Notte Magica – Chicago, March 18, 2017

My Chicago Story…

chicago jpg

I know several have commented that they are awaiting my personal Chicago review – I’m so flattered! So, here goes…

Part II of my Detroit Notte Magica adventure continues on Friday, March 17. A few of our group, Chris, Lorna, Betty, and I, booked the train from Dearborn to Chicago. Although through a few mishaps in the morning, we made it to the train station on time about 11am. At first the train was on time, then it was delayed a few times, but we finally left just about 12:00pm. I waved to my friends at Ford as the train headed west for Chicago!

It seemed a long train ride, just about 4 hours 45 minutes. It was also a bit chilly and rocky. When trying to get to the food car, it reminded me of our water taxi in Venice. Luckily, I didn’t have to engage my sea legs for long! We were actually about 5 – 10 minutes early, as we just passed through a few cities with no drop-offs or pick-ups. The one picture you see above is Kalamazoo station. It’s about mid-way between Chicago and Dearborn.

We arrived and called Uber and were at our hotel shortly after 4p. We checked in at our hotel and after we fixed a slight mix-up in our rooms, we headed off for dinner. We were going to do Navy Pier, but decided it was too cold. It was a chilly 40 or so degrees and little sun. The hotel pizzarecommended Giordano’s for authentic Chicago deep dish pizza. The restaurant was about 3 – 4 blocks away, so we braved the wind and walked. It felt good to walk after being cooped up on that train for nearly 5 hours!

After we settled on our table, we all ordered pizza, a salad, and shared some fried mozzarella. They told us the wait for the pizza was 45 minutes, it was also stated in the menu. Chris and I shared a deep dish, while Lorna got an individual, and Betty got a thin crust. I love a lot of sauce on my pizza, so I was in pizza heaven! The salad was also awesome with this lemon vinaigrette dressing. To celebrate, I ordered a split of prosecco. Everything was delicious, but we couldn’t hold another bite, so we skipped dessert for the moment…

Lorna was tired, so she went back to the room. The three of us thought for sure the guys might be staying at the Hyatt Place, on the next corner from our hotel, based on the picture Leonora posted. It was about 8p or so by then, so we walked on over to the Hyatt. We could see from the window they had a nice lobby with bar area and desserts! Our tummies had made a littlehy dess more room by then, so we each had a drink and some dessert. I had a piece of turtle cheesecake, one of my favorite things, and a mock version of a chocolate martini, which was very good. The bar was limited in its liquors and did not have amaretto or Kahlua! We took a seat in hopes of a glimpse of the boys. However, by 11p or so, we were pretty sure they were not there, or at least we did not see them. Of course, later, we find they were at a bowling alley! Now, why didn’t we think of that?

It was the evening of St. Patrick’s day, however, the part of the city we were in was completely dead! We were in the financial/theatre district, but there were no bars, no parties, etc. We expected lots of people roaming the streets, but maybe they were all at Navy Pier? So, we strolled back to our hotel. We think it was getting warmer and after checking my phone, it was now nearly 47 degrees!

The next morning we met up with Pat Ward and her friends. Coincidentally, we were staying at the same hotel, La Quinta. We all enjoyed the complimentary breakfast at the hotel and were excited that we were going to the show that evening. Since we were there, we got first dibs on her nice bracelets she had made up for the crew members!

We went our separate ways and made plans to be sure to meet at the concert.

I had planned for us to visit the art museum for the day and catch lunch somewhere. We Ubered to the art museum and were dropped off right at the front. I bought the special passes and tickets, so we breezed on through ahead of everyone at 10:35a. We walked and walked and saw some beautiful art. They actually encouraged you to take pictures, unless it was posted you could not. So we took pictures of some of our favorites. By about 12p, we were getting hungry and thirsty, so we found the little café and had some sodas and snacks. We’d decided we’d seen as much as we could, so went in search of the museum shop. I love to shop and this was my only opportunity! I bought a few things and satisfied my spending habit! Ok, time to head back to the hotel.

We got back and had enough time to quickly freshen up before we had to get to dinner. I had made reservations at the Italian Village, recommended by Ann Cruise. It is the oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago. There are actually 3 restaurants in one, and due to our tight schedule, Iit vill chose The Village restaurant. We had reservations for 4p. Three of us cakeordered on the “prix-theatre” menu, which was awesome. For dessert we had this Italian rum cake, which was more like a lemon crème torte. It just melted in your mouth! We were out of there by 5:30p and back to the hotel to really get ready.

