Detroit…Late ~ Marie

File this under, “better late than never”, but here is my story of the Detroit concert.  Everyone has described the season so well that my description will be pretty much the same…from breathtaking to heart-wrenching but here goes…

Instead of going to Florida this season to stay with Leelee and on to other spots sunnier than Ohio in winter, Leelee came to me for a fun week and to drive the 5 hours to Detroit and back. We checked in to our room, went downstairs and lo and behold!!  Guess who was staying at the same hotel?  What a surprise!  The Il Volo team!  Sitting in the lobby was Alessandra (what a doll), Elenora (another doll), our three young singers and a few more members of the team.  While we really do love running into them we really don’t want to be a nuisance.  We said a brief hello to each one of them.  They were very receptive.  Gianluca immediately jumped up and grabbed both of my hands.  He’s such a sweetie.  I asked him if at the meet and greet he would sign a photo his Nonno gave to me when I was in Montepagano.  He said he would.  Just basic hello’s all around and we left.

On our way to our room after dinner we once again saw the team.  They were trying to exit the lobby.  Their exit was hindered by an overly enthusiastic fan.  Noticing their escape attempt, we exchanged nods and smiles with them from across the hall.

The next day, the day of the concert, we had dinner with Rose Marie Paliobeis and Rosemarie.

This is a lovely empty box.

It wasn’t always a lovely empty box.  It was once a lovely box filled with delicious homemade Baklava.  Thank you, Rose Marie.  I can’t remember what happened to the Baklava.

While I’m in the thanking mode Thank You Jana, my adopted daughter, for booking us the most wonderful seats in the theater (and the sweet little gift).

Before, during and after the concert I was privileged to speak with a bunch of really neat people besides Rose Marie and Rosemarie, Betty Young (bubba), Sandi Eyman, Loretta, Lisa Joy, Gary Instok, Ginny, Chris Gapski, Bradley, Sharon, Stephen, and Katrina Angelus. I know there were others, but I’m pretty proud I remembered as many as I just did.

If you purchased a meet and greet these were your gifts:

An Il Volo Tote bag, I.V. mints, An I.V. deck of cards, a soft furry black carrying bag and of course, our VIP id.

The concert…

March 16, 2017 will be a date I’ll remember.  It was the day I switched from tolerating opera to loving it! There I was, front row left.  If I was any closer I would have sat on Gianluca’s foot. (Yay, Jana!)  Those Boys were smokin’ hot!  In both voice and appearance. But…you know that. You either saw and heard it for yourself or read it many times right here.

You think you’ll remember just how good they are, but no matter how many concerts you attend, you’ll always be surprised and blown away once again.  To say that I was moved by their performance would be a great understatement!

You all know, of course, that I am the very wrong person to write this.  The wrong one to tell you how absolutely wonderful they were.  So please take what I write with a grain of salt.  I am under some kind of magic spell.  I may not know the truth.  There is no objectivity in me.  Logic tells me they cannot be what I think them to be.  No one can possibly be what I think THEM to be.  Not only because most of my bucket list desires begin with words like Il Volo, Gianluca, Ignazio or Piero, but because my dreams aren’t even as good as seeing them live and in concert!  Weeping was in order.  I made it dry-eyed all the way to “Caruso”.

The Meet & Greet…

I had the opportunity to speak with Barbara before it was my turn to approach the guys. She said they indeed received our fruit and flowers and thanked us very much.

This time I practiced.  This time I will tell Ignazio about pizza with his sister, how lovely his home town is and that I spent some time with a friend of his.  If I remember, I will also tell him about staying in the same hotel he stays in when he goes to Naro.  He was the first one I came to.  I said, “hi”.  Couldn’t think of one other thing to say.  Couldn’t think of any words at all.  If I could only have remembered my name I would have at least introduced myself.  Damn!  I just stood there staring.  He has to think I am mildly retarded.  Maybe I am.  What’s wrong with me?  What am I… a crazed teenager?  Am I going to start screaming and tearing at my hair during the next concert?   So, once again, for about the 20th time, Ignazio met me for the first time and shook my hand.   *Sigh*   I moved on to Gianluca.  Gian’s greeting almost made me feel less stupid and a little less like I wanted to just be part of the scenery.  I said, “Hello Gianluca, I’m Mar…” He interrupted me with a big smile and said, “I know who you are.”  Yay!   We talked for a minute then he signed that photo his Nonno gave me.

