Joshua Bell performance at the VanWezel last night

I can speak now. I was speechless for a while after being frozen in awe during the concert. I didn’t think I could sit so still but he is simply mesmerizing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone give such a passionate, emotional performance. It’s not even a performance really – it’s like he gives you a part of his soul – not just glimpses of it.

In person Joshua looks exactly like he does in pictures – which is adorable and clean cut. He wore his usual concert attire of black pants and shirt. He moves around like a gypsy wind when he plays. You can hear him breathing and stamping his feet. I find it endearing but some folks complain about it. The pianist, Jeremy Denk, moved excessively while he played. Excessively – meaning I did find it annoying and overdone when he did it. At one point he had a little fit because the page turner turned  the page too soon. It was kind of rude and made me uncomfortable.

They played Schumann Sonata #1 in A minor, opus 105, Beethoven Sonata #10 in G, opus 96, and an Edgar Meyer piece for violin and piano which was commissioned for Joshua. All very beautiful choices and played masterfully and passionately. Then he played Vocalise & Estrellita – so beautiful I almost cried. He finished with  Sarasate’s intro and tarantella. At this point I was just numb with emotion. Some of us looked at each other, strangers in an audience, and we were grasping for words that wouldn’t come.

Now, for the most fabulous part…he came to the lobby after this exhausting performance, for autographs and pictures. Some man gave us a couple of publicity prints and we decided we’d wait to be toward the end of the line to meet Joshua. I can never understand why people always want to rush and hurry these things along. Like driving home with the memory is better than actually waiting there in the presence of greatness? E was getting really nervous preparing a little speech. I was fiddling with the camera to make sure I’d be able to take the photo without screwing it up. Joshua was signing, posing, posing & signing and suddenly he turned as if to determine how many people are left, but instead locked eyes with E. He looked directly at her and continued to gaze at her for what seemed like 10 minutes, but was probably 10 seconds. I thought to myself “What the hell? Who does he think he is looking at my daughter that way?” I quickly turned to E and we both started to have conniptions about it. He continued to sign and pose and after maybe about 3 or 4 minutes he turned and looked right at E – she looked at him and then he gave a little laugh like he was embarrassed that she caught him. I get all a flutter when I think about it. It’s very silly I know, but it was absolutely a Lizzy/Darcy moment. If anything like that had ever happened to me I’m sure I would have swooned, like a proper Jane Austen character.

When it was our turn, I took a picture of them and tried not to say anything stupid. He tipped his head toward hers and in the photo her hair tangled in his hand. She asked him sign the promo picture and told him how inspiring he was and that she’s a violinist. I said someting lame about him being captivating and then we slinked off into the night.


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