Review: ‘This Is Michael Bolton’

Band: Chris Camozzi, Schuyler Deale, Joe Turano, Mugs Cain, Pat Hawk, Vann Johnson, Janis Liebhart.

Band: Chris Camozzi, Schuyler Deale, Joe Turano, Mugs Cain, Pat Hawk, Vann Johnson, Janis Liebhart.

Fans of Michael Bolton will find plenty to rave about to colleagues at the office water cooler on Thursday, as this one-hour special is a well-paced look at the popular singer.

A lead-in by the season premiere of “In the Heat of the Night” should also help deliver some good numbers for both shows, maybe even bringing in a new fan or two to each as well.

The team behind the highly successful Garth Brooks special brings to life this Bolton showcase, interspersing performance footage among the requisite interviews and testimonials.

Bolton and company spend a good deal of time trying to convince viewers that the singer is just a guy-next-door who happens to be a successful recording artist.

Audience sees Bolton’s band playing a charity softball game and hears tennis star Andre Agassi and basketball great Michael Jordon, two other regular guys, assessing Bolton’s career and music.

It’s as if Bolton needs his own spin doctors to tout his virtues rather than letting the audience decide for themselves.

Bolton only alludes to his previous lack of success as a solo artist under a different name, and his attempts at a career as a member of a hard rock band.

Further information on these may have endeared Bolton to the uninformed who may react with more respect than envy for a guy who has worked so hard to get where he is.

And very little is heard from the fans. Except for the shots of attractive females in the front rows during the performances, his devotees are underrepresented throughout the program.

Fans at home will enjoy the up-close look at Bolton’s performances.

He draws from his multi-platinum repertoire, including cuts from his recently released Columbia album, “Timeless (the Classics),” which the special is really designed to promote.

A recording session shows Bolton joking in studio, no doubt aimed at critics who say he has no sense of humor, never smiles and takes himself too seriously.

Director Bud Schaetzle does an admirable job of injecting a sense of movement and class into the performances, while not resorting to whiplash-inducing cuts and obscure camera angles.

This Is Michael Bolton

(Wed. (28), 10-11 p.m., NBC-TV)


Concert filmed at Arie Crown Theater Chicago by High Five Prods./Passion Filmworks. Exec producers, Michael Bolton, Louis Levin, Bud Schaetzle; producer, Martin Fisher; director, Schaetzle.


Editors, Michael McNamara, Michel Solomon; associate producer, Bred Wolcott; production designer, Dean Tschetter.
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