This was it, our last show, we wanted to make it special. On with the make-up and hair. We called Uber for a 6:30p or so pick up. Show was at 8p in Chicago. We did not realize how close we were to the theatre, however our driver got turned around, so we went around the block a few times. Lots of one-way streets in Chicago! We did see the sleepy buses parked outside the theatre, so I snapped a few shots. We weren’t really sure where to go, but followed the crowd. Tickets, again, were at will-call. Chris and Lorna pushed their way through the crowds to get the tickets. Betty and I hung back and talked to a few persons in line. We were speaking to this nice guy and his wife. We met up with the other girls, and Betty said the guy’s name was, get this, “Ignazio, and he was from Sicily!” He did not look much like our Ignazio, but did have dark hair and eyes.

The lobby was very crowded and we made our way to the VIP area. We got our stuff, and went in search of our seats. Since I screwed up on the tickets, I made sure Lorna and Chris had the front row seats. Betty and I were right behind them. They were dead center and just perfect. We were quickly disappointed when security came around and said we could not take pictures. We went back to the lobby for a group picture.

The boys were quite a bit farther back from the edge of the stage than they were in Detroit, but certainly still close enough for us to see their faces. I cannot add too much to the beautiful account by Pat, but there are a few things….one is that the audience seemed a bit more rude. Lots of shouts of interruptions of “we love you….” and “we love you Piero…” At one point, you can tell Ignazio was getting annoyed and he mimics the girls in a high voice to Piero and says “we love you Piero!” Then they got serious and sang. One thing I didn’t remember at the Fox, was that the conductor actually went and got them each time it was time for them to sing after the orchestra was finished. It was also nice that they came out after most songs to center stage to bow and Lorna was even able to shake hands with Piero! They were that close!

Since we could not take pictures, it really made you try to concentrate on their performance. I will recount Ignazio’s solo of Una Furtiva…. Ignazio walked out to thunderous applause. He began to sing. The stage lighting was this beautiful teal on the background curtain with this magenta purple shining on the draped curtains at the front. At times, the teal changed to a deeper blue. His eyes were closed, and then open. His eyebrows rising and falling with the emotion in the song. His hands, gently out in front of him, rose with power, as if holding the world in his hands at the climax of the song. As always, his voice, was loud and powerful, lifting you from your seat with each gorgeous note. His chest rose and fell, with his hands. At the end, the anguish on his face was felt and you could almost see the tear in his eye. Again, all too soon, it was over. The crowd, immediately on its feet. I, and the first 5 or 6 rows stood after every song. However, I looked behind me several times, and just a smattering of others were standing when we were. At their reprise of Nessun Dorma everyone was on their feet. Comically, myself included, we forgot they sing the mighty “ending” chorus in O Sole Mio twice, so they got TWO standing ovations for that song! After about 4 songs, Ignazio also commented that this was the best orchestra they’d had so far. After they sung Grande Amore, I had to agree, as the orchestra finally kept up with them.

For the first time, in a concert I had attended, they took a 20 minute break, so the concert was not over until 10:30pm.

Ok, on to the Meet/Greet!

Again, they were quick to direct us to the 2nd floor. We could not quite understand what room it was, but we just followed the crowd. Figured we had lots of time, so took a quick stop in the bathroom, which was luckily, right across from the meet/greet area. They checked our credentials (good they are doing that this time) and we were instructed to go into the room and wait. I must say, it was a most beautiful room. Kind of antique in its décor with rose-colored couches and chairs and other antique looking furniture. We mingled a bit and it was announced that the PBS ticket holders were to go first. Ok by us, as we wanted to watch everyone anyway. Again, I thought the OMG personnel were very nice. Of course security was there, herding us along, but you could certainly tell a difference from the ones I was at last year. Atlhough, Vegas was pretty casual… Chris, Betty, and I decided to hang out this time a bit, so we found a seat right across from the mg area and we watched most people go by. Lorna decided she wanted to get in line, so she left us. Finally about 11:30p or so, the guard made all of the rest of us stragglers get in line. We weren’t quite at the end and there were probably about 20 persons behind us.

Lorna was all done and waiting on the couch, next to Gaetano and we were awaiting our turn. It was my turn and I was, let’s say, tickled pink, that each of them held out their arms for a hug this time – no coaching needed! Gian always says they hope to sing the Ave Maria for the Pope. I told him to just send him a ticket! Lol! For Emilia, I asked Piero if he liked her pastries, and he said, “Yes!” When I got to Ignazio, I looked up at him, and then down at his sweater for some reason. I put my finger on his chest and told him he was incredible. Not sure what he said, I think he said thank you. Then, as we were turning for our picture, I told him that the next time he makes chicken Marsala, to put cocoa in the flour mixture. He said, “Ok, I will!” Then it was snap, snap, snap, and we were done.

We did not know this til afterward, but Lorna was in a slight daze. Ignazio remembered her from the Detroit meet/greet and told her what she was wearing! I don’t think she heard anything after that and started to walk away. The photographer had to call her back and ask if she wanted her picture taken! Later, Chris said she asked if they remembered us, and they said they did because we were in a group. Yea! They finally remembered us – of course, not by name and I’m sure they do remember a lot of our faces, but that made our evening!

So, what will Atlanta hold for Lorna and I? You will have to wait a few weeks to find out! Atlanta, here we come!  (I have one extra ticket for sale, if anyone is interested, Orch  row H, seat 1, right side)

32 thoughts on “Notte Magica – Chicago, March 18, 2017”

  1. What a lovely read.😊really can’t wait for may.I just wish the guys did a m&g in italy 😕. Reading this has made my glad you all had a fantastic time.xx

    1. Oh, Wendy, but they ARE doing meet greets in Italy!

      They are pricey, like here. 250 euros. But you just need to go to the omgvip site and click in il volo. Then click on the European area and their tour dates and meet greet upgrades come up!

      If you can’t find it, let me know.

      1. I found your site by accident. It has been the highlight of my day. We went to the Minneapolis concert Monday March 20 and have been avid fans since the first time we saw them on American Idol and the PBS show. I am handicapped and bedridden so couldn’t go to many concerts. They had a handicapped area for me and my service dog in Minneapolis. My little Phoebe sat in my lap and watched them for the whole concert. There were so many handicap people in this audience and we figured that was why there were not a lot of standing ovations. The woman in front of me was a ballerina and had MS. We chatted a lot and every time she turned around, we were both crying hearing songs from our favorite operas. By Tuesday night, my husband and I had decided to go to Rome to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We will be at the concert May 12. We are so excited and got pretty good seats. I don’t know how we will get me to my seat and we will do it. My wheelchair folds like luggage so we can put it against the wall. We will be bringing my service dog. She detects seizures before they happen and is a necessity. We watch a concerts on YouTube every day and are in love with their great voices. We are so excited to know people from this site will be at the Rome concert too. I hope we can afford the meet and greet tickets. We will try. I love all your comments and your site is so entertaining for me. I thank whomever set this site up. It was a gift that I found you. We are adventurous people, organized and already have all the paperwork ready for our trip. We will be in one of the front sections – it was the best we could do and would love to meet some AMERICAN fans. I will figure out how to print out a tag from this site. Thank so much for your generosity in sharing your experiences at your concerts.
        Dr. Jay and Victoria Wilson

      2. Dr. Jay and Victoria Wilson-First of all, Congratulations on your upcoming anniversary. And then congratulations on finding the Flight Crew. Welcome to our world of Il Volo 😊

      3. How kind of you to respond. Thank you so much. My husband has a timer counting down the days until the concert. We have never heard such voices and we’re thrilled to justify planning a trip to Italy for our anniversary. My dog watches them like they are singing to her. I forgot my password for this site and cannot figure out how to fix it. I hope someone will help me. I have 2 pictures from the Minneapolis concert and do not know how to post them. It was the most amazing night of my life and we have been to so many famous concerts. Nothing can compare to Il Volo. We are mesmerized. We return for the Neil Diamond Anniversay Concert and all I can hear is Il Volo in my head. I hope I will see someone from the USA in Rome. Thank you agin for your gracious response. The Wilsons.

      4. To the Wilsons: What a beautiful and touching story! We are so glad you decided to comment today. We always welcome new persons to our site. Your story brought me to tears. FYI… Italy LOVES animals, especially dogs. Have you been there before? There are countless people on this site that will be more than thrilled to help guide you on your journey to Italy, as well as your Il Volo journey. I believe this site is proof that you are never too old to find a new love, or a new passion, to keep you young at heart.

