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                                  Chicago
                                       Allstate Arena
                                         June 7, 2002
Chicago, June 7 2002 - thanks to GloriaChicago, June 7 2002 - thanks to GloriaChicago, June 7 2002 - thanks to Gloria
 
Andrea Bocelli gave a wonderful performance Friday night in Chicago. I am convinced that his voice just keeps getting better and better! So rich, pure, vibrant, passionate! Of the four concerts I've attended this was definitely my favorite, without a doubt. I don't know if the Mercurio effect made the difference (more about him later) or if it's just Andrea's maturing, but he continues to amaze me with the power and depth of emotion that he is able to express through his voice. He is the only performer that can move me to tears one moment and total joy the next. There just aren't enough "Bravos" to express how I feel about his singing.

Some highlights for me:

Mia madre, la mia vecchia madre, from Fedora by Umberto Giordano

I realized Friday night that as long as Andrea Bocelli continues to perform new music I will never become tired of hearing him sing. Each new song reveals another layer, another facet of his incredible voice. This was a very emotional piece and I thought it was beautifully crafted and interpreted by Andrea. Once again he demonstrated his amazing depth and versatility. It just gave me chills listening to him perform this.

Here is a link to the lyrics:

http://www.jcarreras.de/lyrics/fedora02.htm

Viene la sera, from Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini

This wonderful duet sung by Andrea and Ana Maria Martinez made me envy those who will be attending Madame Butterfly in Italy this summer. I would also love to see them perform this opera together--Ana Maria would be a lovely Butterfly. As always their voices blended beautifully. The thrilling ending brought people to their feet in a rousing ovation, drowning out the orchestra as they finished playing. I felt the tears running down my cheeks. It was so beautiful!

Occhi di Fata, by Luigi Denza

This was a sweet, poignant song and reminded me a bit of Santa Lucia Luntana.

You have taken
the flower of my youth
and of my young blood...
you take my ardour,
but please,
please give me love.


It ended with truly the loveliest, sweetest high note of the evening.

"...ma datemi l'amor!"

Here is a link to the lyrics:

http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/a/anonymous/odf.html

My Way, by Revaux/Francois/Anka

Itís hard to pick a highlight from an evening that was near perfection, but I think for many of us this would have to be it. Andrea Bocelli has taken that old Frank Sinatra standard and infused it with new life. He has claimed it as his own and the words seem to resonate with the authenticity of his own life. The song started out gently, quietly--his voice warm and mellow. Then the pulsating, driving rhythm and the power of his voice began to increase, the energy building...building.....building! When he got to the last verse he really let loose--

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught.

To say the things he truly feels;

And not the words of one who kneels.

The record shows I took the blows...


then the final powerful, triumphal cry--

...and did it MMYYYYYYYYYYY WAY!

Once again we were on our feet! What a thrilling rendition of that song! Bravo!

Here is a link to the lyrics:

http://www.vex.net/~buff/sinatra/cgi/arch.cgi/My_Way

Letís make this perfectly clear--NO one else can do what Andrea Bocelli does! He is truly a unique singer, a beautiful operatic tenor who can also really do justice to a pop song. He possesses an awesome talent. How fortunate we are to experience it.

I was intrigued by the contrast between Steven Mercurio and Andrea Bocelli--two men brimming with energy--one lavish in gesture, exuberant, possessing unbridled enthusiasm, the energy spilling out in almost endless motion--the other outwardly still, understated, intense, restrained, the energy concentrated, spilling out only in song! His body seems to tremble with that energy when he sings--like the space shuttle just before launching. Then he releases his incredible voice and we are all transported to the heavens!

When Andrea sings we are not distracted by the usual overt, dramatic gestures that most singers feel are essential. Instead we look for the subtle moves that are equally effective in conveying emotion--the gentle touch, the expressive face--and we listen more deeply, finding drama and emotion in the voice. He continues to confound the critics and astound the fans!

I spoke briefly with a member of the orchestra after the concert, expressing my compliments for their wonderful performance. The man thanked me and said, "Andrea Bocelli is wonderful to work with. He has a great team around him. He is an incredible performer." "What about the critics?" I asked. "They have not been too kind." "Oh, THOSE people!" he said. "They are looking for something else--I donít know what it is. Obviously he doesnít do it for them, but he sure does for the thousands of people who filled that arena tonight!"

Yes, he sure does!

He more than entertains us--he inspires us. In some ways he has been our hero but in getting to know all of the wonderful people his music has brought me to--people that I have come to love and admire as much as Andrea himself--I realized that there are many heros out there. We have been motivated in many ways, by many songs, to tackle those difficult issues in our lives--to reach out and take up the challenge, to explore new territory, to venture forward in positive ways. Andrea has not been deterred by obstacles and we need not be either. His voice is a powerful witness to the things that can be accomplished to those who are willing, determined, focused, and courageous.

If I could have spoken with him Friday night, this is what I would have said:

"Andrea, it was truly a privilege and a joy to be here tonight to hear you sing! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep on doing what you are doing. We love it!"

But I think the applause of 10,000 people told him more forcefully than my feeble words could ever have done. I think he knows!

--Gloria Morkin
 
Well, this is the day after...now it's filed under memories. My friend Mary and I headed for Chicago early in the afternoon (we live in south-western Wisconsin, close to the Illinois border). We planned on meeting some other fans who had flown up from Texas and were staying at the Radisson. We waited there for over an hour, but nobody showed. We assumed they had changed their plans, as will happen, so we ate dinner at a restaurant and headed for the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, which is close to O'Hare Field. There we discovered right next to it another Radisson Hotel..... Seems like we waited at the wrong one, although the other was named O'Hare Radisson...very disappointed.

