The “3 Nones of June” ~ Bernard Duffy

3 JUNE 2016

In the central English town of Stratford-on-Avon, a little over 450 years ago, during the reign of Good Queen Bess, a son was born to John Shakespeare and Mary Arden. They decided to call him Bill but as an adult he preferred to use the long form of his name, William. He grew up to be something of a writer and enjoyed more than a little success. When he was not writing sonnets, he was composing plays or acting in them.
Mr Shakespeare had a great love for Italy and many of his plays were set there in times ancient or modern. Well, the middle ages were modern when he was writing! You may have heard of many of his Italian plays – the Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, Coriolanus, Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar. He also wrote a play set in our town – the Merry Wives of Windsor! Like the Bard, I also have a strong affinity with Italy and my Italian bride has since become “a merry wife” here in Windsor.
In Julius Caesar, the soothsayer warns Caesar to beware the Ides of March. When that date arrives, Caesar teases the soothsayer by reminding her of her warning; “The Ides of March are come,” he says. “Aye Caesar, but they are not yet gone!” she replies. If you know the plot, Caesar does not enjoy a merry evening in Rome that fateful day. He should have stayed in Britain where he was one of our earliest tourists in 55 and 54 B.C. But, I digress and must return to the plot.
Unlike Caesar, my wife and I had been looking forward to the “3 Nones of June” for more than six months – ever since we bought our tickets for the London Palladium. As it was the only date in England, we could not do anything about it being on a Friday. My wife had to work and I was entered in a golf competition for which I was the defending champion. I arranged an early start time and played two rounds before rushing home to Windsor to rendez-vous with my wife. With such a full program for the day-time, we were able to maintain a semblance of calm until the last moment.
Thankfully, we had only a short drive to the railway station and then it was “all aboard” the iron horse to London town! Descending into the subway (the famous London “Tube”) we came up for air at Oxford Circus station about 150 yards from the Palladium. We had just enough time to wolf down a sandwich and then we headed immediately to the theatre where a host of patrons were already waiting to enter. We heard lots of Italian voices but also plenty of English ones. As befits citizens of Royal Windsor, we had secured our places in the Royal Circle in the middle of the third row. The first two rows were not on sale when we booked and we assumed that these tickets were reserved for a few VIPs.
The Palladium is one of London’s most famous venues and all manner of famous artists have performed there over the years; e.g. the Beatles and Frank Sinatra; but, in reality, a veritable Who’s Who of show-business. The atmosphere inside the theatre was electric. Promptly at 7.30 the “warm-up” act came on stage. He was a charming guy who played electric piano and had some interesting percussion instruments set up on his computer. He was given a warm welcome by a generous and kind-hearted audience. We all fell a little in love with his boyish manner and his obvious enjoyment of appearing before such a packed theatre.
By 8.00 p.m. his set was over and the crew started to arrange the stage for the evening’s main event. By now, my wife and I were unable to contain our excitement and we were not alone! We saw the orchestra and backing musicians take up their places – sixteen member of the orchestra and four members of the band – including Giampiero Grani on the piano-forte and Giovanni di Caprio on guitars. Giovanni was sporting his usual severe haircut – as in he does not have any! The theatre lights were not just dimmed; they saved a few dollars on the electricity bill and it was pitch dark!
Then, the opening bars of “Per te ci sarò.” The stage lighting kicked into action and mid-way through the intro, we saw the guys assembled at the top of the steps and the audience went wild as they were finally able to release some pent-up tension. I recorded the song and you can view it later! I could hardly believe the power of the guys’ voices which I was experiencing “live” for the first time instead of via a CD or DVD recording; or over my “home cinema” sound system when they were on television. The music coursed through my whole being and entered my soul. I was captivated. I decided that I could not spend my precious time recording the show on my cell phone. It was too distracting. The music needed my undivided attention. “Volare” and “il Mondo” followed and the concert was in full flow. Two solos for each guy and three duets so that every pair sang once. They showed off much of their English repertoire but we were lucky to hear “l’amore si muove” and “L’immensità” along with some other songs in Italian.
During their first interlude the guys gave a witty and humorous explanation why they would speak in English for the evening. They did their normal interaction with the audience and they also made fun of some English accents. I have recorded a couple of these and hope that Crew members across the USA and elsewhere will enjoy them.
As everyone always says, two hours simply flew past; and, all too soon, it was time for ‘O Sole Mio! There was only one encore – Grande Amore, of course!! And strangely, there was no place for “Surrender” in the set. However, it was an evening never to be forgotten. Even more importantly, it is an evening that must be repeated as soon as possible! The guys were clear that they hoped to return to London before too long. Whatever the future, I shall go to see them in Italy at the first available opportunity. After so many months on the road, they will have a well-deserved break over the summer. Once they have been refreshed, I will be standing by with my passport at the ready!

