|Il Divo (Handout)
TORONTO - Simon Cowell’s all-male international popera group Il Divo sure know how to play to their older female audience.
The handsome, formally dressed foursome, who touched down at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night for their first stop in Toronto in three years, wasted no time getting the ladies in the crowd of nearly 8,000 riled up.
“I have a feeling tonight — it’s going to be a good night,” said Il Divo’s 39-year-old French member Sébastien Izambard, as the quartet dramatically made their entrance onto a stage filled with more dry ice than a Metallica show.
“This is the second night of our North American leg of the tour,” said Izambard. “We have had a little bit of a rest. We feel like four caged tigers.”
Corny but effective.
But it was American tenor David Miller, 39, who got the first wolf whistles of the night as he teased the audience with what he called “dolphin-speak” and flirtatiously loosened his tie before the first (mostly) English-sung song of the night, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.
Izambard later won over locals by saying he had to try one of T.O.’s famous peameal (bacon) sandwich at the St. Lawrence Market.
“Is it any good?” he asked to cheers.
And so the shtick went on all night long.
Stage banter aside, the two singers were joined by their Il Divo compatriots baritone Carlos Marín, 43, of Spain, and tenor Urs Bühler, 40, of Switzerland for close to two hours of singing — in five different languages.
Backed by a 35-piece orchestra on a minimalist stage, save for a curved video screen behind them and platform steps, the quartet let their impressively big voices do most of the talking.
Still, it was a nice break whenever something spontaneous would happen like when Miller almost wiped out while coming down the stage during “My Way”. (He later did a do-over without tripping.)
And when Marin picked something out of Izambard’s hair during the same song, Izambard joked: “What are you trying to say?”
Marin also claimed to be the only single one left in the group.
“I thought maybe tonight I’d be able to fix this and get lucky,” he said to cheers before asking everyone to stand up and dance salsa during La Vida Sin Amor: “Let’s see a little sexy”.
For his efforts, he got a couple of red roses handed or thrown up to him on stage although he later claimed to have collected some phone numbers.
Also cute, was when Izambard got the audience to sing “Frere Jacques/Wheels On The Bus” in honor of his young son.
Touring in support of their 2011 release, Wicked Game, the foursome eventually got to that song after a 25-minute intermission, including an outfit change into more casual suits. Standouts during the first set included “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”, “Unchained Melody”, and “My Way”.
In the second set, highlights were a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah (Aleluya)”, Roy Orbison’s “Crying (Llorando)”, “Pour Que Tu M’Aimes Encore (What It Takes)” — which inexplicably got the audience clapping along for the first time in the night — and West Side Story’s “Somewhere”. That ended the show before the final encore number “Time To Say Goodbye”.