We were early and noticed many squadcars and crossing guards etc. starting to get things going. As we were waiting outside in the line of fans which was beginning to form, a squadcar drove up and down beside the lines announcing that no recording or camera equipment were allowed and would be confiscated if brought in. Darn. So of course everybody (most everybody we noticed later) took their cameras back to their cars. Once inside the arena absolutely nobody was approached and searched!!!!!!!!
Eiya!!!!!

This was my very first time to see Andrea live in concert, I had waited for the event for months, and my adrenalin was overflowing. After all, I live and breathe Andrea...Well, finally the orchestra took their seats, did their tuning etc. and then Steven Mercuric popped out on the stage. His name is so fitting!!!! He is mercurial, like quicksilver. The first selection, of course, was the American National Anthem, to which we all sang along with lots of screaming, whistling and hooting at the end. Next came Prelude to Carmen by George Bizet...and after that Andrea was led onto the stage by Steven ,and the crowd went wild. His first selection was "Vesti La Giubba" (Leoncavallo) and basically I was just having a lot of trouble believing I was actually seeing Andrea IN PERSON, and hearing his voice, live, to pay too much attention to the music. Andrea was wearing a head microphone and both my friend and I thought it could have used some sound adjustments, but his voice was sooo big and strong and beautiful all the same.

Next Ana Maria Martinez came on and Steven decided since Andrea's aria was a bit depressing Ana should sing something a little more lively, which she did. Don't ask me what it was, but she absolutely has the most beautiful soprano and personality and charm, she was sheer joy to watch and hear.

Next came "Ombra mai fu" by Handel, one of my favorites. What can I say.. everyone who knows Andrea knows how wonderfully he portrays this very moving piece which was arranged by Steven Mercurio. After that Andrea sang "Turiddu's Farewell" by Mascagni, and who else can express pain and sadness as well as our Andrea? After that the orchestra played the rousing William Tell Overture, with Steven joyfully jumping and gesticulating wildly and obviously enjoying it as much as we did. Then Ana sang another selection from Leoncavallo and again, anyone who has seen and heard her perform has no need for my trying to express the joy her voice brings out in all who love her. Another sad Aria from Fedora by U.Giordano, sung by Bocelli.

I don't know about the rest of you fans, but I had a terrible time deciding how I wanted to see him. With my bare eyes, enjoying the wonderful lighting, the whole orchestra and Steven Mercurio all together, concentrating on Andrea with my opera glasses or watching the big screen. I just wanted it all at the same time. I was getting very tired from all that excitement...And the last number before intermission was the very touching, beautiful duet "Viene la sera" from Madame Butterfly. He will be SO GOOD when he plays Lt. Pinkerton in the Opera and Ana Maria Martinez should definitely be his Madame Butterfly. They are perfect together.The fans couldn't stop cheering at the end of the duet.

Intermission - waiting - watching people. What a variety!!!! Then Mercurio's Mercurial Overture. How fitting. The title I mean. As I said before, the man is mercurial...

I don't want to make this report too long, but the rest of the concert was just pure emotion. Beautiful selections for both Andrea and Ana, the rousing 1812 Overture by Tschaikowsky, which brought everyone on their feet again, Andrea's popular "O sole mio," which he must have sung hundreds of times, starting with his first award-winning performance at age 12, and still he sings it as beautifully as ever. An English tune "Because" by Andrea, which caused the audience to go ecstatic. And the Brindisi duet by Verdi with Andrea and Ana brought the concert to an end.

There are no two ways about it, the audience wanted Andrea back out on the stage. And back he came. He sang "I did it my way" from his piano bar days, and I think he did it a lot better than Sinatra (just my humble opinion) People went wild. After this exit, Andrea had to come back 2 more times, once singing "E Mi Manchi Tu", which brings me to tears every time I hear it, and last but not least his signature song "Con te partirÚ." Mama mia!!!! Andrea, Ana and Steven came out one more time to do their final bows.

And tonight the fans can go wild in St. Paul. MN. It really was the ultimate for me to see Andrea live, in person.... Last February I had almost resigned myself to the fact that I never would, and then the news came shortly after that that he would do another US Tour and actually start in Chicago. I firmly believed that God decided I was worth it..... We had the tickets 10 min. after the sales started March 13, and since then it was anticipation...

I miss his tousled hair, his boyish looks, yet how handsome he is in his new matured version...he earned every bit of it. Bravo, Andrea, bravo...

Ingrid Larson
Wisconsin


The first stop of Andrea's 2002 summer concert tour was nothing if not
fantastic! How the crowd welcomed him back to the USA and to Chicago!

As soon as he appeared there was thunderous applause. He began the evening with "Vesti La Giubba" from Pagliacci and "Aranjuez, My Dream" by Joaquin Rodrigo both delivered with much emotion. He was in tremendous voice!

Later in the first part of the program, Andrea sang "Mia madre, la mia vecchia madre" from Fedora. This is a very moving song with sobs just beneath the words and Andrea conveyed this to every heart in the house. The duet from Madama Butterfly, "Viene la Sera," sung with Anna Maria Martinez was truly exquisite!!

I shall not give away all the surprises of the evening. But I can tell you
that Andrea continues to mature in heart and voice and delivers a first class performance that can not fail to reacquaint the listener with romance.

I feel that this tour is very important for Andrea and once again, we have embraced him with open arms!

Evelina Jarosz Clark

 

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