“Hopefully I can convince Sarah to sing a song or two with me,” Groban says of the trek, which launches on July 15 in New Orleans and will feature selections from his most recent album Stages, as well as earlier favorites. “She has been so kind to me throughout my career. I’ve been a fan of hers [and] gone to see her in concert many times.” (Listen to Groban discuss the tour, and more, on the Pop Shop Podcast, below. His interview begins at the 22:30 mark.)
Groban says that one of his “favorite onstage memories” was duetting with McLachlan at Live 8 in 2005, where they paired up for her smash single “Angel.”
As for how the Groban/McLachlan tour team-up happened, Groban says, “It was pretty much a bucket list thing. Like, ‘If you could ask anybody to come and join you on this tour, what do you think?’ I just said to myself, ‘Well, gosh, if Sarah might want to do it, we’d have a lot of fun and it’d be great. Our audiences both would have a great time. And [it would] give us a chance to blend our voices again.’ [I’m] just so delighted she said yes to it. We’re going to have a good summer.”
Groban’s tour with McLachlan comes in the middle of a lengthy turn on the road for him. Before his dates with McLachlan, he’ll play solo shows in Florida in February and March before jetting off to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Europe for a series of shows in April and May. Groban currently has tour dates lined up through Aug. 27 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.
Amidst all of this touring action, Groban is also in rehearsals for his upcoming Broadway debut in the musical Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812. The show’s Broadway performances are scheduled to begin in September — the month after Groban completes his tour.
“I’m rehearsing now. I’m my time off, I’m meeting with the director… and just been learning — diving into the score. I’ve been having to really rehearse the accordion quite a bit, because my character, Pierre, plays accordion throughout a lot of the show.”
Does Groban play many instruments in real life? “Basically keyed instruments. You know, piano, accordion, keytar… [laughs.] I play the drums, too. I love to play the drums. There was a time where I was really trying to learn how to play the bagpipe. But I think I annoyed enough people. It’s kind of like the violin, where it’s like, when you’re a master, it’s just gorgeous. But when there’s that awkward learning period, anybody within a 500-foot radius hates you.”
Time will tell if Groban’s keytar (or bagpipe) skills will be put to good use this summer on tour. Audiences will find out beginning Feb. 27 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.