June 2009
USA Tour
(5 reports)

June 12, 2009
Chicago, Illinois
It had been 7 long years since Andrea had been in concert in the Chicago area.  When the 2009 "Incanto" spring tour was anticipated, I was thinking, "I wonder where I'll be flying to this time".  Lucky channel surfing on March 15th led me to discover I wouldn't need any airplanes at all.  I came across my PBS station that Sunday evening at the EXACT TIME the information was on the screen regarding Andrea's June 12, 2009 concert at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.  ILLINOIS?  Seriously?  No planes for Janice FINALLY?  YES!  Yay!  I immediately called the station and made the necessary pledge to secure a ticket for the big night.  Where was it in the arena?  Who cares! :D  I was going to BE THERE again, after a 7 year wait.  Andrea really hadn't forgotten about the middle of the USA :)  When my ticket arrived in the mail, a few weeks before the sho w, I learned I would be in row 19 on the center aisle.  Hey, as long as I was in the building, I was happy. 

As those of us lucky enough to have been on the Bocelli trail :) for awhile know by now, one of the best parts of the experience is meeting up with friends old and new for dinner and pre-show excitement.  There's nothing like sharing that time with people who KNOW.  We had a group of around 15 for dinner--veterans (hi, Carole!) and newbies (talkin' to you, Carla!).  I wasn't exactly sure what dinner at "Maxie's Bar and Grill" would be like but the almond encrusted chicken breast was top-notch!  Who knew? :)  Dessert?  With the arena doors soon to open?  Not a chance.  We paid our bill and took off.  The "we" I'm speaking of there consists of myself and my sister, Laura, who would be seeing her second real concert and having her third Bocelli experience (she went to the Christmas thingy).

The restaur ant was directly across the street from the arena so we walked over.  LOVED that! :)  The lines were long but steadily moving inside.  Yay!  Shortly after our entrance, I found the souvenir stand filled with lots of nifty new items for sale.   Andrea's tour t-shirts are getting really cool! :)  I only bought one and could have easily bought at least one more but...at $35 a pop, I didn't have enough money. :'(  Laura and I found our seats and I looked to see which one I liked better.  Since they were not together, I said I was sitting in the better one. :D  I kept the seat I got from PBS.

All the seats that were for sale in the arena looked to be sold.  Of course, those that were behind the stage were all blocked off.  We were a good sized crowd and very enthusiastic. :)  Andrea's opening message (shown on the big screen with his voice speaking on a recording) was received with applause!  I took that for a good sign.  People were already caring and receptive.  I think we've all read about how Andrea sounds better than ever these days and gosh, it's so true!  He really did!  I know, I know, everyone always says that but we can't help it if it is always TRUE!  He also was very relaxed and loose--doing his "conducting" ;) and chatting with Steven.  I remember when the poor guy always looked so tense and tight--like he'd snap in two.  Those days are gone and it's wonderful to see! :) 

At the intermission, I went up to row 15 to  talk with Laura for a bit.  I was thinking maybe we could switch seats for the second half just for the heck of it, pretty much.  The more I talked about it, though, the more I decided I was going to stay in my own seat.  I then told Laura I was going to go visit Carole up in the second row center.  I went up there and we said a few words and then Carole said THE WORDS of t he night, "you know, these two seats in front of me are empty".  Okay, WHAT?!  Really?  Yes, it was a for sure thing.  I knew EXACTLY what my next move was going to be. ;)  Carla had come over to talk and I told her, "come on, let's sit down here!".  She wasn't game, though, and left.  La Donna e Mobile (some of you know her) then came over to talk.  I told her about the seats and said, "you know what we're going to do now, right?  We are going to chat and when the lights go down, well, what else can we do but sit down right here?  The show is starting!".  She was initially cautious but I told her, "sit down here now!". :D  She did and soon after, the lights went down....

We know the second half always starts with the orchestra alone.  They were done.  Steven left.  Steven came back with Andrea.  There he was!  RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!!!!!! :)  It's such a pleasure to be RIGHT THERE !  I know I don't have to explain any further. ;)  One of the things about being up there that will stay with me is watching Andrea sing "Voglio Vivere Cosi".  That song impressed me the first time I ever heard it on "Incanto" for the amazing vocal dexterity involved in singing it.  He never seems to take a breath and really sings non-stop a lot of the time.  Listening to THE VOICE do those tricks is amazing.  Watching the mouth and lips form the words is REALLY amazing! :)  Now the song impresses me even more. 

It's always hard to come to the end of a Bocelli concert but having the night end when you are FRONT ROW CENTER is even harder.  "Time To Say Goodbye" had  been completed.  Andrea and company waved and "exited" (he'd go to the side of the stage but never down the stairs for the times when he was coming back soon--why bother, right?).  We were applauding and cheering a LOT.  Would they come back?   They did.  Just Andrea and Steven.  Did it mean what I thought it would mean?  YES!   "Nessun Dorma" from the FRONT ROW CENTER!  My eyes got wet, though I did not shed tears.  But I surely was thanking my lucky stars. :)
by Janice Sopicki, 

June 13, 2009
American Airlines Arena, Dallas TX, USA
Dallas - if you can improve on perfection 
Mr. B. did just that. It's been 7 long years since my first concert. 7 years of sitting suicidally in front of my computer waiting for reports from friends and fellow fans lucky enough to attend those many concerts. 7 years of wondering if it was worth putting my kids through college for. And the answer is a resounding yes!!!!

The concert was spectacular. I don't know how they did it, but the acoustics were remarkable! To hear his voice so crystal clear was amazing. And the concert was flawless from beginning to end.

Mercurio was his usual energetic self. I was very surprised to see such a small orchestra, but let me tell you, they sounded huge under his baton. An exceptionally talented ensemble. I tend to muddle through straight orchestra pieces but they were all great!

I really liked the soprano Eglise Gutierrez. Their voices complemented each other very well and her solos were beautiful. Carmen has always been a sentimental favorite of mine because it was what hooked me on opera as a young girl. "Le fleur que tu m'avais jetee always makes me tear up and last night was no exception. He sang it beautifully. Had the rest of the concert been a disaster it wouldn't have mattered. It almost felt like I had never heard "Parle moi de ma mere" before. For some reason it never stood out for me like it did when they sang it together. You could tell his preparation for Carmen must have been superhuman.

The flautist, Andrea Griminelli, was great. Although we wondered if there was a problem with his mic because he was the only one that sounded a little fuzzy. Andrea introduced him as the greatest flautist in Italy and a big friend.

I have to admit to being a little leary of Heather Headley after some reports. I do acknowledge that she has a wonderful voice and they sound very good together. The only thought I had was she just needs to remind herself she is singing in duet and if she could just pull back the least little bit and simplify, they could be quite awesome together. He sings so simply and straightforwardly that you get the feeling he is always waiting for her to catch up, the tempo a little off. So much so that I noticed he even add a couple of extra notes that he doesn't usually. Even so, I enjoyed their two songs--"The Prayer" and "Canto della terra".

THE TENOR. Man Oh man. What can I say. He looked and sounded spectacular. Seemed very relaxed. No evident nervousness. I got many of my favorites from InCanto!!!! "Voglio vivere cosi", "Vieni sul mar", "Non ti scordar di me" solo!!!!!! But "Granda" was tremendous. Better than on the CD. And you can't help smiling because he stands so still for all the other songs and with this one he gets a little antsy, like he'd like to break out the castanets and really get after it, but can't quite let himself. The audience loved it. Four encores--"The prayer", a lovely "Besame Mucho", "Con te partiro" sung mostly solo until the very end and be still my beating heart the last one, Nessun Dorma.

It didn't take this audience any time to warm up. They were appreciative from beginning to end of everyone, but especially our guy. By the end of the concert he really had them going and they, like me, just didn't want it to end and would have superglued him to the stage if possible. If he even looked like it was his last encore they'd start clapping and hollering. He'd hesitate for just a second (the tease)and when he turned around they'd holler some more.

