Minsk (Part 2)

We’re onstage at 7pm—Oh yeah?? Yeah!! We can tell immediately that there is an excitement that has carried over from soundcheck when a pretty big group of symphony orchestra members listened in, and now had come back and brought their feelings with them to the whole audience. The audience is close, and shouts and applauds their approval of our program that “starts from the very beginning.” They get it. Even though I say it in English. This is amazing!

They transformed the Philharmonie into a rock hall!

It flits across my mind as I sing… They hardly know me. All they’ve heard is my recorded music, never live. Only word of mouth comments. And here they are, totally open, bright eyed and expectant, and joyful.

Yes, and one guy in the right balcony box (so close I could toss him an apple underhand) is so excited that he’s standing up and walking and yelling at the top of his lungs something in Belarussian, which I, of course, don’t understand, but he’s so loud and insistent that he stops us all in our tracks. Me and the audience, quietly waiting (laugh, laugh, laugh), until he has had his say. “OK, alright,” I say, and we continue.

Raw enthusiasm just barely held in check. In the song This Time, there’s a final word and note that I always ask the audience to sing… “Time.” When I gestured for them to sing the final word, a man in the sixth row just poured his voice out louder and louder, with this huge smile of delight in his eyes, looking right at me. I can see him now. He’s a first.

It was a fantastic night with a great audience, and we decided on the spot to do Mas Que Nada as the encore. We somehow learned that this would complete their wish list. This just might have been the best sing-along ever on the ‘Oh-pah, Oh-pah, Oh-pah’s at the end. They’re all on their feet. So I and the band lock arms and walk to the front of the stage and do a big long bow, holding it and holding it and holding it… until they all screamed—We stood up and waved goodnight.

I wanna go back tomorrow. Thank you, Philharmonie, and thank you Maxim and the team, and thank you MINSK!

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