I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was coming back and nothing was going to stop me from being there, not even an impromptu snow storm.
As far back as I can remember, I was singing along with Zucchero’s music because I thought he was the epitome of cool and trendy. From the hats to the jackets, the outlandish accessories and his at ease swagger all stood out to me as someone whom I wanted to watch. When I finally received word that my musical fantasy was going to be in Boston, I literally jumped with excitement and immediately ordered tickets. With much anticipation, I counted down the days and waited with a quiet impatience… And then he arrived!
The lights dimmed on the blustery Saturday evening and Zucchero’s voice introduced the meaning of his new album’s title, Chocabeck. His personal touch was the spark that was required to ignite this pre-winter evening into a frenzy.Following this brief statement, the sound of a helicopter landing engulfed the theatre, but still he was nowhere to be seen. From a darkened stage, an unmistakable tone echoed around us, building the crowd’s anticipation while lights began to blindly flash in our eyes. As he slowly sauntered onto the stage and sat in his cranberry velvet chair, Zucchero immediately captured the audience’s attention.
His smoky earthy voice has something of a surreal quality. He feels each and every word that he sings. The jazzy blues tones highlight his emphatic rock and roll beats ultimately creating a fusion of Italo-American sounds. As he moved from song to song, his smooth voice blended with the sounds of his eight member band creating musical interludes that highlighted Zucchero’s penetrating voice.
At one point during the concert, Zucchero gestured for everyone to stand and dance. He joined in with various gyrations, smiling and laughing at the sight before him. The intimate setting of Berklee provided for a close encounter for all who attended. The booming sounds resonating from Zucchero’s band provided for an exciting and clear view into his world. A taste of Italy was evident in his strings section while the southern soul he adores so much was brought to the forefront by his guitarist and multi-talented backup singers.
The first part of the concert was based on Chocabeck’s hits.“Un Soffio Caldo” was moving and spiritual in nature. Zucchero’s movements, supported by his band, were a remarkable and emotive beginning to the evening. His sound is an unmistakable blending of Italian soul. Zucchero has invented an entire genre of music based on a most unlikely fusion of Italian and American blues.
To no surprise to his legion of supporters, his live production is nothing shy of incredible. Zucchero takes to the stage like the seasoned performer that he is, and requires nothing more than an instrument and his voice. He is the show. For many, that might not seem entertaining enough, but in this context it is precisely what the audience desires.
As Zucchero rounded out the evening with his classics, the audience sang along delighting in his fusion of Italian and English. Sì, Zucchero did indeed sing “Senza una Donna”. His rendition was just as incredible as the original. “Diamante” was as haunting live as it is recorded. Hearing these songs is certainly a defining moment for all Zucchero fans. Once the crowd was in pure rapture, he moved into “Il Volo” and “Blu” and closing the evening by stating that “this is a song I did with my grande amico”. Soon the opening notes of “Miserere” began to play and not a single person in the room could speak. Zucchero sang his portion while yielding to Luciano Pavarotti’s spirit. It was a remarkable conclusion to an electric evening. The snow certainly was not an obstacle for concert goers.
When the stage turned to darkness the audience was on their feet yet again, reciting “Zucchero, Zucchero, Zucchero”. After a moment or two of breathless chanting he reappeared and sang an additional two songs to appease the crowd.
A visibly drained Zucchero thanked everyone “grazie mille” repeatedly and announced “I’ll be back this spring.” To everyone’s delight, hope returned that a repeat showing would certainly be taking place. Thrilled that his audience enjoyed nearly two full hours of nonstop playing, Zucchero continued to thank everyone for coming out to celebrate with him.
It was an amazing evening of jovial singing and excitement for everyone. I for one was elated to finally see a musical legend in person. Sitting five rows from the stage I felt like a groupie who finally achieved a long awaited goal of sitting in the presence of musical greatness.
Aside from a perfect performance, Zucchero’s cd is full of musical gems. His sound never ceases to amaze and please devoted fans. By the end of the evening it became quite apparent as to why he is called Zucchero.