how he was introduced to the world, this is what took him into the hall of fame established for classical crossover artists, but the incredible vocals prove how far he had come: his voice is perfect, even for the most sensitive ear. This song is sure to become a concert favourite.

And there you have it. There is a significant amount of debate over this album already; some have found plenty of ingredients in the songs they can criticize, none of Josh’s records have elicited so much controversy. I believe he is loving the fact that we have taken up the challenge and most of us are ready to be shown a new musical world, one he loves so much, one he is so eager to explore. Whether it’s Broadway or classical crossover or folk/country/new age, Josh Groban is not afraid to embrace it all.

And he is patiently waits for us all to get…


Josh Groban “Illuminations”

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