NBC New York
Fans flocked to the free Andrea Bocelli concert at Central Park Thursday, despite the rain and cold temperatures.
The rain and sudden influx of chilly temperatures in New York City couldn't keep opera fans away from Andrea Bocelli Thursday night.
Performing a highly publicized free concert on Central Park's Great Lawn, Bocelli, accompanied by the New York Philharmonic, soldiered through the rain, wind and brisk temperature to perform some of his most popular and beloved pieces.
Special guests Tony Bennett and Celine Dion also made surprise appearances.
The world-renowned Italian tenor had said performing at Central Park was especially meaningful for him.
"My father had two dreams for me: to sing in America and especially to sing in New York," he told NBC's Matt Lauer on the Today Show in August. "So for me, it's important."
It was important, too, for the tens of thousands of fans who flocked to watch him.
And while the weather caught many in the crowd by surprise, the Bocelli spectators stepped it up in the face of the chilly challenge: Erica Pietranton of West Virginia was found sporting a garbage bag over her clothing.
"It's quite the windbreaker, actually!" she said.
Fans said it took more than a little water to put a damper on a one-of-a-kind experience like this. "It's just wonderful, just a once in a lifetime thing," remarked Linda Lehnert of Red Bank, N.J. "Really and truly, only in New York. Only in New York."
"Andrea Bocelli Live in Central Park" airs Dec. 2 at 9 p.m. on PBS.