NEW YORK — Before the final whistle at Monday night’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants, trumpeter Chris Botti had already won.
The Grammy-winning musician was on the field at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to perform the national anthem for November 3’s “Monday Night Football.” No vocals, as we’ve become accustomed to — just Botti and his instrument.
What transpired was so affecting that it left viewers with chills and brought Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne to tears.
“I’m just blessed to be out there,” Wayne later told ESPN. His performance during Monday night’s game pushed Wayne to eighth place on the all-time receiving yards list, ahead of James Lofton.
“It’s an emotional game, man, and sometimes it comes out,” Wayne continued. “An old wise guy once told me you shouldn’t hold back your tears. Tonight was a night with the tears.”
Botti, a native of Portland, Oregon, became devoted to playing the trumpet at 12 after hearing Miles Davis perform “My Funny Valentine.” Now 52, Botti’s not only built a successful career as a trumpeter, he’s also worked with some of the music industry’s biggest names, from Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon to Joni Mitchell and Natalie Cole. His most recent release, “Impressions,” won the Grammy for best pop instrumental album in 2012.
After his showing at MetLife, many are also saying that Botti turned in one of the best performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner” ever heard.
Perhaps, as one viewer suggested, even the best since Whitney Houston blew our minds at the 1991 Super Bowl.