California Dreamin’…. Part III
We managed to get up and out at our scheduled time of shortly after 8a. We took Uber to Enterprise to pick up the car and we lovingly threw Sharon in the back with a pillow! Lol! We left shortly after 9a and we were on our way. Had a Nissan Altima – nice car! Drove like a crazy person – not my usual driving style, but it was drive fast, or get left behind! After a few hours, Sharon woke up and said “when’s lunch?” We stopped briefly for lunch at Denny’s in Barstow for about an hour and were on our way again. We reached Sharon’s hotel, The Roosevelt, shortly after 3p. We left there and made it to our hotel around the corner about 20 minutes later. The traffic was just awful in the city there and took us 10 – 15 minutes to just get around the corner. We looked and felt like we’d been travelling all day, so we quickly got ready. We were going to take Uber to the Dolby as we thought there was just the one entrance from the front. Our very nice hotel concierge asked us where we were going and we told him. He said you can walk, we asked is it far? He said, just down the street and through the parking garage ramp! Ok, cancelled Uber and literally walked there in like less than 5 minutes. The hotel was practically right behind the Dolby Theatre complex! I could not have planned that one any better!!
Ah, some bittersweet moments… our last concert, last meet/greet. We found the VIP table and they let us buy the mugs there? Go figure?! What was I going to say this time? Our seats were very good, in row J, thanks to a “friend” of Chris’s! Orchestra section on the left. Not super close, but we could still see pretty well. As most know by now, the concert started just like any other….the usual Godfather routine, the other jokes….during “Ciao, Ciao…” Ignazio gave a good portion of the audience a scare! They brought this little girl up on stage with Piero and Gian, and the next thing we knew, Igna was picking this girl up, and up, and over his head, and she landed on the back of his shoulders! I swear, half of the audience just sucked in their breath, remembering what happened in Tampa! So, I guess he has no fear of picking up children anymore and his shoulder must be just fine? Good thing she was only 5 years old! Talk about a thrill ride for her! Hope she wasn’t afraid of heights, that was about 7 feet in the air she went! Then Ignazio comes out and sits down at the piano. I thought he was going to sing his Pino Daniele medley and was thrilled, but then he says he’s going to sing a song that he wrote! What? OMG! Better record this one! As we all know now, it was “Hablando de ti” or “Talking about you.” Even though it was in Spanish, it was beautiful, as anything that comes from Ignazio is the most beautiful sound ever! Of course it was quickly translated for us non-Spanish persons the next morning and the words, oh, the words! I was starting to tear up, just reading them! To me, it was an apology, a proposal, and wedding vows, all wrapped up into one song. Prior to that, Gian and Igna did their “routine” intro to Unchained Melody. This time Gian asked Igna if he was in love? Igna replied, “so much in love…” Gian said, “me, too!” I swear you could hear half the audience just go “aw……” We later found out that Alessandra was in the audience (and meet/greet) so that explains a lot! 🙂 (We think that is who he was texting through the entire Vegas mg/!) After we were already in awe after Ignazio sang his own song, Gian comes out to do his solo. Again, we were expecting Anime Core, but then he starts speaking and talking about some song that Paul Simon wrote and Aretha Franklin and Elvis sang? Huh? By the time he said “Bridge….” I was quickly fumbling for my camera and missed the first few words! Yes, it was as truly awesome as everyone is saying it was, so emotional and he really did sound like Elvis in many parts! Chris and I actually “bored” the Uber driver on the way back from the airport on Sunday with his rendition. Lol! He liked it though! Remember Ignazio wanted to lose 10 pounds? I think he must have met his goal, as he kept pulling up his pants during the concert! After being stunned twice, there were no more surprises and again, it was over all too quickly, to the tunes of O Sole Mio, Surrender, and Grande Amore! Remember I said I kept running into Gaetano? At one point, Chris turned around and realized he was sitting in the row behind us, on the aisle seat for a little while! No, didn’t wave this time – lol!
