On the Road with Mike

Rock, rhythm and blues super star Zucchero (which means sugar in Italian) gave a special performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame In Cleveland, Ohio. Having grown up idolizing many of the pioneers commemorated in the museum, it was especially meaningful for Zucchero to play at the monument to the music that he loves. Only 350 tickets were released for sale, and then they let another 150 people come in and stand along the walkways looking down on the stage.

Zucchero, whose real name is Adelmo Fornaciari, is on tour promoting his new album Chocabeck. The singer-songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist is not as well known here in the U.S. as he is in Europe, but he should be. Zucchero is one of the top Italian recording artists worldwide and has sold 40 million records over the last three decades.

A cross between Bruce Springsteen, Joe Cocker, Billy Joel, John Bon Jovi and Sting, the international legend has collaborated with these and so many other greats including Miles Davis, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Stewart Copeland, Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray and Bono. Zucchero was extremely close with Luciano Pavarotti and is also credited with discovering Andrea Bocelli.

Beloved by the people in his industry and fans alike, Zucchero lives to perform. I first saw him play at the landmark Agora Theatre a few years back, so I knew I was in for a treat. As expected, Zucchero was nonstop entertainment. He went for about an hour and forty-five minutes. He kept the show moving and had his fans on their feet dancing the whole night.

Afterwards, Zucchero invited a group of our friends to join him for a quick dinner at Restaurant Dante in Tremont before hitting the road to New York City for a show at the Beacon Theater. We were very fortunate that he asked us to sit with him at his table. He told us about his background and how he finally caught a break when somebody who trusted him gave him a shot even though his style was unusual for an Italian singer. His is a great story, and Zucchero is an incredible person.