        Marie is one of the founders of this blog site. I forwarded your first post to her and told her “you HAVE to read this!” She is taking a little time away right now, but she did read it (because I called her and told her she had to! lol) and she agreed – reading your comments is what makes this site worth all the time and energy it really takes to keep it together!

        As for your password, I think there is an option for a password reset. I know, I always forgot it too, and just gave up and used my “old standard one” 🙂 You can also sign in using your facebook account, if you have one? Be sure to check the little box, so you get all of the comments from this post!

        Yes, there will be quite a few folks going to the various Italy concerts. Marie posts a “who’s going where” but has not started it yet for Europe/Italy. However, I do know of several that are going to the Rome concert. I posted the meet/greet upgrade link below.

        I would love to post your pictures. if you can, please send them to our special email we created:

        By the way, the boys will love you at their meet/greet!! And your dog. What kind is she?

        Jane (Mary Ceminsky), who commented on this post, went to Italy last year with Marie and is also from Minnesota and was at the MN concert! I was also in Italy last summer and saw them in Florence at their inaugural concert of this tour and in Verona. They were both incredible, as you can imagine! Not sure where you are in MN, but I’m sure she and the other Fab MN 3 would be thrilled to meet up with you. When you send your pictures to the gmail account, I can forward your email to them if you’d like?

        Please come back and comment often! This site is a true labor of love and love for Il Volo. Thank you so much for your kind words!

        Many congratulations and wishes on 50 years of marriage!


      5. To the Wilsons: Marie did post the folks going to the European concert. It is located on the right side, under TOPICS, click on ‘Who’s Going Where’. If you scroll down you will see the European attendees that we have to date. I’m sure Marie will be adding your name to the list.

        Loved your story. Can’t wait to hear about your adventure! Welcome to the Flight Crew!

      6. Thank you all for the information on the meet and greet. My husband brought in my breakfast – laughing -and said “I see we’re going to the meet and greet.” I found the site at 2:00 am and got the tickets. He found them on his printer this this morning. I decided we’d have to find cheaper hotels because I wasn’t going all the way to Rome to hear them when I had the opportunity to meet them in person. There is so much to do and I’m looking for a GPS collar for Phoebe. I’m so excited now and there is so much work to do bringing a wheelchair. Phone is a great traveler. I’m more work than she is. I’m so glad to see so many people as excited as we are about hearing these gifted singers. We are looking forward to finding some of you in Rome. It’s going to be even more wonderful now that I found your site and so many helpful and sweet people. Our trip has just turned into such a grand adventure. I can hardly believe it.

      7. To Dr. Jay and Victoria Wilson: Congratulations on your upcoming 50th Anniversary! I am so glad you found the Flight Crew site. Welcome! We are all crazy about “the boys” here! It’s nice to hear you say that no one compares to the voices of IL VOLO because I feel the same way. It’s funny, but more often than not, I wake up each morning with one of their songs playing in my head! I’m sure you’ll enjoy all the wonderful posts here. There are a lot of great folks who maintain this site, post articles & photos and perform a lot of behind the scenes work. I discovered IL VOLO last summer and went to my first concert on March 18th in Chicago. I met some of the Flight Crew members and had a lot of fun! I can’t wait to do it again!

    1. I know, I feel so bad!! I’ll have to get to Chicago again! Where did you guys end up eating, the Greek place?

  2. Great story, Jana! So glad Italy is going to get the M&G experiences now. Daniela…are you going to be at the front of the line???

  3. Sounds wonderful! So happy for all of you. And to think they remembered you has to be a great feeling. It is amazing that Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca can remember so many fans considering how many shows they do and people they meet here and all over the world. God bless them.

  4. Believe it or not, there was one thing I forgot to add that was fairly important! As I got nearer the greeting line, I was able to detour over to Barbara. She was sitting next to Leonora and Alessandra, as mentioned. I did ask her if she liked the scarf. She said, “Absolutely!” in her little voice. I then asked her if Leonora liked hers as well. She turned to Leonora and spoke in Italian, saying I was the one who made the scarf and if she liked it. Of course, Leonora does not speak English, so she looked up at me and smiled and nodded. Of course, they really wouldn’t say no, if they didn’t like them! 🙂 However, they COULD have worn them, since I told Barbara I’d see her in Chicago, but oh well… they were both all dressed in black.

