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                             New York City
                                      CBS Early Show
                               Summer Concert Series

                                        Trump Plaza
                                      June 11, 2002
CBS Summer Concert Series, June 11 2002 - thanks to Nellie
New York City, Tuesday, June 11th. Andrea appeared at noon today at Trump Plaza, a very small plaza in front of the Trump skyscraper that houses CBS on Fifth Avenue, for CBS's Early Show Summer Concert series. The open-air concert on the plaza was taped and should be shown next week. Although it is an outdoor public space, only holders of CBS tickets could be close to the stage. As luck would have it, one of Sue's co-workers at school also works for CBS and is familiar with Sue's admiration for Andrea (he eats lunch with Sue and he has the normal number of ears). He generously provided tickets for Sue, Iris, and Nellie, so that the three of us were able to stand in the front and second rows center--right up against the stage, only a few feet away from Andrea. This was Sue's and Iris' first time ever to see Andrea live and certainly we never dreamed we would see him so close to us. So we are sorry if you expected an intellectual appraisal or a cool and dispassionate journalistic or critical analysis--you are not going to get that from this concert report.

How can we put such an experience into words? Seeing right in front of us that dear face, a face at first shy and nervous, then that sweet smile, or lighting up when he laughs, his eyes laughing too, while we gazed up at this tall, towering teddy bear of a man and listened to his beloved voice live!

We will try to recall as many details as possible. This was a NY summer day at its notorious worst: high heat, heavy humidity, and an ozone alert in the morning that warned all people with respiratory problems and/or allergies to stay indoors. Andrea appeared at the plaza accompanied by Carlo Bernini, who conducted the small orchestra, and by his assistant manager, Cristina Gelsi. Andrea was wearing a thick white scarf, indicating he still has bronchitis, as he did a few days ago at the Chicago concert. He wore a long white shirt over black pants and--in some strange error of judgment--a leather jacket. By mid-concert, the stage area was in the full sun and 90 degree heat and Andrea began to sweat a lot in his leather jacket. They stopped the concert and the make-up woman wiped his face with a little towel. It took them some time to locate her, while each of us was ready to volunteer to run up there and do it!

There were problems with the sound system and Andrea, the perfectionist as always, wanted them to be fixed. He sang 3 songs altogether, but he ran through a rehearsal of each one softly first for a check of the sound system before singing it completely at full volume. The songs, all from Cieli di Toscana, were "Mille Lune, Mille Onde," "L'Incontro," and "Il Mistero Dell'Amore."

There was also a brief interview with Andrea. We could only hear parts of it. Our view was partially blocked by the cameraman at this point and we concentrated on trying to see Andrea. The interviewer asked him many of the same questions he has been asked so many times before about opera and pop. However, at one point, when Andrea said that he had many friends who did not like opera, and therefore for them he sang pop, part of the audience--including us--burst into yells of "No! Opera! Opera!" At that point, Andrea paused, smiled broadly, and said, "But I also have fans who like opera," and we all yelled again, "Yes! Opera! Opera!" And he smiled again. We were watching the way his eyes laugh sometimes when he really smiles.

Because he had not had any rehearsal on this stage and was first setting foot on it, Andrea seemed nervous and uncomfortable at the beginning. he gradually relaxed and smiled more and more. The audience was very warm and enthusiastic, with much yelling and applause, and he responded directly to it several times, saying "thank you" softly in English.

We'd like to emphasize that he was not lip-synching at any time. In fact, he changed one line of "L'Incontro," the second repetition of "E restai davanti a lui per un po," and he changed the way he sang some of the words/notes of "Il Mistero Dell'Amore." In spite of his bronchitis, and the intense heat, he sang with as much or more volume than ever, his voice as strong or stronger than ever, and he held the last note of each song longer--it seems to us--than we have ever heard him do before (and the audience went wild each time). What is more, he seemed to be playing with his voice on certain notes, even more than you hear on the Cieli di Toscana disc, holding a note and playing with it. So the songs sounded somewhat different from the way they sound on Cieli di Toscana, and better in some instances. Hopefully, all 3 songs will be broadcast and we can all check out these things.

Before he recited his poem for the rehearsal of "L'Incontro," Andrea turned to the crowd and said endearingly, "Don't laugh" (at him reciting). When he finished singing it complete for the televised version, the audience applauded and yelled for so long that he couldn't start the last song for a while. He looked a litle embarassed, as he often does when people applaud him for a long time, but he was also smiling, he obviously liked it. Carlo "punched" Andrea encouragingly a few times during the concert. The crowd was still yelling for an encore while Carlo thanked the orchestra and took Andrea offstage. Andrea turned and smiled one last smile at us all as he left.

We met fans from New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia, and told them about bo.de, BocelliOnLine and BocelliChats and about Andrea's discs. None of them knew about Cieli di Toscana, although it's been out since October. Due to lack of publicity, we are still meeting fans who do not know about the Cieli di Toscana disc, DVD, or video. They were all thrilled to hear about these and about Andrea's other discs and were eager to get them. The concert started late and the woman from Atlanta muttered that she would miss her plane back home and she didn't care either.

As for us, a dream that we didn't even dare to dream just came true. It was as if we had been gazing at an angel in a poster on our wall and then seeing that angel appear as flesh and blood right in front of us, and watched and heard him overcoming all the hardships around this concert--just as he has overcome the hardships of the past months--to create a wonderful experience for everybody present.

Iris and Sue


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