Jackie Coming Home To Pittsburgh


it has s been about 2 years since the last time Jackie put on a concert for her hometown crowd in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I had the pleasure of attending her latest coming home concert on March 5th, 2017.  Although Jackie has performed in Pittsburgh many times, this was the first time she has had a concert at The Benedum Center since 2011 when she was only 11 years old.  I still have fond memories of that day on December 20th, 2011  because it was the first time I got to actually meet Jackie.  I wrote a blog entry of that experience – Another incredible day in Pittsburgh.  Almost 6 years later, Jackie has returned to The Benedum Center once again.  The Benedum is a beautiful concert hall.  I was thrilled when I heard of this concert announcement about 6 months ago because Pittsburgh concerts are very accessible for me since it is only about a 2 hour drive from where I live.  I was fortunate to be able to get two seats for my wife and I in the 4th row center Pit section of the theater.  The seats were excellent and were just slightly left of center stage.  It is one of my favorite places to sit for a Jackie concert.

Before the concert, several of us fans gathered together for a dinner at Braddock’s restaurant in the Renaissance Hotel just a few blocks down the road from the Benedum Center.  It is always great to sit down with other fans, enjoy a meal, and talk about our favorite moments of being a fan of Jackie.

After the fan gathering, we proceeded to walk to the Benedum center for the concert.  The weather was slightly chilly with temps in the 40s.  As we got closer to the theater, one could sense the excitement as other concertgoers gathered to file in at the entrance doors of the Benedum theater.  As my wife and I walked in after having our tickets scanned, we immediately got caught up in the atmosphere of the place.  The Benedum theater is beautifully ornate and is a gorgeous venue.  Memories started to come back to me from the last time I saw Jackie perform at the Benedum back in 2011.  I knew from this moment on, the evening would roll by quickly, so I did my best to absorb the experience as much as possible.  We were escorted to our seats by an usher and I realized that we were sitting just two seats over from the exact same place that we sat for the 2011 concert.


Soon the house lights would dim and the concert began.  Jackie’s music director Peter Kiesewalter would cue up the strings and start the first song  – Pure Imagination.  Jackie seemed a bit nervous at the start of the song, but it didn’t take long at all for her to calm down and settle into the music.  For the rest of the evening Jackie would be in the zone and was thoroughly immersed in her performance.  It was such a stark contrast of the now 16 year-old Jackie vs. the 11 year-old Jackie that stood on that stage almost 6 years ago.  Jackie has grown up and she has blossomed into a beautiful young woman with a new aura of confidence about her.  She still has a charming demeanor, but on a more mature level.  I can’t say enough about how she takes ownership of the stage and looks completely at home when she is in front of an audience.  Her stage presence is magnificent.   Now, I’ve been to plenty of singing concerts given by teenagers who are Jackie’s age (usually high school programs), and I must say that Jackie is wayyyy beyond her years with how she commands the stage and how she performs.   Her concerts are nothing like high school music programs.  One would never guess that she is only 16 years old.  It is almost surreal to witness such incredible singing talent from someone her age.  Of course, this has been the case with Jackie throughout these past 6 years, but now even more so.  Her vocal tone is pure and pitch perfect coupled with an impeccable feel for the music.  Jackie was very charming and personable with her hometown audience.  I’ve been to several of her concerts, and I must say that Jackie engages with the crowd in a unique and personal way at each performance.  She makes everyone feel at home and provides an emotional escape when she sings.  It is truly a blessing to be a part of it.

There was a unique treat that Jackie gave to her hometown audience.  For the first time, she performed a song that nobody has heard before and will be on her upcoming Two Hearts CD.  The song she performed was the Barbra Streisand classic, “The Way We Were.” Jackie performed this song in a way that was true to Streisand’s rendition, but in a way in which Jackie put her own unique touches on it as well.  It was a very special moment with Jackie singing a very special song.  The concert setlist in general had a nice mix of music from her past CDs in addition to a few new songs that have been part of this latest concert tour.  Jackie is branching out a bit into other music styles, but she still maintains the familiar musical qualities that many of her fans have come to know and love.  One song that stood out for me was the cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You”  If you have ever listened to the original version sung by Coldplay, you wouldn’t believe how different Jackie’s interpretation of the song is.  She sings it with a tenderness that is so heartwarming and yet emotionally powerful.  It brought on one of those moments when I felt a tear forming because the music was so riveting to me.  The funny part is that I don’t even know why.  That’s the magic of Jackie’s voice.  Of course, there were many other songs on the program that were just as touching as the ones that I mentioned earlier.  Jackie sang the entire program flawlessly.  Here is a rundown of the concert setlist:

Pure Imagination
Made To Dream
Music Of The Night
Marriage of Figaro – Peter Kiesewalter instrumental Interlude
Fix You
What A Wonderful World
Impossible Dream
Nessun Dorma


The Way We Were
Music from Carmen – Peter Kiesewalter instrumental Interlude

Song Medley:
O Mio Babbino Caro
Time To Say Goodbye
Think Of Me
When You Wish Upon a Star

The Prayer
Writings On The Wall
Safe and Sound

Encore – The Lord’s Prayer

Although Jackie is the focal point of her concerts, there are other aspects of her concerts that are part of the experience as well.  The comradery of being around other fans who appreciate Jackie is very special.  I always enjoy having conversations with other fans and finding out how they discovered Jackie.  For some people this concert was their first to attend, and for others it was one of many concerts.  I heard stories of fans who became friends because of their connection to Jackie.  There was one heartwarming story of two mothers who both lost children to car accidents.  Both of their children were big fans of Jackie but they had never made it to one of her concerts before they passed.  Both mothers pledged that they would attend Jackie’s Pittsburgh concert as a way to memorialize their children and give them the chance to hear Jackie in spirit through them.  This is one of many touching stories that I have heard from people who have found comfort through Jackie’s music.  It is in these stories where I am reminded of just how special Jackie is to so many people and it is one of the many reasons why I am such a big fan.


