Sunday, June 07, 2009

Mesdames Et Messieurs ...

... Bernard Lachance.

What's that? You haven't heard of him. Oh, you will. Wait five minutes.

On Friday, Doreen forwarded a blurb to me about Bernard, asking if I'd like to go see him Saturday night. My first thought was, "Nope, can't spend the money right now." Then I scrolled down in her note and saw that a friend of hers had extra tickets and wouldn't accept any money for them.

Really? Free tickets? To see the cute French man with hair that makes me want a soft-serve cone? (Doreen, last night, accurately described his hair as "very Bob's Big Boy.")

Well, OK. It's hard to say no to "free."

So I met Doreen and her friends Carol and John and I figured we were headed for the balcony. Oh, no. Main floor. Orchestra pit, in fact. Fourth row from the stage.

I had baked snickerdoodles earlier in the day as a token thank-you for Carol for my ticket. When we sat down, I turned to her and said, "Well, I think I owe you more cookies."

So here's a bit of back story on Bernard and last night's show: He rented The Chicago Theater with his savings – yes, you read that right, he rented The Chicago Theater with his savings – and proceeded to sell the tickets to his show himself. He had a T-shirt made with the seating chart of the venue (he does this for all his concerts, not just last night's) and as he sells the tickets on the street, he marks off the seats with a Sharpie.

Last night, he help up his shirt. The entire main floor of the theater was blacked out, and a good portion of the balcony. There were about 2,500 of us there. (What was the official tally, Doreen? Was it 2,542?)

Oh, and he also made a video that he posted on YouTube for Oprah. Which she saw. And he landed on her show. And last night, on stage, he made another video, for Celine Dion.

Before the show, we heard the usual admonition that photography and the use of audio and video recording devices was strictly prohibited. Uh huh. Because when you're trying to make a name for yourself in America, the last thing you want is video of you going viral. (Check out YouTube for more videos of him.)

Vocally, he's a bit like Andrea Bocelli, but with more range and an inclination to sing pop songs, such as Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever?" His CD, available in the lobby, sold out after the show.

He brought a friend of his onstage, a soprano, to sing some duets with him, but then he very nicely sang soprano on his own. As I said, the man has range. Extraordinary range.

And he has personality to spare. He'll do very well in our media-obsessed society because he makes for great TV. And his story isn't quite the sequel to Susan Boyle, but he told the story of being "in the nature" a year ago (his English is exceptional, but some cute moments of idiom snuck into his stage patter last night) and feeling depressed, feeling that it was simply too hard to make it in the music business, when he thinks he saw a shooting star – or maybe he didn't, but he wants to believe that he did – and he decided it was a sign that he should go on.

And last night, he made his U.S. debut to a very solid crowd in The Chicago Theater.

The man is the embodiment of "With great risk comes great reward."

Last night must have been like living inside a dream.



Blogger Doreen said...

yes, it was 2,542 tickets sold. Perhaps there was some walk up box office sales too ....

I wrote him a mash note last night. Let's see if he writes back! I figure he either is STILL awake (Sunday 10 a.m.) from the high of his success ... or he is sleeping a sleep that he has not slept sine 11/4/08 when he signed the contract and forked over the $$ to the Chicago Theater ...

Sigh .... it was so fun and so cool to be a part of his history!!!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I think you're right, Beth, he'll do well in our society. In that video he just oozes charisma. He certainly has the gift for the gab!

8:48 PM  
Blogger Carole said...

Hello Beth ... It's me, Carole. The Cookies were fab (I just applied them to my waist) and it was a pleasure to be a part of Bernard Lachance's debut in America with you and Doreen - he'll do very well - he's got everything he needs - the voice, the stage presence, and the will!

Hope to see you soon

4:47 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Hello, Carole! Forgive my misspelling of your name.

Glad you enjoyed the cookies. And thank you again for so generously sharing the great seats!

Hope to see you soon, too.

7:01 PM  

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