Isabel’s review for the the concert that was at the State Theatre on Playhouse Square on Wednesday, 02/24.
photo was taken from my seat as the orchestra was “tuning up.”
Before I begin my narrative, I just have to say that I cannot believe how seriously I lucked out from the beginning of the evening to the end. I saved for months to buy the VIP package and it was worth every cent and more! The theater was gorgeous and all of the volunteers, event staff, and security were kind and helpful. I had a PERFECT seat, 15 rows from the stage and dead-center so I had a wonderful view of everything. I was so jittery as I sat and waited and I could feel my heart pounding faster and faster as time passed. The band and orchestra started to play and that was when I started the smiling that would last all night. When Gianluca first appeared, silhouetted in light and smoke, I gasped a little, I’ll admit it. Then he started to sing and I nearly burst into tears. I have been an ilvolover for almost exactly 4 years now, and after all of the hoping, dreaming, wishing, the endless loops of youtube videos, the whistful sighing to myself, all of the working and saving that I did, I was actually there!I was in the same room as them, and I was seeing them with my own eyes instead of through a screen. I was hearing those spectacular voices with my own ears, not through someone else’s recording. It was a literal dream come true for me to be there. Now, I will add a disclaimer here, I am a little bit of a fangirl, and yes, I am also a little extra bit fond of Piero. Don’t judge me for it! The opening number was “Volare” and it was nearly impossible to resist the urge to get up and dance. Then came “Il Mondo” and I just had so many memories of trying to memorize that song four years ago. The sound balance seemed a tiny bit off in the beginning but that was soon adjusted. They spoke for a little after that, mentioning that it had been a while since they had been to Ohio and wondering what we thought of the latest PBS Special. Then they sang “Io Che Non Vivo” and now you will understand my disclaimer. Being as close to the stage as I was, I knew that there was a chance I might be seen, so when he was looking my way, I smiled and raised a finger-heart to Piero, hoping but not really believing that he might see me in the crowd.
He did see me though! The reason I know that is because he smiled at me, pointed, and made one for me!! I cannot properly put into words how much that gesture meant to me and will mean to me forever. Someone who has been such an immeasurable inspiration to me and who I admire so much, noticed me and made me feel like I was special, that I meant something too. I cannot describe how happy I was……
Now, I will keep from repeating every single detail of the concert itself for fear of being boring and I also don’t want to spoil everything for everyone who is still waiting for their concert to come around. I will say that I cried several times, especially during Caruso. Gianluca and Ignazio sang “Unchained Melody” together as usual and at Gianluca’s prompting, Ignazio dedicated it to his love of exactly three months. The entire audience melted through that intro! I made another heart for Piero later on in the concert and he responded in kind again! Something else that was extremely special for me was “O Sole Mio.”That was the song that introduced me to Il Volo, watching them perform it on the Il Volo Takes Flight PBS Special. It also introduced me to Piero and that incomparable voice of his. I remember watching him stand on a seat in the middle of the audience and hold an impossible note and from that moment on I was done for. I couldn’t believe that four years later, I was watching as he jumped off the stage and asked a young girl to borrow her seat and he stood up in the middle of the crowd, about 6 or 7 rows away from me, and held out that impossible note once again! It was truly a dream come true for me to be there……
And then came the Meet & Greet. I am miserably broke college student and so I was not able to get them any gifts. I just stood in that line and my heart was racing, I couldn’t stand still, it felt like what was coming couldn’t even be real! Then it was very suddenly my turn and then my memory goes a little fuzzy because I was just so excited. I hugged each one of them, I know that for sure! Ignazio was first, and I had to stand on my tip-toes a little! Piero remembered me because when I stepped over he asked if I was the one in the center! After I hugged Gianluca, he was admiring my red coat and he told me that he really liked it! All three of them were so kind and so sweet and I couldn’t think clearly enough to say anything coherent! Piero did ask my name and how old I was at different points, and he even said my name, which sounds very silly and fangirl-y of me to say but I just felt so special! I tried to thank them for everything as I left. I told them, “Thank you for giving me so much hope, hope to keep trying.” I wanted to say so much more! They give me hope to keep trying, to keep dreaming, to keep believing in myself. I had so much I wanted to tell them and thank them for but I felt like I had taken too much time already! Ignazio said that I was “so sweet,” and given that he is one of the sweetest people ever, few compliments could compare! Piero said, “We will see you again” to which Gianluca added “soon” and I almost started to cry again because the chances of me seeing them again anytime soon are basically 0 and I even after that, the chances are remote. I am not sad though by any means.
I had the most magical experience, a real dream come true. It was the best night of my life and I have the incredible members of Il Volo themselves, Piero Barone, Ignazio Boschetto, and Gianluca Ginoble to thank for that! I am so grateful that I had such an incredible experience and the memories are something that I will treasure forever and ever!