Yes..I know it’s beautiful!

I was still speaking with Gianluca when my friend Piero gave me a shoulder massage. While I was pulling up my sleeves in abject bliss, (looking quite smug I see), the photographer thought it was a good time to take my photo.  The massage curled my toes and my perfectly straight hair.  Here’s proof. 😉

After that I only spoke with Piero for a few moments and was shooed off by security.

Yeah, meet and greet is expensive.  If the next one costs a thousand dollars I will pay it with a smile on my face.  Because next time I’m speaking to Ignazio!  Yes I am!



98 thoughts on “Detroit…Late ~ Marie”

  1. Finally Marie, I had no doubt that the boys would have moved you, and once again you’d be amazed at how good they are, ……., and beautiful.
    The beauty of the theater and the company have had their share in your lovely evening and the seats, that is, the top (good Jana).
    Beautiful also the baskets that you did deliver them.
    Cozy meeting in the lobby that you had with them, I maybe I would have held back a little more.
    Beautiful also your photo to meet & greet and really kind Piero and Gianluca.
    But it is not possible that with Ignazio still can not squash the word ??? Damn Marie, with him you are always at the same point.
    The next time the meet & greet (I know you’ll do it even if it will cost one thousand US dollars, really crazy) begins from the other two, so you get a little more comfortable, and the words come out of your mouth.
    A kiss

  2. Marie, are we placing any bets on whether you will be able to actually speak to Ignazio? Put me down for $10.00!

  3. Good Lord I was in tears reading about almost running right into them. Yes you are like the rest of us. I still cannot believe I’m going to see them again in Rome. This time I’ll see them in person too at the Meet and Greet….but not like you. What a beautiful personal encounter. How generous of you to let them have their privacy. I have been up all night trying to figure out where our seats are in Rome. I finally got ahold of a woman at the concert hall who spoke broken English. She said the seats were the best. I hope she knew what she was talking about. After reading about your experience, I don’t care where I sit because I’ll get to see them at the Meet and Greet. I’ll be consumed all day today with how blessed you were And how kind to so openly express your feelings. Thank you so much. Victoria

    1. Do you have the map of places? Are your seats in the hall or gallery?
      If you give me some information I see to check it out

      1. Oh Daniela you are so sweet. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve read your story to my daughter and Jay and if you’re crazy – we all are. I’ve been up 2 nights and kept calling the Rome Theater and kept getting this woman who spoke little English. She said the seats were good and who knows if she understood me or not. I took a picture of the tickets and my email is If I could send the picture to you, perhaps you could find out something. Jay said he’d carry me up the stairs (I don’t weigh very much) if they’re not where we think they are -.I’d just like to know ‘where’ the seats are. Thank you for anything you can find out. It’s going to be a great 50th anniversary. We will never forget it. Bless you and thank you so much for trying. Victoria Wilson

      2. I’m glad you read my story, this blog I love so much and the whole crew is really nice and even a little crazy.
        I hope to be able to give you some clarifications about your tickets.
        If you will also come to Verona we will meet you.
        A hug

  4. I am thankful Marie remembered me – Rosemarie Ringenbach – and I am thankful I was able to tell Ignazio and Piero what I wanted to say . Gianluca beat me to the punch = he teased me about my silk musical notes blouse and ” wanting to sing it
    ” and the fact that he thought of me as : Rosa marino / a pasta ! I know I made Piero’s day with what I said – while security was shooing us on =Piero came after me and shook my hand again for the 3 rd time. I will never forget this M&G in Detroit !!!

  5. and I can never thank Rose Marie Paliobeis for thinking of asking me to be her co-pilot in driving to Detroit !

    1. It was my pleasure to have such nice company Rosemarie. We will have to do it again.

  6. Marie, I love your story especially the way you always respect their space and privacy by greeting them, but not hovering. I’m sure they appreciate that as well.
    I do so hope someday you will be able to talk to Ignazio. I know how happy that would make you! You are so right in that each time you attend a concert you are blown away over and over again. And that shoulder massage…aaahhhh!!! They should now include an option for a Meet and Greet Shoulder Massage! Sign me up! 🙂

  7. Marie I was waiting for your comments on the Detroit concert. I figured that you are a seasoned verteran at the M&G and now I don’t feel so bad that my first M&G didn’t go as I planned !! And how envious I am that you always seem to be in the right place at the right time to at least give a nod of hello to the “guys” and their families. Also that black furry carrying bag was a little bit of a mystery to me and my friend! We jokingly thought it may be a golf club cover!!😀😀

      1. That is what my daughter said! My friend gave hers to my daughter. My daughter loves Il Volo as well. Last year we attended the Cleveland concert together.

    1. so funny, I thought it was a golf club cover also when I first saw it! it doesn’t look like a wine bottle will fit in it, but I tried a few and it does! Can’t be too wide of a bottle though…. 🙂

      1. Well I am glad that I wasn’t the only one who thought this but what will my friends think the next time I bring wine to their house in this very beautiful wine cozy!!🤗

      2. wow, as they say, great minds think alike! When we were in Chicago we were thinking what to do with the wine cozy things and we also thought they would make great puppets – of the guys!! 🙂

  8. Marie, I see that your “Il Volo Lucky Star” is still following you, and Detroit has always been your lucky place. Piero seems to have an affinity for your shoulder….(remembering the tap on the treadmill) Loved your report.
    I would pay more for the Meet and Greet if a shoulder massage by Piero was included.

    1. Marie, by the way, a silent exchange can be a deeper connect than a lot of words on the surface….

  9. Thank you, yes better late than never… I enjoyed reading about your encounters with the Il Volo team… Your luck is still holding strong… You are blessed … The concert was of course the best yet and you are right being in the front row is just an amazing experience… You feel like they are singing only to you… The best thing about going to see Il Volo besides of course the concert is meeting up with other Il Volo fans… This makes the Il Volo experience complete… We have become such an Il Volo family that a concert would not be complete unless we shared it with our Il Volo family… Your Detroit experience was as expected…Absolutely wonderful…

  10. Marie, I wish I could have been there with you. I would faint if Piero massaged my shoulder. Joanie G

      1. Daniela do not ‘give Marie the keys’ to that room. We would never see her again.

      2. Jill and Gina, you two are tremendous, but maybe Gina you’re right, Marie would not come out of that room anymore.
        Of course it is a beautiful view.

      3. Ok, I want one too – maybe a little padding in it? lol! 🙂 I saw that picture today – loved it! We all need a quiet place to go and meditate…

      4. It’s beautiful Daniela! To me he looks a bit like the young Elvis in this picture.
        What do you think, ladies?

      5. Saw the picture at work this morning. Ah…. he is so incredible beautiful! Deep sigh…. 🙂 Grazie mille!

    1. Marie, it would be politically incorrect to say you are mildly retarded, or even completely retarded, so I will not say either one! 😃
      I think there is a lot of sexual tension between you and Ignatious, this is why you have’nt been able to say more than “Hi”
      He is probably also making bet’s on wheather you will be able to speak a full sentence to him next time😊

      1. No Cynthia, none of us are “retarded” but some of us may be “mentally challenged” like me, sometimes when I pay for my groceries, and then walk out of the store pushing an empty basket, and a clerk is calling me back to get my groceries!

  11. OK, I’ll say it! “No, Marie. You’re not mildly retarded.” LOL And here is why I say that. My first Meet & Greet didn’t go as I had planned either! What is it about these guys that leaves us “star struck”? I used to be shy when I was younger but you would think by age 62 I could keep my wits about me………evidently NOT! But I see I am also in good company with many others here! I did give each one of them a little silver bag with their wristbands AND in that bag I also included a personal note with their initial on front (Piero’s in red, of course) that I printed out saying everything I wish I could have said or had the time to say to them. So that made me feel really good when I went up and forgot everything except to tell them it had been my birthday on March 16th, just two days before! AND I also didn’t utter anything in Italian like I had planned except my first words to Ignazio which were, “Ciao bello!” I am determined to do better next time! YEAH RIGHT! LOL

      1. yes, I know you have talked to him before though? you even kissed him on the cheek! 11 meet/greets??!! Well, I’ve had 8 now? 🙂 That doesn’t seem possible! 6 concerts and 2 PBS….

      2. The very first time I saw him….I think it was 2012… I asked him if I could kiss his dimple. The next year …when this profile photo was taken, I told him to hold still, I was coming in for a hug. Nothing since. Not a clue why.

      3. I just wish I would have discovered these talented young men years ago. Look at all the time I’ve missed! 😉

  12. The satirical TG STRISCIA LA NOTIZIA aired an hour ago a short service where Piero ignazio and Gianluca were.
    It’s very short, it starts at 2.34pm, asking the guys how they look at football matches as they are different team fans.
    They are also asked to greet the two presenters in the studio and as these are Sicilians, Piero and Ignazio greet them in Sicilian dialect.

