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February 15, 2017

“I’ve waited almost 28 years so another hour is easy,” I said to the couple complaining behind me. Mariah Carey was late, but I couldn’t stop smiling because I wanted the full experience. It’s possible I would have been slightly disappointed had she actually taken the stage at the time printed on our stubs. She was late, but I wasn’t going anywhere. In fact, this was the whole reason I was in New York City.

It was 18 days before Christmas, 25 days before her now infamous New Year’s Eve performance, and I was sitting a few rows from the stage with my wife by my side waiting in anticipation for the red curtains to slide open. Those around us had the luxury of hearing her in person a few times before, lucky locals, and discussed the gift that is her voice. They kindly answered questions I asked while we waited before the house lights finally dimmed.

On a pedestal lit by a single spotlight with a sheer curtain of glitter in front of her and an enormous Christmas tree behind her, she hummed a note and sang the first verse of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing backed by a piano. Then the curtain lifted revealing her completely and the choir joined in and for the next 90 minutes, I was in heaven. Her voice soared through the Beacon Theatre during each song while her laugh echoed in the aisles in between.

She brought out John Legend for a duet, a somewhat expected yet welcomed surprise once we spotted his wife in the audience. Shania Twain bounced along from the front row while other celebrities blended in among the velvet seats with the rest of us as confirmation the appreciation for Mariah’s voice stretches far, fame or otherwise. Her ensembles changed throughout the evening, but her voice remained intact – and very much live.

While it was a Christmas concert and she belted her way through most of the songs offered on her holiday collection, she also pulled a few songs from her impressive catalog to remind us just how she earned the title of Best Selling Female Artist of All Time. Well deserved, might I add. She was every bit of the legend you'd expect her to be and did things with her voice that seem practically impossible. It was beyond impressive.

Mariah Carey. Every single high note and low note and note in between proved to be well worth the wait, all 28 years and one hour. On the way out, I mentally checked off a box on the proverbial bucket list and once home, saw that she announced a tour with Lionel Richie in mid-2017. I promptly purchased our tickets. This time she’s coming to North Carolina so traveling isn’t necessary, three months and counting.

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