I first heard and saw Chris Botti in Mike G’s living room on his 42″ HD. The room was dark and the music started. I remember physically feeling it. I remember needing to take a deep breath. I remember the goosebumps on my forearms and shivers up my spine. That was probably a year ago now.
This past fall I learned that he was coming to Vancouver to play at the Orpheum with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and immediately put two tickets on my credit card without even knowing who the hell I was going to go with.
As the months, then days neared I was still dateless in Vancouver. Mike G suggested I put an ad up on Craigslist looking for someone to go with. I had success with a similar type of venture Christmas 2007 – my first Christmas in Vancouver. I knew no one so I posted an ad looking for a date for my work’s Christmas party and found a very nice man to accompany me. So I figured perhaps I could actually have the same type of success this time around and posted an ad this past Friday after work for Monday’s concert.
It’s what I call cutting it close; really only giving me the weekend to find a suitor for the evening, and interviews were to commence immediately. Mike’s guess was that I’d have at least 80 replies. To my astonishment I received a total of frigging 193! In one weekend I read 193 emails from men who wanted to go with little old me to see Chris Botti. Actually wait I can’t say all 193 wanted to be my date because many actually couldn’t for various reasons but wanted to say hi. Some thanked me for actually introducing them to Chris Botti for the first time, some wished me luck, some loved the idea and just wanted to tell me. Some emails were short… you know of the “pick me!” variety, some emails were long and autobiographical, some were like cover letters. It was amazing.
I had narrowed my applicants down to four and penciled them in. Come the 2nd interview I knew I found the person I was going to take with me. He’s worth mentioning because I’m fairly certain this night was also something quite fantastic and memorable for him as well.
Um, be quiet you at the back.
You can find him here: http://www.myspace.com/moraleslamas
Here we’ve got a Cuban musician who uses words like Avant Garde, Latin, and Fusion Jazz to describe his style of music. His biography’s on his MySpace along with some of his compositions and are worth checking out. He’s a very humble guy, who does all of his mixing in his bedroom on outdated PC software. But, the passion’s there. You know?
So, I introduced a musician to Chris Botti. Gosh I’m so proud.
He loved special guest, Lisa Fischer‘s appearances as well and in the corner of my eye I could see him all bopping and tapping and just clapping extra hard. She has such an incredible voice, by the way. He was so impressed by Chris’s jazz pianist, Billy Childs, that he wanted a photo and autograph with him after the show. Pianists appreciate pianists.
Are you saying that properly?
And of course drummer Billy Kilson. At first I must admit I was distracted by him because he’s quite intense and animated and extremely powerful so in the begining I couldn’t take my eyes off him and had to keep bringing them back to Chris. He worked though because the band is cohesive and by the second song I couldn’t really imagine him not being there.
Onto the show…
As of tonight there are only three performances I’ve seen live that have actually made me cry. The first being for my first love, Corey Hart, in 1986 at the Montreal Forum. I was 10, okay? The second time was during the Un bel di vedremo aria of Madame Butterfly at the Opéra de Montréal, June 2008 and finally, tonight. Four times I had tears streaming down my cheeks.
My poor date, this being only the second time he’s met me, must have been wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I reassured myself by saying “He’s a musician, he’ll understand” over and over in my head. I told him that I couldn’t help it. He said in a nice, thick, barely understandable Spanish accent: It’s okay. Oh. I know. It’s okay.
It was Emmanuel that really started the whole thing which was his duet with violinist Caroline Campbell. Luckily, it came right before intermission so I was able to compose myself. Not for long though, at least not until Hallelujah was played. I mean, I love Leonard. That master, or that genius of words. The lyrical poet. So then to hear Hallelujah come out of a trumpet in the stillness of the Orpheum. Even the woman who attended the concert alone sitting beside me was wiping her tears. So her tears made my tears come faster, then someone in front of me wiped their cheeks and then I didn’t feel alone in how everything was affecting me.
He actually played Flamenco Sketches by Miles Davis. (bawl)
Then Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone. (maj. bawl)
You’re all… Man, thank God I wasn’t her date; she cried the whole time.
Okay, I wasn’t really bawling in terms of definition.
Truth be told though, there were moments when my surroundings just kind of faded away, you know? I didn’t really even care where I was. Who I was. Nothing really mattered except what was going on in front of me, seven rows ahead.
After the show was an autograph signing and photo taking. Autographs first, check. Photos after autographs. Um obviously. I talked to Chris for a bit but I wish I had more time to just … say thank you until it started to feel like I expressed it the way I felt it.
I will conclude this with Emmanuel only this duet is from the PBS special with Lucia Micarelli on the violin. I can’t find a good quality one online with Caroline Campbell. This version is clearly just as powerful and there’s one thing I just want to point out: Watch Lucia’s facial expressions. I mean, that’s what feeling music looks like. It’s something quite special to behold a musician in such a pure state.
Emmanuel – Chris Botti with violinist Lucia Micarelli
My date/new friend:
The pianist with the pianist:
The hot mess with the artist: