This year, we didn’t have to wait quite as long as last time. November 29th could not come quick enough though, as soon as we knew when the pre-sale tickets were going on sale. We were all waiting with fingers and credit cards ready at 10:00am EST to get our hands on the best seats we could. Ten AM hit and we were off. Our fingers flying like a tornado, tearing through all the codes, and commands, and “I’m not a robot” games! Then it was sticker shock for Detroit! $450 each! Ok, you only live once and it was front row. So, trying not to think about the price, we took a quick breath of recovery, and painfully punched in our credit card numbers! There, it was done. Our tax returns were coming soon, right?
Ok, fast forward – after many months of careful planning, the Detroit Il Volo Girls, were joined by a few out-of-towners for a fantastically planned evening. Most of us met at my place in Dearborn and were whisked off by our contracted driver in a Ford Transit to the original “Antonio’s” called Roman Village in South Dearborn. We had 3:30p reservations, as we did not know what kind of traffic we’d run into. We had a lovely meal and left about 5:30p. Due to the construction on I-75, there was a lot of traffic going south, so we just stayed on the side roads and got there in plenty of time; arriving approximately 5:45p. Thankfully, the box office was open, so we got our tickets from will call. We still had to wait a little bit for them to open the doors. I was anxiously waiting for the arrival of Marie and Leelee. As I was looking out the door, I saw them get out of the taxi! It was so good to see them – I had their front row tickets waiting for them. As soon as they got in the door, they were letting us in the lobby. We went through security, then quickly bought our souvenir t-shirt and little furry bag. Awaiting us in our VIP bag were the Il Volo wintergreen mints, another long, fuzzy, black bag with Il Volo on it, and a deck of cards with their picture on the box, and of course, our signed VIP badge for the night.
We were escorted to our seats. I sat on the end in the front row, with a direct view of where Gianluca would be standing. They were only about 5 feet or so from the stage. Our seats were so close, we could touch the stage. We mingled with the others and met up with old friends; making some new friends along the way. It was so great to see so many people you knew and remembered and who remembered you! Before you knew it, it was 7:30p and time to begin. They started pretty much on time.
The lights went down on the theatre, and they went up on the stage, a deep blue light created a reminiscent backdrop of the evening sky in Florence. The smoke machine started to create a subtle breeze in the air. A quiet hush fell over the audience as the orchestra members strolled out onto the stage. The crowd clapped politely. Then the maestro, Joseph Modica, came out; again, the crowed clapped. The lights changed from red, to blue, to purple, to teal, and back again, all night. Very similar to the Florence concert, actually. Joseph raised his hands and the first notes of the violins could be heard resounding over the crowd. That song, that most of us had only heard on the CD or TV, was now playing live, right in front of us. The sing-songy violins spoke and the cellos and bass answered back to them. Soon, it was over. The audience cheered and clapped, knowing that what they were really waiting for was about to appear before our eyes. Seconds later, the notte magica truly began. The guys, dressed elegantly in their velveteen jackets, strolled out onto the stage, amidst what would be the first of many standing ovations that night.
Ah, it began…. Gianluca with his first note of Nessun Dorman…..his velvet voice caressing our ears and his gorgeous eyes, penetrating our very souls. After their first song, everyone in the first 5 rows stood up and gave them glorious cheers, whoops, and applause! Then came Granada. Ignazio stood with a devilish grin on his face, with his hands tightly clasped behind his back, just waiting, as Piero held that now famous long note. The crowd cheered, and then Ignazio began his part.
Soon, it was time for their solos. Ignazio was first with Una Furtiva Lacrima…. To see him sing that with such passion, power, and anguish, was truly an incredible experience. He has such a soft voice when you talk to him. You would never believe something so powerful could escape those lips. Standing ovations from all! More whoops, and cheers! Especially from the first 2 rows!
Then came La Danza, with Gianluca. Again, flawlessly executed. How he gets all those notes in there is pure magic, that is for sure! Another standing “O!” Then it was Piero with No Puede Ser, I believe. I have to say, that is one my favorites by him. Piero does seem to always be the crowd favorite with thunderous applause and cheers. Still, Ignazio is my favorite!
I was fearful that the concert would be a little on the stiff and boring side, but I was pleasantly surprised, as the guys were joking and laughing in between each song, and fooling around as much as they dared; standing in relatively one spot all night. They did take a few breaks and let the orchestra play. What was also nice was that they would come out to center stage to take a few bows after their songs, so everyone was able to see them. Of course, those of us on the left or right side of the stage, could still not see them well to get any good pictures. However, I was able to get some good shots from my vantage point, although many were close to just profile views.
