Being the Change, Firefly Dreams, California's Fallen Soldiers, Vista Strawberry Festival, Poe Ballantine
2:30 p.m., May 23
Probably nobody this century so far has done more to promote mainstream love for classical pop and opera than singer Andrea Bocelli. Blind since the age of 12 following a football (okay, fine, soccer) accident, the Italian superstar is only playing five West Coast cities over the course of a handful of summer dates, including June 21 at Valley View Casino Center. It’s admirable how many diverse venues and occasions he manages to perform at, from the Grammy salute for Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life to huge televised sporting events like the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final in Milan, where he sang the league’s theme song. In February 2013, he performed for the Obamas at the National Prayer Breakfast and, two weeks later, at the Kremlin in Moscow for the 20th anniversary of the Russian natural gas company Gazprom.
Even Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, and Nelly Furtado have recorded duets with Bocelli, though he probably didn’t need their help to attain worldwide sales of 80 million records, a number that places him in the same league as top-shelf rock acts like Cheap Trick and Blue Oyster Cult. Though next summer is a long time to wait, tickets go on sale Friday, December 8, for someone almost sure to be the only singer you’ll see in 2018 who has both a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (for live theater) and an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records (for having once held the top three positions on the U.S. Classical Albums charts).