As we left afterwards I heard an employee of the arena tell someone "That was the best concert ever held here!" And I don't doubt his sincerity. One can only imagine how many concerts he's heard working there. What better tribute. I just hate it's over. As my husband and I sat over breakfast this morning I got to thinking...Morning concert!!!!!
That'd be pretty cool. A continental breakfast serenaded by a continental singer. The stuff dreams are made of.
by Idonna

June 18, 2009
Madison Square Garden New York  - two reports
Its been a long time….TOO long.
Last Thursday night I was privileged to be in the audience for the return of the dynamic duo. You all know who I mean.    Our favorite tenor and our favorite conductor….they were made for each other. Like Batman and Robin.
When these two boys come out to play you don’t want to be among the missing, Sell the farm if you have to….but be there!!
Welllllll….. maybe not!  I jest, of course….…... actually  this concert was not on my Bocelli list for this year. I have too many other commitments…. but this MSG concert is very special to me and I haven’t missed one in a very long time.. Very exciting.
This night is no different……Come with me and I’ll take you there…. ….
The air is thick with anticipation…we wait, we watch. Time seems to pass in slow motion now, but sadly, we know that later the night will move so swiftly as to seem like a dream sequence lasting only seconds.
At last we hear someone’s breathless whisper from somewhere behind us. “Here he comes.” Suddenly we see him, handsome as always in his fancy dress up clothes. He always reminds me of a little boy dressed in his first suit going to his first party…shiny as a new nickel.
Then we watch him walk the walk….that confident stride, head cocked to one side and flashing that killer smile. He stops…he bows graciously.  If he’s “stage afraid” at this point only he knows it……..he looks so happy….”so cool”. 
 “Hello Gorgeous”…I want to yell, but then I remember my grandchildren and I swallow the words before they can make a fool of me!!
The welcoming applause is thunderous, hoots, hollers and whistles…….will it ever stop??  ‘‘Moma Mia”…I say to myself,  “don’t they want to hear him sing????”  Andrea just stands there smiling, letting us adore him.  Finally…..
Steven comes to his rescue. He lifts his baton and all of a sudden you can hear a pin drop as the music begins and  Andrea’s voice fills the silence with the first few notes of “Le Donne e mobile”  ….
Part l…devoted to some of our other favorites….Di quella pira…Carmen dueting with Ms. Guiterezz.highlighting  this part of the program while on the giant screen behind the orchestra……a pictorial commentary of each song, among them many scenes from Andrea’s appearance in Carmen . 
Part 2…this part almost exclusively devoted to “Incanto”…
After a beautiful Italian Symphony…Andrea returns with an upbeat Voglio Vivere Cosi….followed by Vieni Sul Mar…
then with hardly a breath between now comes ….. …”Mamma”.  I often think that Edi must have to fight back tears of pride and joy if she is in the audience when he sings this song to her.
 A heartbreaking Non ti Scordar di me…. Then….”Granada”……..Mio Dio!!…how that man can roll those “R”s!!!. Thrilling!!! That famous Bocelli charm is working overtime tonight. Andrea has us in his pocket from the very first note….and best of all….we can tell he’s having the time of his life.  We are all in Bocelli heaven!!!
 I waited……..song after beautiful song from “Incanto”,” but alas…I was not to hear the one very close to my heart this night..  I kept hoping he would sing E Vui Durmiti Ancora…but it was not to be.  …..Perhaps Andrea thinks this song does not have enough popular appeal.  I love it, and I’ve only heard him sing it once on a RAI guest appearance.
It is my misfortune that I’ve never had the pleasure of an Eglise Gutierrez performance. I thought her voice paired very well with Andrea’s and her solos were fantastic.  They made beautiful music together…and as Andrea would say…”She has a beautiful instrument”…  .She was magnificent.
This is the 3rd time I see Heather Headley sing with Andrea…and if I’m being totally honest I have to say she is not one of my favorites…but who can deny her powerful yet sweet voice?
I remember at the 2007 Teatro after singing with Sarah Brightman Andrea said..”We have just had a special moment”.  He must feel this also when he sings with Heather…because their duet of  The Prayer was very beautiful and moving.
I have always thought of Canto Della Terre as “Andrea’s song”….
Then there is Andrea Griminelli and his magic flute….and magic it is…a flawless “Flight of the Bumblebee”…..soooo beautiful.  Thank you Andrea, for bringing us these very gifted musicians who we might not ever see except thru your efforts to share with us the very best in musical moments.
Seven encores???   Whoever heard of  such a thing??  Apparently not even Andrea, because when he had finished the selections he had chosen, Besame Mucho, The prayer, My way…Partiro..and  Nessun Dorma,  After this one if he thought he could then “go home”, he was mistaken.  We STILL wanted more. At this point he said “My voice is done”…but added…… …”We will just start the concert over again” …..and start again he DID with another Le Donne e Mobile and that ” toughie” Di quella pira.  Do you believe it?  How does he do it?   How???  Because he has the heart of a lion and the voice of an angel.