    1. Dr. Jay and Victoria Wilson,
      What an inspiring story! If you can make it to Italy, then I know I can. There are a lot of people in this world that have health problems, but for whatever reason they think that they would never be able to travel because of those problem. But you give people hope. Now, when you go to the meet and greet, Ignazio is going to pay so much attention to your dog, that you will fall in love with him immediately.
      He owns dog’s and horses.
      The people on this site are a wonderful group. We do act a little crazy at times, but it’s all in good fun.

  5. I was at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, as well. It was the wonderful evening I was hoping for. However, I too felt like I was “carrying” my section in terms of enthusiasm (left main floor), standing after each song, two hands up with the “love you” sign,and when I thought they were looking at me, I smiled back and mouthed “wow”, etc, etc, but I remembered reading on this site about the importance to the guys about eye contact and showing them you enjoy their work, and I’m glad I did. I know they are seasoned performers, but I still see them as kids, albeit with wonderful work ethic and stage presence, and a sense of who they are and the responsibility their work demands. I don’t normally “bother” going to downtown Chicago to do anything, but looking forward to their return so I can do it all again.

    1. Sandra – so funny you say that about Chicago – I say the same thing about Detroit!! Maybe we should make signs or something that says “standing ovation here!” If we can’t stand up? 🙂

  6. Forgot to comment regarding Chicago March 18 show….an usher told me that the show was originally to end at 9:30pm, but then they were told the intermission was added.

    1. interesting – I wonder if it has to do with a union or something? sometimes they break and sometimes they don’t?

  7. Hello Jana, what a beautiful story, I had to go back to find it, I had not seen.
    You know, I read several comments that people complain because there were too many standing ovations and people who can not get higher and have blurred vision from this thing and maybe that is why we are limiting standing ovation.
    Of course you are a beautiful group and turn a lot to see the concerts of IL VOLO, very respectable.

    1. I stand for ovation but only after they have finished the song and only for a very short time. I don’t like it when the audience yells to them because this is a more formal setting and it interrupts them.

      1. yes, it is so rude – guess people just want to be noticed, for the wrong reason.

    2. Grazie mille! I don’t think people really stand during the song, usually just after the song. But many are probably right, that many can’t physically stand up after every song. I actually feel like a little jumping bean – up and down and up and down! But just think of the little bit of exercise we are getting! See, Il Volo is good for our health!

  8. Dr,Jay and Victoria Wilson, that beautiful story, even very moving. In this site you will find many friends who share your love for flying.
    I’m so glad for your anniversary, and what a beautiful journey awaits you here in Italy, because I’m Italian, I write from Brescia, in northern Italy, I will be at the concert in Verona, but I know that many of you will be here in Rome.
    I hope be commenting here often.
    A hug from Italy

  9. Reading your Chicago Story allowed me to relive the entire weekend. Starting with the departure from Dearborn, arrival in Chicago, dinners, sightseeing, the highlight of trip—the concert and the slightly delayed arrival home. Great job as usual.

    1. My dear amica Chris! Grazie mille for commenting this early morning! Come back often! Yes, Chicago was fun, only wish you could join us in Atlanta! You know what’s funny, I forgot to add my extra food pictures and pictures of the restaurant! Maybe I can edit and add them? Learning all kinds of things on this site now!

  10. Dr. Jay and Victoria I’m so glad you found the Flight Crew!!!!!! We are a group of crazy people…..crazy for Il Volo !!!!!! This is an amazing group! Anytime I’m down I put on Il Volo and head to this blog. We laugh and cry together, we are one big happy family. Welcome to the group and congratulations on your 50th anniversary! I hope your time in Rome is overflowing with happy memories.

    1. We finished all the reservations and endless trip arrangements. We are counting every day and love your site. Our friends are house sitting and they’re so excited because they just got back from the U.K. We have those new cameras at the house so I can talk to them on my phone. I can even answer my front door from Italy. It’s a whole new world and at my age, I’m glad I kept tech saivy. I got my little dog a new service vest and she’ll look so cute. We can’t believe we’re doing this. We loved the story about Las Vegas and wish we could have been there. We opted for Rome instead. I hope we find some of you people. We will be looking for you. Thank you for this site. Victoria

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