Ok, the last meet/greet. This was it…our Il Volo adventure was quickly coming to an end…. We waited a bit, shuffled some more, then went out in to the main lobby area. I have to say, this was one of the most well-organized meet and greets, although I’ve only been to 3…. Lol! Although firm, I felt most of the personnel were fairly nice. Us fans were pretty used to the drill by now anyway….hurry up and wait…at least the guys were in a nice room this time with plenty of light and there was plenty of room. They led people about 5 at a time into the room and when you got there, there were about 10 persons ahead of you. Sharon wanted me to tape her, so I did, as I was a few persons behind her and it worked out well that way. Ok, my time, this was it. I worked hard on my scarf and wanted to make sure the guys actually took notice of it. So, I guess, that was my main priority. Well, it was my turn and I went up there, they were kind of standing together, but Gian and Piero seemed otherwise pre-occupied… anyway, I walked up, held out my scarf and Igna was there and I said, “I wanted to be sure you saw my scarf” and held it out so they could see their wing and their name on the other side, I told them I made it and it was Swarovski crystals. Again, Igna is the one who surprised me… he said, “Oh, Gianlu, look…” (hey, at least it was in English this time!) Gian looked, and then Piero. Well, I guess I was overstaying my welcome too long because before I knew it, it was turn around take a picture again! Darn, no hugs ancora! I quickly mumbled that they were great and it was snap, you are done! As before, I gave Ignazio a squeeze around his waist and then gave him an extra little pat/rub on his back – his shirt was so soft…. And that was that! It was over and they ushered me out the door!
Sharon was lucky enough to realize that Alessandra was there and was able to speak with her a little bit. I think she may have left by the time I got up there, or I just didn’t notice her. Again, I saw Gaetano on the way out, as he was speaking with a few of the band members outside the lobby area of the theatre. I did not bother him this time either. It was late and we wanted to get back to the hotel. We had a quick snack and went to bed.
The next morning, we made it to Santa Monica Pier/Beach. It was beautiful and Chris got to stick her toes into the Pacific Ocean for the first time! It was the 2nd time for me! We made our way back to the car and we were on our way. Yes, getting out of the actual LA area was positively awful, but actually worse coming into the city, like a moving parking lot in many spots! We were so glad to make it back to Vegas, just before it got dark. My trusty GPS, and human navigator, Chris, got us safely back to Enterprise! Of course, I kept having this vibe that the guys were around us somewhere…sure enough, we got back to town and I saw on Instagram that the guys, were indeed, at Santa Monica Pier, riding bikes! Unfortunately, we had left quite a long time before they got there and they were further up on the pier than we were; my sleuthing senses were working overtime, that is for sure!
We spent some time with Marie for a few hours when we got back and then it was off to bed! Our fantasy dream weekend was quickly coming to an end and we had our flight to catch the next afternoon.
The end of our journey has come! I hope you enjoyed joining me in reminiscing my Vegas/Hollywood adventure! We made it safely back to Detroit with treasured memories to keep us warm, for at least a little while – until the next time…
P.S. I just wanted to add that I am so sorry I was not able to meet more of the Flight Crew members! It was a pleasure meeting those that I did meet – everyone is so nice! I’m so glad I had a chance to finally meet Kelly. She helped me out so much in the beginning when I ran into a few snags here and there on the site! Thanks!
25 thoughts on “Fantasies and Dreams do Come True – Finale Part III”
Thanks, Jana for the “reminising”. What great memories! I’m happy for you even if you did hold Ignazio a little too long.
Saw that scarf in person… It’s beautiful! Nobody does bead and crystal work like you, Jana, my sweet adopted daughter.
Agreed, Marie! Beautiful scarf, Jana! I enjoyed your experience! Nice idea recording the Meet & Greet.
Jeanine – thanks…a lot of planning went into that scarf (and the blouse, actually) I sort of designed it and had it custom made for me. I knew I wanted that color and was able to find it at a local fabric store. I knew I wanted Il Volo down the one side and literally had to research trying to find it and how to do it. Adding the “wing” logo was an afterthought, but I thought the other side of the scarf looked lonely, and it came out really well. It will now be my official accessory for whenever I meet them! 🙂
Thanks mom! It’s hard to believe it was over a month ago now that we were all there. Was nice to relive the memories again…. 🙂 <3
I was pretty proud of the scarf, it was the first time I'd ever done anything like that!
Jana, I loved every part of your story. Simply wonderful. The scarf looks just beautiful. I’m glad you were able to show it to them. I give you girls a lot of credit for navigating your way from Vegas to LA and back!! Was so good to see you again in Vegas and meeting us at the hotel when we stepped out of the cab felt like we had our very own welcoming committee! 🙂
Thanks, Jane! Yeah, that was a real “trip!” 🙂 Never did that before, either! Il Volo really has me breaking out of my comfort zones, embarking on new adventures, and expanding my creativity! I was so happy to see you guys again when you got to the hotel. Brought back lovely memories of us meeting you in Detroit at Metro Airport, and trying to figure out who and where you were! 🙂
Jana, how great to hear of your adventures in Vegas and L.A. it was such a pleasure to have met you, Marie, Ineke, Judy, Jeannette, Myron, Jeanine, Kelly and so many more lovely ladies. Let’s do it again in Vegas ladies. Until we meet again.