STILL….we did not want to let him go!!  The applause, the stomping, the cheering was bouncing off the rafters…my heart was pounding and my head was spinning!….
Sorry, even the tumultuous roar of the crowd could not entice Andrea back this time. He had given us many “special moments” this night …always doing his best for us, but even in our reluctance, we realized it was time to let him go. 
Andrea has said that the voice is like a cask of wine…the more you drink from it, less is left. He has been on the fast track for a lot of years now, bringing his beautiful music to the four corners of the earth. I don’t think “his cask of wine” understands this.  His voice is richer, fuller more beautiful and powerful than ever.  .Like the fine wine that it is…what’s left just keeps getting better and better.  To quote the man himself… “there is so much hate in the world, I sing of love…I prefer it”….and this is Andrea’s great gift to us……he is all about LOVE.  We know it, we feel it…we prefer it.
I don’t know who named the album “Incanto”…but I doubt there could be a better name for what happened in that huge arena on that magical night.
We were indeed enchanted by this heavenly music….and once again drawn under the spell of the most beautiful voice in the world.   
I’ve been to so many Bocelli concerts I’ve lost count….I’ve heard Andrea sing these songs before….but somehow it was like hearing them all for the first time…………
Until the next time,
Thank you Andrea.  
by Rose Daigle, 
New Orleans, La.
As a former music programmer I have attended many, many concerts throughout my years...some will forever remain as historic in my mind...they are (not necessarily in this order...Sinatra....Presley......Bennett....Bruce....Tina....Bowie...McCartney (Wings over America)...Chicago (my favorite all time..have seen them over and over again and never get tired of them)...Chicago & Earth, Wind and Fire...Pavoritti....The Stones....Sly & the Family Stone (Sly's wedding at Madison Square Garden)....
and I have done my share of screaming and yelling and applauding.....but this man...
 Andrea Bocelli...this man is without a doubt as Liz Taylor said..."has been kissed by god."  This is not to deminish those who performed with him and alone...each displaying their own kind of magic..beautiful women an amazing orchestra and chorus...and the huge screen displaying the photos of Marcello, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollabridgida, etc. was so original...and the song he sang to accompany what appeared to be old home or newsreel movies (although sung in Italian) reminded me of Fred Astaire or a song Astair sang in one his movies....so entertaining.   
 I have never swooned at anyone...I didn't even think I knew how to swoon...swooning is different than any other reaction from a female...it contains sighs and oohs and aah's so sweet and innocent but filled with admiration...these are the emotions Andrea elicits from his audience....there was not a seat in the house...standing room at the very top of the Garden....filled most likely, beyond capacity....I sat way at the top...to the left of Andrea...I even reserved and purchased a good pair of binoculars just prior to the show so I could see him up close...this man became his audience's hostage for 3 hours plus...I was wearing a ring that literally broke into two pieces from the constant applauding I did...I will frame that ring along with my ticket...and after letting him finally go...when I left the Garden I felt like I was in (what I could only described as) a "State of Grace"...so at peace with myself...and that feeling continued until the next day....7 encores...amazing!!!!  I have never witnessed any performer get 7 encores.
 The opportunity of seeing him perform in person will probably not happen again for a long time....as I doubt he will pass this way again anytime soon.
I do hope someday to visti Italy...I am Italian...2nd generation and have been taking Italian speaking classes for the past few months...the Scilian dialect was spoken in my home all through my growing years...and that is what I am most knowledgeable in...I never realized just how formal the pure Italian is and how easily you can say something insulting or rude without realizing it...i want so much to learn it properly and will continue my studies until I feel confidant enough and then maybe i will finally take that trip...if I save enough money...and maybe get to see Andrea perform in Italy as I have watched him on the DVD/CD set I received as a gift this past winter.
 I can go on and on...but I am sure others have expresssed the same sentiments.
I do have one suggestion...as a promotional momento...individual packages of tissues with Andrea's face on the packet should be distributed to the audience as they arrive...with a warning that "Crying Involuntarily" may occur.
Yes...we love you Andrea...god bless...stay safe, well and healthy...and happy!   Arrivideci...
by Maria De Palma, 
New York