Jackie’s latest CD titled “Two Hearts” will be available at the end of March.  You can pre-order now on Amazon and on iTunes.  Based on the few songs that I have heard from it so far, I think the CD is going to be great!

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ChuckandPaula Brown
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 18:55:36

    Thanks for this excellent review, Ken. We were fortunate to hear The Way We Were in Palm Desert and Cerritos. What an amazing concert you witnessed. Jackie never ceases to amaze.


    • VarnK
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 22:41:05

      Chuck. I didn’t know she sang The Way We Were elsewhere. She told us that this concert was the first time she was going to sing it live.


  2. Steven K.. Carter
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 19:06:30

    Thank you Varn. As usual your review seems to transport me to the venue and Jackie’s performance which is always a treat. Indeed our young prodigy has grown into a beautiful young woman and her maturity is well seen in here demeanor and voice. Wish I could have been there as I’m sure performing before her hometown audience was so exhilarating for her. And I know her fans both local and visiting were treated to one of those very special evenings that only Jackie can give. Thank you again and the best to you always.


  3. Rick Lizzari
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 19:20:32

    Great review Ken, you certainly captured the evening. It was a pleasure to have dinner with you and your wife. I hope to see you at another concert very soon.


  4. Gary Smith
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 19:29:46

    What an excellent review and how kind of you to take the time for other fans to post it.


  5. Alec Ludlow
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 19:41:45

    Thanks Ken. How I wish I had been there. Thousands of us adoring fans from all around the world continue to love Jackie and her fabulous voice. Many a time a tear has rolled down my cheek when listening to her. I would be hard pressed to explain to a casual onlooker quite why, but I know you would understand Ken. I bless the day I discovered Jackie.
    All the best to you and thanks again for your review.


  6. Michael Busby
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 19:51:44

    Nice review. FYI, the Japanese CD has two more songs… “Think about me” and “Fix you”.


  7. Len Rausch
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 20:34:17

    Just like Jackie always provides us with an absolutely wonderful performance, you have once again provided us with a wonderful concert review. Nobody does it better! It was gr8 seeing both you and Johanna again, and I look 4ward to seeing you at another one of Jackie’s concerts in the future.
    Best wishes to you!
    – Len


    • VarnK
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 20:54:56

      Thanks Len! We all have gifts that we bring to the table that Jackie seems to amplify. I can’t even begin to list all the things you have done for both fans and Jackie. BTW, thanks for letting me use the fantastic picture you took of Jackie.


  8. Catherine Novak
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 21:00:33

    Mr. Varn, you express your sentiments about Jackie so beautifully and you echo our emotions about her. It was indeed a lovely evening all around and we were so blessed to have good weather for the event as well. Thank you for your wonderful comments that state pretty much what we diehard Jackie fans feel about our beloved Angel of Music. I was fortunate to be on the aisle and I got to meet Juliet, so that was the icing on the cake. Jackie’s performance was exquisite and she remains in a class all by herself. It is such a joy to have camaraderie with so many loyal fans. To me she will always be Number One.


  9. jose ortaliz
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 21:15:10

    Thanks! I could not make it. But I did go to Sarasota last week. Except for the music your post made me feel I was there. I order anything she does. When she comes to Florida again I intend to go to every concert. her music is unique and much treasured!


  10. Roger Phillips
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 22:35:05

    Ken, Thank you for this wonderful review of Jackie’s Pittsburgh concert. Your writing style makes it possible for us fans who were not able to attend to get a real feel of being there. It is a blessing to have someone like yourself who can convey the joy of Jackie’s performance so well. Thank you so much !!!


  11. Brenda Hopkins
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 22:43:34

    Thanks Ken. Another wonderful review, of Our Angel of Music’s concert. U transport Us to the event, so It, is as near as possible to being there.


  12. miketigfan
    Mar 06, 2017 @ 23:06:49

    Ken, I enjoyed meeting you and your wife for the first time last night, after sharing thoughts about Jackie online for several years. And after all this time, Jackie still amazes. There is no better way to spend an evening than going to a Jackie Evancho concert.


    • VarnK
      Mar 06, 2017 @ 23:14:11

      Same here Mike! I wish we had more time to talk at the concert about all things Jackie. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope we will see each other again at another concert someday.


  13. Marco Ribuoli
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 01:11:30

    Ken, thank you so much for sharing with us this amazing experience.


  14. Marco Ribuoli
    Mar 07, 2017 @ 01:13:06

    Ken, thank you so much for sharing with us this amazing experience.


  15. Trackback: 2017 – A Year in Review | Jackie Evancho Admirer

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