I loved their one little joke about Piero and Ignazio calling their siblings, or in Ignazio’s case, his dog; the others’ names! Piero admitted to sometimes calling his brother and sister Igna or Gian. But then he said it was worse that Igna called his dog, Franz, by THEIR names – Piero, or Gian. Ignazio said, with his cute accent, “it happens….” And I can see how it can, for I called my own cat by my other cat’s name! Comes out Kam-ari (for Kamina and Mari). Lol!
When it came to O Sole Mio, Gianluca did a little intro saying that many artists recorded this song and the different versions. He mentioned liking the Elvis version and Ignazio says “ELvis!” in his deep voice, and does a little hip movement. (of course being polite here, but it was pretty slight…) Yep, can’t get away from that one!
As mentioned in previous reviews, they did Grande Amore and the awesome new Ave Maria, which Gianluca says was written for them and they want to sing to the Pope one day. It was hauntingly beautiful and amazing to hear them sing it in person, since that was not part of the Florence concert.
Our group and the first several rows stood and clapped after every song. All too soon, the notte magica quickly came to an end. In their reprise of Nessun Dorma, the whole theatre was on its feet, with cheers and more thunderous applause! They did not take a break, and it ended just about 9:30pm.
MEET AND GREET
Yes, one part of the magical night was over, but we were still anticipating the real finale of the evening where we could touch these angelic creatures with these heavenly voices! Unlike last year, things moved pretty quickly. It was a little confusing at first, but they directed us to the elevator to the 2nd floor. Good, much better than last year. We ended up on the 2nd floor, near the mezzanine area, I believe. It was a nice area and much bigger and better than last year. It was very pretty and a nice open area, overlooking the downstairs lobby. When we got up there, we saw where the guys would be. Shortly, the OMGVIP guy came out and gave us the usual “lecture” but he was very nice and told us how things were going to go. They were very organized and had tables so we could set our belongings on them. Everything was pretty orderly. We waited maybe a little over half an hour. Shortly after 10p or so, out came the guys through the velvet curtains. Before it began, there were like two groups – one to the side and one to the front of where the guys would be. The OMGVIP guy actually said – just come on up here and you guys decide who wants to go next! Wow, that was cool! No pushing, no shoving, etc. There were also nice chairs scattered around the perimeter if you wanted to sit down. Like a total 360 from last year’s cattle call! So, by the time the guys came out, everyone was relaxed. Barbara and Alessandra came out first and we were able to chat with them if we wanted to. Leonora came out also, but then hid back in the wings – I guess she didn’t want to join us that night. Gaetano was on the sidelines as well. It really is nice they all have a family member present. I guess Ignazio figured all he needed was Alessandra on this trip. Vito and Caterina stayed home this tour.
Some of you knew I made these scarves for the mothers, Nina, and Barbara. Marie graciously took Caterina’s and Eleonora’s, along with the one for Nina, to them when she visited Sicily. But I still had Leonora’s and Barbara’s left. So, I was able to give the remaining scarves to Barbara and she said she would give the other to Leonora. When I gave the package to Barbara, she saw the crystal wing and her eyes got real big! I gave her the black one. So, I think she liked it, even though she didn’t open it right away. I really should have had her open it, but I didn’t. I also gave each of them a card that had a picture from my Italy trip that I had made on Shutterfly, with a note inside. I did see Barbara open the card and could tell she was reading the note. But, the deed was finally done and they were out of my hands. I got back in line and awaited my turn.
Soon, I was next. I had it all planned out. I was going to say each of their names and give them all a big hug, and I had practiced in my head what I was going to say to each one of them! So, here is how it went….
They were in their “almost” usual spots… Gianluca was on the left, Piero in the middle and Ignazio on the right. I went up to Gian and said “Gianluca!” and gave him a big hug. I told him I was in Montepagano last summer and it was beautiful. Next was “Piero!” I told him “sempre perfetto!” Got a smile out of him. “Ignazio!” I hugged him and whispered again that he was always my favorite. I got his “aww….” again in his sweetest little voice. I also handed him the package of M&Ms we had left over from celebrating his birthday last year and told him we celebrated all of their birthdays. Then, again, it was all too soon that I felt that familiar tap on the shoulder to turn around and take the picture. I quickly felt a lot of movement beside me and realized Gian was pushing his way in between me and Piero. Odd?
Wait….no, YES, it really DID happen that way this time!!! I guess the 6th time is the charm? I was not nervous at all, it was like they were old friends I had not seen in at least 7 months or so? Lol! I met each of them with open arms and hugs.
Then it was time to go home. I think, for the first time, I was actually very pleased and happy with myself on how things turned out. I also said “ciao” to Alessandra and said to her, “I’m sure everyone tells you, you are the luckiest girl in the world.” And she said, “yes…” She is a beautiful girl, even with her glasses on!
Next is Chicago!
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