JUNE 20, 2009
US Tour June 09, Allstate Arena, photo thanks to Gloria!
I had a long drive to Connecticut from northern Michigan -- another 2300+ miles on the minivan.  It was cold and dreary on the way there, but I knew it would be warm and welcoming inside the arena at Mohegan Sun.
Traveling with my daughter and a friend, we met before the concert for dinner with a group of fans, most whom I've known for many years via the Internet and other concerts.  It was great spending time with these wonderful Bocelli fan/friends from all over the US, reminiscing about past experiences, dreaming of those yet to come! 

Andrea sang beautifully, as always.  At the end of a long tour he must be exhausted and eager to return home.  If he was tired it didn't show in his voice--hitting the high notes with power and conviction, floating the soft notes with the light, delicate touch that only he can provide. 
I had a good view of the back screen from my seat on the floor.  I loved seeing the scenes from Carmen, with Andrea himself as Don Jose, during the singing of the arias from that opera.  As he sang "Mamma," scenes and photos of mothers with children flashed, ending with one of Edi holding a young Andrea.  I loved seeing the beautifully scripted lyrics of "Non ti scordar di me" scroll across the screen in English and Italian. 
Steven Mercurio's conducting is always a treat, both musically and visually, as he leads with energy, sensitivity, and a touch of humor.  I was impressed with the vocal range of soprano Eglise Gutierrez in her most amazing performance of "Me llaman la primorosa."  One of the lines of that song translates to "I enchant them when I sing"
And enchant us, she certainly did!
Having played the flute in high school (and not very well!) I am always most appreciative of a good flute player.  Andrea Griminelli was more than good -- he was extraordinary.  Having him play along with Andrea, as well as two solo numbers including "The Flight of the Bumblebee," was like frosting on the cake! 

Andrea's singing of "The Prayer" with Heather Headley was one of the most touching, moving performances I have ever experienced.  I've heard this song so many times--but something happened this time that just blew me away--it's hard to describe.  The drama of their voices, the emotion on their faces, the energy between them, the special effects lighting sweeping through the arena--all gave me a sense of being totally immersed in something powerful.  
Andrea talked more than usual, thanking the orchestra, conductor Steven Mercurio, soprano Eglise Gutierrez, flautist Andrea Griminelli, and guest singer Heather Headley all by name, and thanked the audience for being there!  Steven announced that the State of Connecticut had declared June 20th "ANDREA BOCELLI DAY" which brought a big smile from Andrea.
The concert was similar to the Chicago concert I had attended the previous week, with one less encore--no "Nessun Dorma!"  Yes, one of my friends was very disappointed, since she had never heard him sing it live.  But as she said, "When the concert is so lovely how can one be disgruntled for long?" 
As always, it was fun visiting with the people seated nearby and hearing their stories--where they were from, how they happened to be there, what they thought of Andrea's performance--all very positive.  The man seated next to me was a musician, and loved Andrea's voice.  His wife was there to support her husband, but became a fan also before the night was over.  The men in the audience were just as enthusiastic as the women, loudly yelling their appreciation and bravos!
It is all over too soon.  After the concert, I gathered with my friends for some quick goodbyes and promises to meet again, before heading back to our hotels.  We all agreed that Andrea was in top form on this tour, his magnificent voice ringing forth with even greater confidence and loveliness than before.  Other tenors may hit the notes, but no one does it more beautifully!
The day after the concert we went to nearby Mystic, CT for a little sightseeing and shopping--a charming little town.  We had lunch at Mystic Pizza (famous from a 1988 movie starring Julia Roberts) before heading for home.  Finally the rain clouds lifted and we had a beautiful, sunny drive.  Another adventure to see Andrea Bocelli, and so much more--as always, totally worth it! 
report and photo by Gloria Morkin
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