Ciao a tutti! Ok, this might be even a little longer than normal, but I think I if I didn’t have all the details in here, some would be upset! 🙂 Here’s the inside scoop…
Lorna and I had barely been back a week from Italy and on July 14, Chris and I received the email to volunteer for the upcoming pledge drive at PBS. A quick check on Aug 24 said it was a live event – YES! Il Volo was coming! We quickly signed up to work the phones as we did last year, not knowing how things were going to go and we wanted to be sure we were there. Later that afternoon, we received the official email from Michelle Gaisser at PBS. Per Il Volo management, there were only to be 35 tickets available for sale at a cost of $350 a ticket! Oh no, our odds just dipped! She announced they would go on sale on July 26 at 10a sharp and enclosed the website link to the PBS site. Wow, there were over 10 of us in our little group. What if we all didn’t get tickets? Operation “get tickets” went into motion! Of course, we went to the website and as she had said, there was nothing there yet. We later found out this email went to about 250 persons. Our odds of getting tickets were getting slimmer by the moment. Ok, we quickly mobilized the troupes and our plan went into action on the morning of July 26. Ginny and Lorna were at Jana’s with fingers ready on the keyboards at 9:55am. Chris was at work and unable to order, so Ginny had her info. Donna went to Sharon’s, so they could help each other. Sherry was at home, at the ready, too! I was at the office, behind closed doors, waiting nervously for the laptop I had borrowed to strike 10am! I had preset the link to the website on the computer. I believe we all did. All we had to do was hit refresh, and boom, order as fast as our fingers allowed! We all agreed we would sign on and order at least 2 tickets so everyone in our group would be able to go. If there was a chance someone didn’t get tickets, we would work it out.
Ok, it was 10a – refresh! Refresh!! Refresh!! Wait, it wasn’t working, I was starting to panic and break out in a cold sweat! I quickly emailed Michelle and said it wasn’t working. Plan B. I went back to the original email, on my phone and clicked on the link! Presto! It worked, by then it was at least 5 after 10a and I was in panic mode. I quickly chose 2 tickets, that said that was our limit, put in my information and voila! It said I was confirmed for 2 tickets! Yea! I quickly texted the others and said I had 2 tickets. Oh, no, Sharon and Donna could not connect. I told them to go back to the original email, said they did, but that didn’t work. Ok, I told Sharon to send me her info ASAP and I would try to order them. She sent the info and I believe I got the last 2 tickets, from what I heard later. By about 10:20a, the tickets were sold out. We later learned that Lorna had gotten 4 tickets. So, between the 5 of us, we had gotten 12 tickets!! Just about 1/3 of the tickets were ours!
As usual, the anticipation grew, and clothes were getting chosen. OK, fast-forward…..August 24th!
It was a beautiful day, however there was a threat of rain in the forecast. We all met at my apartment (Ignazio’s Blessing – lol!) and took off shortly after 4:30p. A group of us, about 15 or so, met at Antonio’s the night before for a meet/greet/celebration of our own.
It was to start at 6:30p. After almost a 1.5 hour car ride out to Wixom from Dearborn, while dodging a few rain showers, we finally arrived about 6:15p. We got our badges, mingled a bit and took a few pictures. At just about 6:30p, they led us to the dining area. The food was all set up and waiting for us and the wine on the tables. We were table #1. There were 7 of us sitting at a table for ten. Mingled some more and took more pictures. Had a glass of wine. It was really warm in there and it wasn’t the wine! There appeared to be something wrong with the A/C! (Chris and I later found out on Sunday, while we were volunteering that the guys were too cold and they asked to turn off the air. A room full of 40 year-old plus women and they turn the air off!) Dinner was pretty good; better than last year. It was a little after 7:30p and we were anxiously awaiting for 8p to get there. Finally, about 7:55p or so, Il Volo security announced we could not personally give them any gifts we brought, but we had to put them on a table and they would take them to them. That was very disappointing for everyone. But at least they will get them and I could get rid of those t-shirts! They started calling the tables about 8:10p – late again. We were told they were rehearsing and on a tight schedule. However, they called table 3 first! That was ok though, I didn’t really want to be first. We ended up being the 3rd table to be called. There were 4 tables.
We went in and it was nothing like last year. It was dull and almost sterile. They didn’t allow the others to stay in the room. They were ushering you out as soon as you were done. However, I did stay as I had put my bag on the floor and went back to get it and then stayed until our group was finished.
The guys were just standing up there, kind of looking bored, no presents, no fun, no extra lights. Red carpet, but dull and boring beige backdrop for pictures. We had nametags on and Gianluca was calling out everyone’s name, kind of announcing us – that was nice.
