HUB REVIEW: Andrea Bocelli Created Magic with Heather Headley, Others at Sleep Train Arena

HUB REVIEW:  Andrea Bocelli Created Magic with Heather Headley, Others at Sleep Train Arena

by Michael P Coleman

Alice Walker very famously wrote “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” 

I agree with her —and I also think it pisses Him off when you hear internationally-renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli’s voice and don’t…pause.

Or cry.

Or faint.

I paused often, teared up a little, and could have fainted several times during Bocelli's standing-room-only performance at Sacramento's Sleep Train Arena Wednesday night.   I am rarely at a loss for words, but I was rendered completely speechless by the sheer majesty of the tenor's voice and presence.

The 7:30pm performance began just before 8pm, as gridlock in the parking lot prevented many —including this writer —from taking their seats on time. Performed by the San Francisco Festival Orchestra and the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera, the show's first half was dedicated to Bocelli's favorite arias, which delighted opera fans but could have turned off those of us who came to his throng by way of his pop hits.  It didn't.  Although I couldn't name a single performed piece, I repeatedly marveled at the legend's instrument -- both its power and his mastery of it -- while waiting to hear some of Bocelli's more accessible selections. 

IMG 2773That first moment came after a twenty minute intermission with the theme to The Godfather, after which Broadway and R & B star Heather Headley delivered a breathtaking version of "Over The Rainbow" that earned the night's first standing ovation.  It wasn't the last.    We were up on our feet after almost every selection that followed, including "Amapola" and Elvis' "Love Me Tender" and "Can't Help Falling In Love".  At the end of the latter,  Bocelli held the final note for an impossibly long time, to the exasperated delight of duet partner Headley and the audience.  He followed that stunner up with the show's closer, fan favorite "Canto Della Terra" performed with soprano Maria Aleida. 

The first of three encores followed, with Bocelli bringing Headley back on stage for the third time  for the night's highlight, a jaw-dropping version of "The Prayer" that prompted the misty eyes I admitted to earlier.  I had never been more thankful to God for the ability to hear.   If you've not heard their version of this song, correct that.  Now. 

Watch Bocelli & Headley perform "The Prayer."  

Bocelli chose just three North American cities for this leg of his tour before he heads to Europe this summer, and I'm thankful he chose Sacramento, where he hadn't performed since 2006.  I hope he comes back soon.  In the meantime, I have his CDs. All of them.

He's that good.  

Michael P Coleman is a Sacramento-based freelance writer.  Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com, via email at mikelsmindseye@me.com, or via Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP