Il Volo – Live from Pompeii
Filmed on June 10, 2015 from Pompeii, Italy
This review is based upon August 7, Vegas-PBS presentation.
Looking back a few months ago I originally thought I would pass on writing a review of the Taormina concert. Then I changed my mind after watching it again and again. So I wrote the review posted here earlier this year. I do remember thinking that concert should have been the planned PBS special. I knew they were planning one last fall and aiming for Rome but the San Remo / Eurovision competition changed that schedule. They had always planned to do Pompeii but at that point it was raised to a greater level of importance. Tonight I am very glad they did the PBS Special in Pompeii. Taormina may be just a touch more romantic location but Pompeii more than makes up for that by its iconic historical position and representation of all of Italy. If you are going to take an Italian trio and put on a concert in Italy present to American audiences then Pompeii is the place.
I would like to make some comments along the way and then a summary at the end.
First note is that I like the guys being staged in the middle of the orchestra several times in the beginning of the program and later. Grande Amore has always been a great song for them – works well for their voices and was arranged well just for them. Probably their new signature song. Very nice staging and great lighting. Much better planned than two years ago or the road tour concerts. This is an “Il Volo Song” for sure.
Io che non Vivo (You Don’t have to say you love me)
I prefer the version where first singer starts without orchestra – a capella (as they did in Taormina) and then orchestra comes in the fourth bar. Otherwise this is a great song for them. Orch./piano is a bit too strong on this. I love the new approach to the spoken “patter” that they use between songs. It is much more mature and at ease. It has a more natural feel or should I say they are more at home with it. Feels good and is enjoyable.
Beautiful That Way (La Vita e bella)
The beginning of this was a bit off in rhythm orchestra was not with Ginaluca. Small item which was corrected quickly. This was a lovely song and they enjoyed it as they got going. I wish they would not stage one person on the floor – Piero- while others are standing (reminds me of Christmas special – bad staging). Once again, I like the guys in the middle of the orchestra for a change of pace staging. Nice. This song grows on you. Watch how Ignazio does the transition to the next song off of this song.
New tonight for these concerts and shows: the guys introduce themselves for their solos and it is so much more relaxed and personal this way. I love this : Piero talks about this dream to sing grand opera and how he worked hard for this and how he hopes “he won’t disappoint us” – You gotta love this kid and his humble nature. That phrase really got me.
Piero – E Lucevan le Stelle – (from the opera “Tosca” by Puccini )
In the past we have watched as at first, they stayed away from opera, then two years later Piero and Gianluca did two songs from short operas and now Piero takes on a true aria from a full-scale opera and not just any opera – a great masterpiece by the great Puccini – the magnificent Tosca. We know Piero has wanted to do this for some time. And WOW ! ! did he do it ! Piero’s vowels and, therefore, sound is more wide open and larger now. This guy has really been working and how. As a voice teacher/coach I was absolutely thrilled over this performance. Bravo! to Piero !!!
Very nice smooth transition on the staging for this. The guys have a ball singing and “acting “ this song out. The “fight” breaks out and we love it. Who gets the girl ? Ha!
Gianluca lets loose with some wild, powerful singing and he does it well (of course !). Watch that hair fly around. Ignazio and his “Tom Jones” styling. Piero singing his heart out. Funny song and fun to watch.
This has always been one of my favorite songs of theirs. This time around the arrangement is different and the orchestration is very different. Sometimes the featured guitars are too loud and later the whole orchestra is too heavy but it still comes off very dramatic. Gianluca really digs into the soul of this wonderful piece. He is so focused in his energy delivery. All, in all, the guys are more focused in this whole concert than in the past. They are serious about the craft that it takes to make the art of singing. Wonderful and passion-filled song.
Quando l’amore diventa poesia
Also a nice song for delivering passion through music.
Gianluca – Anema e core (Heart and Soul)
Once again, I like that Gianluca introduces himself and his song and how he found it. So much more personal. I loved this song the first time I heard him sing it in Taormina with an accordian doing the solo work. This time they are using a soprano sax and he is very good at it. But I still feel the style of the song needs the accordian. Also, drums are too strong on this as is the sax during the verse. Gianluca sings it very beautifully. He can be so romantic when he is alone on an equally romantic song.
Well you can sure tell that the audience was ready for this song. The boys jumped into the deep end with both feet and had a wonderful, fun time singing this with audience involvement. This is great audience participation. Good old work horse of a song and it still is fun after all these years.
This was my one disappointment of the night. This was the weakest of the last seven song – album and here the performance was a little sloppy on the rhythm. Solo guitars and rhythm section were too loud under the singing. Ignazio does enjoy this song and does it so well. I wish they would have done “Ancore” or “Romantica” .
Ignazio – Unchained Melody
Once again, Ignazio introduces himself and his song. Love it. It is personal when he talks about his mother’s gift to his papa for the anniversary – this song. Ignazio sang his heart out on this one. This is such a good type of song for his voice. He was absolutely wonderful.
Piove (Ciao, ciao bambina)
Earlier we had fun with the audience and now we have fun out in the audience. A very catchy song from the recent album that is perfect for turning up the fun level with the audience.
In the past we have had the song “Smile” written by the great film director and star, Charlie Chaplin and now from his movie “Limelight” we have the great song: Eternally. A great song for the end of the program. Beautiful melody and the guys have some wonderful solos and great harmony. The opening has a wonderful close-up of Gianluca singing the first verse. The camera is right in his face and he sings right to your soul. He has so much inside him to move your soul. This song provided each guy with a moment to shine but also provided some great harmony sections. This may well be one of the best of the night.
This song is a nice up-tempo number and works well to finish the concert. I think that they have had some other songs that work better for ending a concert. They could have used their theme song again: “O Sole Mio”. I have nothing against this song but it just does not come off strong for a finale number.
But that is very trivial.
Over all my thoughts are that this is a very fine concert – maybe their best of the PBS concerts – with great choices of repertoire that fits the style and the voices of these three individual souls and talent. I do wish they would have included more from the recent album. My favorite songs of the new batch: Grande Amore and Eternally.
Now let me get personal. As someone who has known these guys since they were 16, 17 and 18 and I have also met them at five different times sometimes for just a few minutes and sometimes for a nice length of time. I have gotten to know them and I have always come away thinking what wonderful and sweet and charming young guys ( boys ) they are. What nice families they come from. Well, here it comes:
NEWS FLASH !!! THE BOYS HAVE GROWN UP !!! These are young men !
We all knew that already but this show brought it home in strong fashion. Based upon the evidence of this concert, this was a show presented by grown-ups.They were smooth and very professional in their presentation and in control of their show. They sang their hearts out for us. The technical side of the singing was flawless as usual and it is getting better and better. I am so pleased to find out that they still take their voice lessons and work with a voice coach and the proof is that they always get better.
Lord ! I do love these three. And now – – the USA/Canada Tour.
This time Las Vegas is on the list.