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Atlanta, Georgia
Philips Arena
December 6, 2002
Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed inside the arena, which was a
heartbreak to me, mostly because I was so lucky to get really good seats this time - much better than the last time in Chicago this past June! I was in the center stage floor section, and whereas it wasn't a front row seat, I was about 15 rows back, and I could see Andrea just as though he was standing across the room from me. I was so excited, I think I floated about a foot off the floor the whole time! It doesn't take much coaxing to persuade yourself to think that only you and he are in the room together. It was very intoxicating.

I had the chance to chat with a number of the people right around me. I wasn't surprised to find that one couple had come from Kansas, another from Philadelphia, and then of course, there was me - from Texas. It's amazing how we will travel so far just to hear his voice for a couple of hours. But even if he sang all day, it would never be enough.

His voice was bold and beautiful, more so than ever. He was so relaxed,
and he just seemed to be having so much fun himself! He was personable, humble, and accommodating. At one point, in a quiet moment, one lady in the audience shouted out the usual, "We love you, Andrea." He leaned over to Maestro Mercurio, and said something bashfully to him. Then the maestro looked in the direction of the comment and said, "He says thank you . . .and so do I. We love you too."

I was thrilled that he sang four (4) cuts off of the Sentimento CD, and Ms. Baich played the violin as though it was a part of her own body. She was so expressive with it, and it just seemed to sing back to her every caress of the strings. Ms. Borsi was also very entertaining. She, too, has a bold and lovely soprano voice. She made a lot of facial expressions, and had a lot of movement, which added to the story in each song. She and Andrea seemed to be so at ease with one another. Last June in Chicago, Andrea and Ana Maria Martinez, did not have nearly the same "chemistry" as Andrea and Ms. Borsi had. Together, they seemed to be acting out short scenes from the opera selections they were giving us.

>From the Sentimento CD, Andrea sang "Aranjuez," "Occhi di Fata," "Musica Proibita," and as a variance from the program, sang "Plasir d'Amour," rather than "Sogno d'Amore." Then there was the wonderful sacred aria, "Panis Angelicus."

Of course, Maestro Mercurio was his usual entertaining, animated self! Sometimes, I got so engrossed in just watching all of his gestures and his facial expressions, his jumping around his platform, that I nearly lost the thought that he was conducting a large orchestra. He seemed to be coaxing and commanding the music from thin air! I have never seen Andrea with any other conductor, so I don't really have a reference point. But he and Andrea seem to have such a friendship, such a connection, like a second sense of what each other is doing or is about to do. They compliment each other wonderfully.

The audience seemed very polite at first, but as the concert went on, their reactions became more and more emotional, and before long, you could hear the cries, "Bravo, brava, and bravi" coming from all over the auditorium. As I understand, it wasn't a total sell out. I had heard 7,000 tickets out of an available 10,000 (although, I sure can't understand why). But once the crowd got warmed up, they absolutely filled the room with accolades for each of the performances.

And there I was, with my little "cowgirl" Texas self, yelling the equivalent in Texan, being, "Woo Hoo and Yee Haww!!!" Hahaha - I'll bet he could hear me from the stage, because it sure didn't sound like anything anyone else was shouting. And Heaven only knows, I couldn't keep myself in my seat. I was up on my feet about every time I turned around. Honestly, I was on "cloud 9." 

Atlanta GA, December 6, 2002 - thanks to Carole

The last selection of the evening was "Brindisi" from La Traviata, sung by both Andrea and Ms. Borsi. They all left the stage. Then the fun really began. The crowd cheered, whistled, coaxed and pleaded until Andrea came back out, grabbed a flute and began playing "Melodramma." After each selection, he left the stage, and we all began to chant, cheer, and plead. He thrilled us with four wonderful encores. The second time he sang an all Italian, solo version of "The Prayer." Then, the stage hands rolled out a piano, and Andrea came back out with Frank Sinatra's "My Way," and the crowd just went wild. Then everyone came back out on stage, the entire ensemble was on the stage for his signature good-bye, "Con te partirò."

At last, the entire ensemble came back out again for a final bow and presentation of roses. Of course, when it was all over, I was both happy and sad. I had waited for so long to see his performance, and then it was all over within a couple of hours. But what a couple of hours!

About two seats away from me there sat a lovely blonde-haired lady with a boy about 8 years old. She was wearing a tag around her neck that gave her full access to the arena. I overheard her talking to the lady in front of her, telling her all about how she had been a personal friend of Andrea's for about 4 years, and that she was going back stage after the concert. Then lo and behold, when the time came, she even took the lady that she had been talking to with her. My jaw just dropped. How I wish I could have been in her place!

Now, here is the amazing part. Just to show you how the Lord was smiling on me that night. I bought my souvenir T-shirt, the one that has the black and white portrait of Andrea from inside the Sentimento CD, where he has his hair combed back, and his head nodded forward, as in prayer. I tucked the shirt inside my purse, but then, of course, it was so full, I couldn't close it. I went over to the Omni Hotel, where dozens of us had gathered to find a cab back to our own hotel.