~ Bernard

19 thoughts on “The “3 Nones of June” ~ Bernard Duffy”

  1. Hi Bernard, thank you for your entertaining account of that fantastic concert at the
    Palladium. I too thought the atmosphere was incredibly electric and the audience gave huge appreciation. There must have been a standing ovation for nearly every song. I do hope that will encourage them to return to England soon. I keep writing to our media to notice Il Volo but they are too stuck in their ways.
    I shall be standing behind you with my passport.

  2. Bernard thanks for this great post. In the ‘dark ages” I had a chances to have a ‘budget tour’ in London with a side trip to “Stratford on Avon”. Loved the English countryside.

  3. Bernard, what a wonderful review! I’m so happy you and your wife had this amazing experience. The music coursed through my whole being and entered my soul…wow, what a beautiful description of what it’s like to be hearing them LIVE! Thank you for sharing your special evening!

  4. Welcome aboard Barnard. You are in good company with all of us. I am of English parents and would have loved being there at the Palladium. I alerted my family in New Castle but alas they were on holiday in ITALY. Go figure. Joanie G

  5. HI Bernard I loved reading about your experience at the concert and I agree the boys sound so incredible live don’t they. Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

  6. Bernard, thank you for this! Doesn’t matter where in the world we are, we all feel the same about seeing IL Volo live and in concert. At least those of us here, along with your “merry wife”, feel like your countrywoman, Emily Brontë wrote…” I have to remind myself to breathe — almost to remind my heart to beat!” – Wuthering Heights.

  7. Thank you for your great emotion filled review. I have seen IL Volo in concert 3 times with my IL Volo “Twin” Jan. Each time was not long enough but so terrific that we are waiting for their next appearance in the USA. I listen to their music everyday. Thanks again for bringing the thrill of the live concert back to me.

  8. Bernard, a beautiful post straight from your heart!!! Now you & your wife are surrounded by the Grande Amore these precious young men share with each of us!!! Each Concert is a magical, enchanted evening!!! You can not wait until you see them again!!!

  9. As you have discovered, Bernard, it is just not possible to go to just one of our guys’ concerts! When the concert’s two hours are over, you are already planning to go to their next concert, and hoping it will not be a long wait. Loved your article!

  10. Bernard, welcome to the Crew! I loved your post! As you discovered, they are “knock ’em dead up believeable ” in person! I’ve only seen them once and at my age that may be it! The poor guys can just be in so many places at once! I may need to get a passport! Keep the faith….you may get another chance!! From Texas to you and your wife!♡♡♡(that’s supposed to be “unbelievable”, but you knew that!)

  11. Bernard, thank you for your wonderful post ! Once you’ve seen our guys in concert, it just isn’t enough! You are hooked for life and can’t wait until you can see them again! My husband and I have only been to six of their concerts, but, God willing, we will attend several more!
    Welcome to Ilvololovers!

  12. Bernard! Welcome and thank you for your charming review. I hope your merry wife and you are able to attend many future concerts. These Italian lads are magical!

  13. Thank you Bernard for sharing your first Il Volo concert and at such a world renown venue. So happy you and your wife were able to see them live. You described the excitement and anticipation I and others felt when the orchestra and band first appeared. To suddenly see Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero appear at the top of the steps is just amazing. They are magical!

  14. Bernard – just loved your review and your little short history lesson! Just delightful, as they say!! 🙂 So glad they spoke English for you – of course, they WERE in England! Lol! Yes, it is certainly incredible to see them live for the first time, it’s the only drug I want to be addicted to. You were so lucky to hear Per Te… and L’amore…. we missed out on that in North America. However, we did get Surrender – so, it’s a toss-up! Nothing quite compares to Ignazio’s limbo moves! So glad you enjoyed it… speaking of seeing them again, I might have 2 tickets to Verona to sell!

  15. Being English (Guildford in Surrey) married to an Italian (Parma, Italy) now living in Florida/Italy , I thoroughly enjoyed your “revue”, thank you so much, Bernard. I think the next time they will have to have a larger venue !!!
    I ” have passport will travel “.

  16. Marion, I have a passport too and dream of visiting paces with names like “Guilford in Surry”. Sounds way more romantic than Zanesville, Ohio.

  17. Marie, I am sure Zanesville Ohio has better weather. The U.K can experience four seasons in one day !!!. The umbrella business is out of this world !!

    1. Marion, I only live a couple of hours from Marie, I’m just east of Cleveland. In the dreaded Snow Belt. We had an ice storm in the middle of May in the morning and by noon the sun was out. Typical for us.

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