I was next. “Jana!” “Gianluca!” I exclaimed. I excitedly walked up to them, clutching my book and bear. I asked Gian and Piero to sign my book and Igna to sign my bear. After they signed my items, I brought them all close to me and told them all that I saw them in both the Florence and Verona concerts. They seemed mildly amused that I had attended both concerts. I told Gian we went to Montepagano and how much we loved it. I told Piero how perfect he always was and he grinned broadly. I told Igna how awesome his note was in Per Te Ci Saro in Verona and he loved that as well. I then gave them all a hug and was time for the pictures.
Snap! Poof Scree-eech wait, rewind….!!
Sadly, that was how I wished it had gone!
Here is what really happened… I may have to turn in my official membership card (and I have one lol!) after I ashamedly admit the true story….
Some of it was true…. I was excited to walk up there, a bit nervous, but not too bad. I had already seen them up close and personal 3 or 4 times already this year! I handed Gian and Piero my book and asked them to sign it, then turned to Igna and asked him if he would sign my bear. He did seem to grin a bit at the picture, but signed it no questions asked… I did tell Igna that I had gone to Italy and was at both the Florence and Verona concerts. I think he said, “yeah?” At least I think he looked at me with questioning eyes? Then I had to tell him that I had to go 4,400 miles to hear them sing Per Te Ci Saro and that I/we were very sad they didn’t sing it in the United States. I felt so bad, I really did, because of his reaction – “yes,” he said, “we, know…” Then, I just turned around and said, ok, now what, and they said “look here” and took our picture. I then put my arm around Igna’s waist and said to him that Alessandra was beautiful and I hoped they were happy together. He said thank you with a little smile. I wanted him to feel a little better after I made him sad… I started to walk away and realized that I was missing the cap from my pen, so turned around and Piero had it. I took the cap, looked into beautiful eyes and said “grazie!” I then went down the red carpet to gather my bag… Marie put my picture that Chris took up on the site, so you can see that. (the other professional pictures have not been posted yet)
Yes, that was it – no hugs – at all, unless you count my arm around Ignazio! I hang my Flight Crew head in shame! Others were more successful than I – getting hugs and selfies, even, with Gianluca! Well, I guess I have to keep doing this until I get it right! Next time, I’m going to write everything down so I don’t forget it.
I WANT A DO-OVER!!!
Then it was back in the dining area for some dessert and coffee and the raffle prize giveaway. We also sang Happy Birthday to Mary to celebrate her 87th birthday! Some lucky lady won a HUGE signed poster of the guys. That same gracious lady, gave it to Mary, for her birthday! Mary was tickled – but how was she going to get it home to Minnesota!? I heard today she had it shipped UPS.
It was really roasting in there and suddenly the air seemed to kick in, I felt a cooler breeze every so often. Finally, 9:30p and the show was already starting. They gave us a lecture, yet again, on cameras, videoing (we could not), when we could take pictures, etc. That was a bummer! Ok, we got to go into the studio. The guys were sitting behind the desk, all prim and proper. They really HAD matured since last year. But they were also pretty tired. I knew, first hand, how exhausted they must feel, as Lorna and I were on the exact same flight they were from Rome to Detroit. I remember, about the 2nd day home, it really hit me about 8 or 9p and I wanted to just collapse. They all had coffee in front of them! Everyone always says, “oh, they are young…” but when jet lag hits, you can’t help it! Another lecture on when you could take pictures – only when he said we could, so many of the pictures you see are almost identical, except for the possible angle. Or for those that snuck pictures, somehow, when security wasn’t looking! I see there were a few of those pictures out on Facebook… I may have snuck a few also, but my new camera made a lot of noise and they threatened (and already did) take someone’s camera away if they took pictures when they weren’t supposed to! I wasn’t taking any chances. There were only about 3 or 4 times we could take pictures during the whole 1.5 hours of taping. Very disappointing. And to top it off, the guys did not MOVE from their chairs behind that desk until the very end. I was so looking forward to that this year, since Chris and I were stuck on the phones last year.