    1. They looked so good, Ignazio’s hair, Piero’s glasses and Gianluca’s sideburns. Wow.

    2. yes, a short video… is it me, or did Ignazio have his earring in the other ear? I know sometimes mirror shots are opposite, but can’t see how this was a mirror shot? Because his bracelet was still on his right hand. Yes, looks ilke Igna’s hair is getting long again and it was all combed back. Not sure what they call it in Italy, but in America we call that style a “DA” for, sorry for the term, but “duck’s a_ _” rhymes with “lass” 🙂

      1. The negative was reversed. Look at the words on the back-drop. What’s her name in L.A.? Soon Lee or something like that. In my opinion she always leaves his hair too long on top.

      2. Ok, guess I’ll just HAVE to watch it again… lol! 🙂 how do they do that with the camera?

  13. Marie, I am having a problem posting here so this is the 3rd try. Anyway, it was a spectacular day in Detroit, thank you and Leelee for your gracious hospitality while Rosemarie and I were waiting for our room to be ready. I’m glad you enjoyed the baklava. I had a tray for the boys but didn’t know if I would permitted to take it to the M/G as I hear security can be very strict. Darn, I should have. Last year in Tampa I found Gaetano out in front of the bus and gave him a tray full. He accepted it and took it into the bus. This year I gave something to Piero and he knew what it signified because he came after me and said that Pavarotti collected the same good luck charm, I told him that’s why I gave it to him. I spoke to Alessandra and gave her a small gift and a handrawn picture of doggie Franz that my artist granddaughter drew. She thanked me and gave me a big hug. Such a sweet and beautiful young woman. Igna is a fortunate young man. Eleonora came over to me with a big Italian hug and baci on the cheek. Gianluca must have inherited his sweetness from his mom. Even after 5 M/G’s I still get flustered trying to talk to Ignazio, wait till next time right? The two Rose Marie/Rosemaries had a blast, especially meeting our Mentor in all things Il Volo MARIE.

  14. Rose Marie P.
    How sweet of you to give Alessandra the picture of doggie Franz. I would have loved to have seen it.
    It must make her feel good to know that Ignazio’s fan’s are happy that he has found someone like her.

    1. Jill, I never thought of making a copy of it. Dang it! In Vegas I gave Igna a larger acrylic painting my granddaughter did of Franz. Didn’t copy that one either. Double dang it.!

  15. To the best adopted mom ever! You didn’t talk to Ignazio? Even I talked to him this time around. 🙂 Ok, don’t let OMG or PBS see that you would pay $1000 the next time. Or, is that your plan, to have him all to yourself? Ha, ha – not a chance… Yes, I do believe you probably had almost the best seat in the house, except for maybe the person or two to the right of you… next time, if we are together at the same meet/greet, we can go up there together and I will be sure that you talk to your boy, uh our boy. Lol! Tell him he is your favorite and hear him go “aw….” It’s so sweet! Are you sure he’s going to wait a few years to get married? I’d bet they get married in the next year, if, as some suspect, they aren’t already married. Ah, enthusiastic fans – they are just everywhere! You know, always have to take care of mom – I was worried there for quite a long time, that the seats would not be very good. You got some great shots there! That picture of Gian is awesome! You must have had him sign it on the sly. They always say “no signing anything!” At some point, I need to get Igna to sign my book! Got the other 2 last time. I’m so good, I’m sure he would have signed the book as well, but just had him sign the bear. I’m sure Gian would not have minded at all if you were in his lap? Great story and pictures, as always! 🙂

      1. That’s if you can talk to him, right? 🙂 We have lots of time to practice… and say it in Italian!

      2. ok, it took me 5 meet/greets to get it right – it’s just stage fright! Didn’t you used to be on the stage? or was it just behind the stage? can’t remember… I’d say do the “old” stand by thing of “think of the audience in their underwear” but I wouldn’t advise that for you with Igna, you may seriously just pass out! lol! And I thought it was just me that got tongue-tied and mesmerized! (p.s. sent you a private email…. if you are reading this. 🙂 )

      3. Yes, on stage. Thank God Ignazio was never in the front row! Can you imagine? I would have to play Helen Keller over and over again.

        Got your email.