Until we meet again, Prese!
Prese – so great to have met you also! 🙂 If the guys don’t come back next year, maybe we can have a girls’ weekend or something in Vegas? Might be fun? A presto….
You really had an amazing few days keeping up with Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca. The concert must have been wonderful especially hearing the new songs. Your scarf is lovely!
Thank you, Margaret! Yes, it was quite the adventure! Loved every minute of it – except maybe standing in line for the m/g!
Hi Jana, Thank you so much for your personal report. I was at the M/G in Tampa and was disappointed to miss Ignazio because of his trip to the ER. Also was at the M/G in Vegas, and again he was preoccupied texting on his phone. I am sure it was with Alessandra and he was anxious to see her, completely understand that.. I did have a different idea of what the M/G’s would be like. Have you been to any of the earlier ones? My understanding was that there would be a question and answer period but this was not the case. I will continue to attend M/G’s but now I know not to be intimidated by anyone, just relax and take my time and talk to the boys.
Gianluca holds out his arms and embraces you as if you were an old friend. Piero gives you a beautiful warm smile when he looks at you. Ignazio, just IS Ignazio. Love them all to death. P. S. Your scarf is gorgeous. I love the color.
Rosemarie – glad you enjoyed my play by play! I would have been so bummed if I had been in Tampa, especially if that had been my only concert! I was only at the Detroit one. I did personally call the OMG! group though regarding the complaints some people were having and they told me that they couldn’t “figure out” how to do a Q&A with such a group like that, so that is why they didn’t have one? Yeah, lame answer! If that was the case, they could have given us more time? Yes, experience does pay off! It’s funny, the very first time I saw them was at PBS and I hadn’t seen them sing, and I was “so-so” nervous. The 2nd time in Detroit, I was just in “awe!” But for Vegas and LA, I was a lot more composed. 🙂 Glad you liked the scarf!
I’d like to see this scarf!
I’d love for you to see it in person also! Maybe next time? 🙂 I guess you’ll have to settle for the pictures for now?
I didn’t see the scarf. It must be gorgeous. Hope to see all of you again next year. Joanie G
Thanks – yes, it is prettier and sparklier in person!! I think you need just the right camera to pick up the sparkle/color and it was just taken with my phone…. next year, I like that… 🙂
Jana, (even though I have told this already) I also think that another reason Gianluca’s performance of “Bridge over Troubled Water” was so emotional in L.A. at the Dolby theater was because Priscilla Presley (Elvis’ wife ) was in the audience that night. She had been escorted into the theater just a few minutes before curtain time and sat about four seats over from where Jeannette and I were seated . Can you imagine being Gianluca and picking such an emotional song to sing and then, in addition to that stress, singing it with Priscilla Presley right there in front of you. WOOOF ! ! ! the stress load. I think, for him, that may have been the highlight of the whole tour. At least one of them. This was prime example of the best baritone in the world working today.
Yes, I had heard she was there – did the guys/Gian know she was coming? Wonder if they ever still get nervous? 🙂 Yes, although Igna is clearly my favorite, I love a good, deep voice!
Jana, I loved the three part report . It was fun to read of all your adventures and compare to my memories of the same events. That is so much fun. I am so glad you had a great time. Bravo !
Thanks, Myron! Yes, I’m sure you could write an entire novel on this whole planning experience, yourself! I hope you kept lots of notes and a diary of sorts? I’m sure it would be an interesting read? To be honest, I wasn’t even going to go in the beginning. I’m so glad fate stepped in and changed my mind!
Hi Jana, I so enjoyed reading all about your experiences…your scarf is so elegant and special. I am glad to have met u in LV and share a table..wish I would have chatted more with everyone….all of you ILVoloFlightCrew are so talented and devoted to IL Volo, you are a great writer and help us feel as if we are right there with you. ☺ I am recovering from shoulder surgery right now, so I’ll close for now…more to say, but typing is a little difficult. My best and hugs to you, Jana….Grazie…..xoxo
Harriett – thank you so much! It was nice sitting with you also. I know, time seems to stand still, yet go so quickly sometimes. You think you’ll have time, and then you don’t? I’m so glad you like my writing style – I often get teased because I can’t seem to leave out any of the details, but I’m always flattered that people seem to say they feel they are right there with me when I write! Sure hope your shoulder gets better! Be sure to do all of your physical therapy – even if it hurts! 🙂 If you are feeling any pain, just focus on the guys and their cute faces – you won’t notice the pain. Worked for me recently…. 🙂 Lol! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org