They had a different gal this year doing the interviewing – oh good, we thought. Maybe she won’t screw up their names! What were we thinking? Agggghhh! She introduces Il Volo – “here we are with GianlucO, Piero, and Ig – naz – io!” Ugh, you should have heard the audience groan! I’m still surprised you did not hear it on the taping! She screwed up their names a few more times, we kept trying to tell those in charge to stop butchering their names. At one point, one of the security persons asked the audience, how many think she is messing up their names? Just about everyone raised their hands – I’m thinking now, those on the end didn’t because maybe they didn’t hear him? I raised BOTH my hands!! Finally, please, someone tell her!! Shortly after that, they started doing these promos for different cities. They went into their old routine of “I’m Gianluca, I’m Piero, and I’m Ignazio, and we are Il Volo!” Ah, finally, after about 10 times of doing this, we figured she’d get it right!? Like, why didn’t they do that in the first place?? Well, after that, I think she was too afraid to say any of their names, but did, finally, get Gianluca’s name right! I think she even screwed up Piero, but I’m not sure how. Such an embarrassment for PBS. I think the guys thought it was funny. Once or twice, even Ignazio said “GianlucO” with great emphasis on the “O” part. Lol! Good ol’ Igna – I hope she got the hint!
Ok, they did a few retakes and a few more promos. Finally, they were coming out from behind the barrier of the desk and coming toward us. Gianluca made a few donors happy, as I saw him with the headphones on. Ignazio must have really wanted to get out of there and he was coming down first. Ok, maybe I can get my membership card reinstated here, maybe…. I was being bold, not my usual style, and stood out in the aisleway, waiting for him to get near me. I called out to him and then he stood still, and took my hand and shook it. Ok, no hug, but his soft, cool hands, were nice. He held his one hand over mine, as I shook his other one. So sweet. I told him, “if you see t-shirts, they are from me…” Ok, he said, and he walked away, out the door… Then Gianluca finally got near. Lorna had her moment cut short, so security promised her a few extra minutes with the guys. Gianluca came by and he purposely stopped him so she could take a picture with him. We finally convinced her to stand up, and she did. I tried to get his attention afterward, but it was a no go. Sadly, I was not able to tell him we went to Montepagano. And he walked out. Ok, Piero was last and the ladies up front were keeping him close. He was finally walking toward me and I took my big chance…I reached out to him and the guard was just about to push me away when he heard me say “I’ve never had a hug from Piero!” Ah, my saving grace, he backed off and I got a small hug from the deep, tenor, himself. Even though it lasted just a few seconds, he was sweet. He kept walking down the aisle, getting hugs from all the ladies on the ends. And then, they were gone! That was it, that was our “mingling with the audience” we were promised, by PBS!
Needless to say, we were quite disappointed. They really sat up there like bumps on a log, pretty much the entire night. No cutting up like last year. Maybe Barbara had warned them this time? Every so often the guys were really watching their performance. I opted to sit in the back row so I could stand up and take pictures without bothering anyone and of course, everyone else stood up in front of me! I got a few shots, but nothing great. Others were able to take better pictures that I’ve seen on FaceBook. I think the coffee may have finally taken effect near the end of the program and once in a while, Ignazio would sing a little phrase here and there from Mamma, or some other song. I’m sure it was just to stay awake! Like, that’s how boring it was!
One cute little tidbit… a few days before the show, a select few were emailed and asked to give some questions to ask the guys. Wow, ok, that was cool. Chris was one of the select few and she forwarded the email to me. I submitted 5 questions. They said there was no guarantee they would use them. Well, lo and behold, they actually used 2 of my questions! One, directly aimed at Gianluca… ”Being the only baritone of the group, how was it different, or was it any different to prepare for the concert for the 3 Tenors?” Well, I was tickled when I heard that – didn’t realize it until I was watching it the next night, as we couldn’t hear a thing in the audience. He gave a really strange answer and did not even really answer it. He said he sang this song by so-and-so and he was a tenor (I guess?), so in literally so many words, I guess he said he didn’t really have to prepare any differently? The other question I asked was, “if you could tell the fans anything, what would you tell them?” That was even the more oddest answer (I know that’s not good English, but Gianluca’s answer was bizarre!) Something about wanting to bring opera to young people? I really have to go watch it again.
I was happy to hear Ignazio say he was interested in studying more opera – him being such the “pop” guy and all? And, I’m saving the best for last, this was not on the program….THEY ARE COMING BACK! In MARCH, to Detroit!
Yes, this hand will reach for her credit card, once again! Do you think I can get it right next time? Let’s wait and see!
A PRESTO, IL VOLO! Ciao!
p.s. Those that are wondering about a CD/DVD from the Florence concert, we were being told, as volunteers, that the DVD, at least, is still in production and not to expect it for 8 – 10 weeks! I know they say the CD is to be released on September 30, so hopefully we will get that sooner, if you ordered it separately from Amazon. I am enclosing the link to PBS if anyone is interested in ordering it from there. It is $108 for just the DVD. https://secure2.convio.net/dptv/site/Ecommerce/1095874037?store_id=2681