      4. ok, so practice your “stage fright” techniques and next time you’ll be fine! As long as it’s not the underwear – maybe a clown nose? lol! it’s also hard to type with a cat in your lap!

      5. You’re supposed to imagine all the heads in the audience as cabbages. But I don’t think that’ll work in this case!

      6. I remember him saying a long time ago that he was’nt getting married until he was 35.
        I did notice that in a recent photo he was wearing a different ring on his ring finger. The one he wore before was silver in color, but his new one look’s like it is yellow gold.

      7. Why would he wait so long? Maybe he was joking–with him anything is possible!

      8. Jill – any idea where you saw that picture? I always try to notice his rings, but did not notice that? Always see the diamond sparkling from the audience though!

        Regarding getting married, let’s hope he doesn’t wait that long, don’t think Alessandra will wait that long to have kids, she’ll be almost 40 by then! He’ll want to be young enough to have fun with the kids.

        I saw on a concert, about 3 years ago maybe, that he said, live on stage, that he wanted to get married in about 3 years and have 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. I think it was one of the east coast concerts on the We Are Love tour. Saw it on You Tube. If that’s so, he’s right on according to his plan. Then there was that interview way back in December maybe, when they were in NY or Boston and the interviewer asked who was the first to get married, and Gian shouted Ignazio – in like 3 months! Then Igna tried to hush him and he made some gesture on screen with his hands, like Gian was wrong.

      9. I have my own theory on this issue which I am almost afraid to say out loud. BUT it seems fishy to me that they need an entire year to work on one CD when they have made CDs in the past while they were doing a bunch of other things–filming videos, flying around being on programs and having concerts. Does it seem odd to anyone else that this is the excuse for not having a tour next year? On the other hand, if someone was getting married either openly or privately it would make a lot of sense!

      10. Penina – yes, I was thinking that also… but if they are doing new material, I’m hoping Igna is writing some new stuff for the group and that does take some time and inspiration. I’m sure they will still be busy making appearances though. However, Gian sure seems restless these last few weeks… “Bored” he posts? You’d think they’d enjoy some downtime.

        p.s. hadn’t heard of the “cabbage heads” before – lol! 🙂

      11. I sing in a community choir that performs mainly in old age homes and the like for the residents. We did a few numbers once time many years ago as part of a benefit concert for something or other–I don’t remember what it was. It was the first time we were performing in a real theatre on a real stage and during rehearsal someone told us to just think of everyone as cabbage heads. We needn’t have worried–what we didn’t realize was that the footlights tend to black out the audience altogether–you could barely see the first row!

  16. I can identify completely! I too practiced what I’d say to him and haven’t been able to say more than a sentence (if that) on a completely different topic than what I planned. I have no trouble talking to Gianluca or Piero (Piero is especailly easy to talk to as he puts you at ease immediately)but when it comes to Ignazio I am totally tongue tied, blank, struck dumb, etc! If practice makes perfect, bring on the practice!!!

  17. The next time we will surround Igna with Marie’s, Rose Marie’s,Janas and Leelee’s, and tell the photographer to go take a break somewhere.

    1. Oh, yes – maybe Piero can play a song on the piano and Gian can sing! lol! Funny, I’m usually the shy one!! 🙂 But I’m good if I have a real plan and am relaxed. I guess I just decided they don’t make me nervous anymore?

  18. Jana, I could’nt find the picture I was looking for where he is wearing the yellow gold ring, but if you look at his Instagram today (4/21) you will see it on his finger while he is feeding Franz some treat’s.

  19. I was always under the impression that Italian men waited to marry when in their late twenties or early thirties. This was usually due to finances. However, this certainly is not the case with Ignazio .With his career continuing to climb , I hope marriage doesn’t create complications if indeed this is a possibility. But of course , we all want happiness for him! In my opinion, he is too young . The responsibility of a career and a family while on tour too often takes a toll on all. Look what happened to Pavarotti & Bocelli!

  20. I’ve read everyone’s stories (even though I haven’t commented on them all), and I’m going next time! The world is just going to have to stop so I can!

  21. Every story I read touches me more and more. I can’t wait to hear the stories from Europe!!

    1. Me either, Dee. If I can’t be there (dang it) I need to live the concerts through those of you who do attend. Besides…it reminds me, once again, of the concert I sat enthralled through. Maybe I’ll get tired of hearing it. Great big LOL!

      1. Oh yea like that will ever happen!!!!! 😂😂😂😹😹😹

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