A tall man with a top hat was hailing cabs left and right. He was putting
us inside in groups of anywhere from four to 12 people, depending on the size of the cab. I was put into a cab with 11 other people, and off we went. Well, much to my dismay, when I arrived at my hotel, I found that my 'so very precious' souvenir was missing. I was frantic, I was mad, my heart was just broken. In what I thought was a desperate attempt, I called back over to the Omni, and asked to speak to the bell captain. I explained my predicament to him, and to my absolute surprise, he said, "Oh, I remember you very well!" And he gave me the phone number of the cab that he had put me in (can you believe a memory like that??). I called the cab, and the driver, Rondell, answered. Once again, I explained my predicament. Again, he said, "Oh sure, I remember you." He told me that when he found a stopping place, he would check the cab (which was a large van), and if he found the shirt, he would return it to my hotel front desk. Even though I was in utter amazement that I had even gotten this far, I was still very pessimistic about getting the shirt back. I thought for sure that one of the many other passengers would just 'adopt' it.

After about 15 minutes, I just couldn't stand it any more, and I called him back. Well, what do you think? He had my T-shirt in his hand, and he was on his way back to me. I was in total amazement. When he arrived, I hugged his neck, and told him how very grateful I was. Then of course, I gave him a nice tip.

I was shocked, but also pleasantly surprised at how helpful all of the people in Atlanta were. I even asked our front desk clerk if this is the way they always are in Atlanta, and he gave me one of those 'are you kidding me' looks, and said, "Oh, no dear, you were just very lucky!" Of
course, I knew that luck had nothing to do with it. It was my sweet and ever faithful Lord watching out over me on one of the very best nights of my life.

Barbi J. Stapleton

The Atlanta Concert was much more than just a concert to me. It was an adventure. I was very worried about the weather in Atlanta. So worried that I forgot about the weather in Pittsburgh. So, I woke Thursday morning to a tremendous snowstorm. I had no choice but to drive to the airport. A 40-minute trip was now a 2-hour drive. The authorities were closing the interstate but I was driving because I was on a mission. I arrived at the airport and my flight was cancelled. But, I managed to get another flight out of the airport and I was on my way. Now to make my priorities clear, I would have not attempted this for business, after all I am not crazy.

The day of the concert the hotel was filled with excitement and high energy. One could spot a Bocelli fan by the sheer look of excitement on their face. We were ready. A dinner had been graciously organized by a couple of Bocelli fans. The hard work paid off as we enjoyed a very nice dinner along with great conversation. Of course the talk was of the Maria Luigi Borse, Steven Mercurio and ANDREA BOCELLI. I have often wondered if he knows how much he is loved and how many people from all over the world have been brought together in his name.

Concert time arrived and once seated in the Philips Arena, I knew the event was on hand.

Steven Mercurio opened the concert with the playing of the National Anthem. Maestro Mercurio then presented us with the overture from La Forza del Destino by Verdi. Now I prepared for the entrance of Andrea Bocelli. This was the climax to all of the planning, and waiting. This was it. Andrea walked out onto the stage, in a black on black tux. No tie. A different look. His hair combed back behind his ears. Seemed longer in the back. What I like to refer to as the "new look," but as we know it has been here for a good while. He looked sharp. He smiled his first nervous smile and then I could hear the music. I have come to recognize and love this from his appearances on American Television as well as from the CD Sentimento, "Aranjuez." How appropriate. His voice was full and stunning. He seemed relaxed and confident. Lidia Baich took her place next to Andrea and the stage was filled with the heartfelt sounds of world-renowned talent. Andrea Bocelli continued to thrill the audience as applause erupted almost before each selection was complete. One of my particular favorites almost took my breath away that evening. As the orchestra began "Panis Angelicus," Andrea lifted his hands to his chest. I now take the time to apologize to Sally sitting to my left for the black and blue mark I know I must have made on her arm when I nudged her. I truly love this song and Mr. Bocelli was paying such respect to it. Because was a hit with the audience as we voiced our collective approval at the completion of the song. But to move on. Ms. Borsi preformed "Je veux vivre" from Romeo & Juliet and oh with such splendor. She truly is a very talented woman. I really didn’t want the concert to end but I did so want to see the flute again, and I knew this wouldn’t happen until and encore. "The Prayer," "Melodramma," "My Way" and "Time to Say Goodbye."

Once again Andrea Bocelli gave his fans exactly what they came for. The visuals were stunning, his voice strong and pure, his notes clear and confident. The Maestro, soprano and violinist all a wonderful compliment to this man and his voice.


I was out of my heart when I got tickets to the Andrea Bocelli Concert even if I had to travel some thousands of miles to see him. As the hour drew near I grew frightened. You see, I have myself a bit of a wild imagination having growing up with Broadway and opera. This was my very first concert and disappointment would be heartwretching. Finally we'd met and not in the so-near-so far circumstances of television. He entered amidst wondrous applause, simply lovely a sight to behold and then the voice...It is real and monstrously beautiful and I love this man.

I really wanted to hear Sogno d'Amore still I was overwhelmed with his 'Because'. He absolutely nailed it and let me in tears. I personally don't care for public crying but this man broke me down.

Ms. Borsi was absolutely wonderful. Her solo "Je veux vivre" was marvelous and Ms Baich is the luckiest and talented violinist. I intended to pick up the violin very soon.

Maestro Mercurio was a marvel to watch. Absolutely eccentric and wonderful and funny and handsome and talented. It says alot that he loves the music as much as he does and isn't afraid to show it. I love him.

But the night belonged to Andrea. Three times he had to come back for an encore to standing ovations. The audience refused to let him go; the sighs of disappointment when he let the stages, shouts of joy when he returned, sighs again at the romancing of his voice then calling again for his return.

BRAVO MAESTRO BOCELLI untill we meet again.

Maryanne Owiti
Arlington, Tx.

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