In spite of “just” having been in Rome back in December to enjoy the guys’ last concert in 2022, I did immediately get very excited when reading the announcement that IL VOLO would come to Verona primo May. A new craving arose… My husband would be away working in Norway these dates, so should I try to fly down on my own… Well, albeit Verona isn’t exactly around the corner from Copenhagen, Denmark, where I live, it is still “just” some 2½ hrs. away by air, so… And with concert tickets running half of the prices in my country and budget airline Ryanair offering very reasonable tickets to Italy, it didn’t take me long to convince my husband, that it would be a perfect thing for me to do while he was gone 😉. Talking it over with my good Italian friend Daniela – as you all know so well here – it was soon decided that I should come and she would help me with the ticket and practical arrangements. So she was on her toes at 10:00am sharp when the pre-sale opened and succeeded in getting us good seats on second row. Top! Jihaa – once again I was to experience IL VOLO live. 😀 💓
That the weather wouldn’t be particular good in Verona didn’t come as a surprise… I had followed the forecast for more than a week before my departure – but yet again, last June when my husband and I were in Verona it did likewise rain on the very day of the concert but cleared totally up in due time, so why shouldn’t it do that again? I was optimistic. Having said so I did, however, pack my long, warm woolen winter coat – in spite of Daniela having told me that it would be way too much for a spring day in Italy – but to-day I am truly glad I did and thanks to same I believe I avoided catching a huge cold or pneumonia as indeed it came in handy! Both on my arrival day – and on the very day – the weather was, however, pretty acceptable with a mild temperature, slight overcast and a tiny bit of drizzling only, so things were looking quite promising for a while. Till the very moment we set out for Verona. The first bit of rain drummed on the windshield. Well, it would pass, no doubt. But having reached Verona, parked and walked the short distance to the lovely square in front of the Arena, it was no longer just drizzling, nor a little bit of summer rain – it started pouring seriously… One hour before the concert we were admitted to the Arena, but everyone crowded together in the dry shelter under the historical buildings as by now it was raining cats and dogs! The street sellers had a big night exchanging their toys and souvenirs with a range of small umbrellas and rain covers – and the demand was huge. Soon we were a group of hooded people in all colors letting no-one detect the fine clothing that we so carefully had chosen to wear at this event and now all hidden by rain gear! We couldn’t be standing there forever, however, and we were directed into the beautiful Arena and to our seats.
Last time here I did almost lose my breath from the lovely sight and the wings of history when entering these more than 2000 years old roman ruins, but focus this eve was on everything else – namely on all the people working on and around the stage trying to swipe off waters from same and re-organizing entrance areas and covering up cameras etc. The possibility of a cancellation was still rather open, so I followed each single move carefully. Fortunately, most of the stage is covered by a big roof, but it was obvious that several meters into the stage the floor was wet and would continue to be so… And what about microphones? The lightening? And the instruments? Would they be able to work in the now more than heavily pouring rain? Daniela and I had planned to meet up with several fans from Italy and abroad, but it was simply not possible to move around under these conditions. Once seated I did actually not get up a single time as it would mean your seat getting all wet again and water from your rain cover would drip down and sneak in under same. So sadly we had to give up on that. Luckily we had met a few people while sheltered by the entrance and others made a round in front of us waving a big hello. But a great social get-together never occurred. All the while the rain got worse and worse… Soon drops from my hood ran down my face and clouded my glasses only to flow further and down into my lap forming little pools that evidently flowed over and made little waterfalls down to my knees and legs and soon made me soaking wet where not sheltered by the cover. Trying to take photos/videos meant having to get your arms and hands out in the free and allowing waters to sneak in from the sides, so in general I gave up on doing it as it was likewise more or less impossible to press the buttons or zoom with the by now drenching wet hands. Unfortunately, it did likewise mean, that clapping my hands would not be an option unless it was under the rain cover where it could hardly be heard… Well, but few minutes before 21:00 hrs. the musicians did, however, start to enter the stage – and a voice announced that the concert would go on and carried through to the end. What a relief 😁!
The stage was already lit up in a bright blue setting but few minutes later a big “fanfare” sounded and Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero marched in on stage from the right – most likely not as planned as at the second show they had a separate entrance ceremony – but, finally, caught in the bright spotlight, were our 3 beloved guys immediately setting in with the first tones of “Granada”. That this concert had a very special purpose did quickly show, as following Piero’s usual classical interpretation of this song Gianluca did suddenly step aside dragging an oldfashioned microphone across the scene changing the mood of the song into a typical crooner-swing style version before in the end Ignazio took over and the mood once again changed – now into a more modern pop/rock song. Yes, they had a message! Add to that their appearances. Albeit all dressed in black they were so absolutely not on the same page. Piero wore a fine black tux with a bit of bling-bling and a white rose looking exactly as elegant as one can expect of an opera singer. Gianluca wore a suit of the finest soft leather from top to bottom including a pair of rather tight fitting trousers with that typical 70-style sway at the feet that most of us recall so well and looking stunningly sexy, while Ignazio had jumped on the bandwagon of the latest trend wearing an oversized jacket and way too long baggy trousers true 1930 style, that in all honesty didn’t do him any good but made him look pretty heavy. Knowing Ignazio though he doesn’t really care what he wears and the choice must have been the one of a stylist and not particularly one of his, I believe. The whole scenario did, however, immediately signalize that this show was all about the IL VOLO guys showing and introducing to us their individual characters and personal choices of music genres and to prove that IL VOLO is much more than just 3 guys singing “O Solo Mio” together. A grand opening!
Not knowing what to expect of the show having just a few weeks prior to same learned of the fact that the guys would have a load of local Italian guest-stars join them, I was curious as to how that was going to function – but shortly following the guys singing a couple of their traditional songs the very first guest was asked to the stage – and it would appear that these guests were not to perform on their own but rather in duets with one or more of the IL VOLO guys. Coming from Denmark – and hence being a foreigner – I must admit that I had never heard of any of the invited Italian artists before, so I am sorry to admit that I cannot tell you whom they were and what they were singing.. Sorry. But there were quite a number of artists and having no program at hand, I cannot remember who was who. I trust, however, that Daniela will fill you all in as to this issue in her article. These artists performed their own hit-songs joined by one or more of the IL VOLO guys – and according to the response from the audience they were well known by the locals who were happily singing along in the rain, so we are talking about rather popular artists loved by the Italian people. And all of absolute different characters as well as representing various musical genres. Some were great – some gave the duets an synergy effect and raise the songs to a higher level – while yet others admittedly didn’t exactly sound too good due to the voices not truly suit each other. I tend to think that some of these guests most likely were invited out of a planned strategy. Namely to show and prove how fantastic singers and performers the IL VOLO guys are no matter whom they are coupled with nor what kind of genre of music they are introduced to. The guys shined throughout the evening and did most certainly show that they master it all including showmanship and hosting.
A few of the duets did stand out though – and I should like to mention among others the tall singer Mario Biondi with whom i.e. Ignazio did a fabulous soul song: “You make me feel like a natural woman” by Aretha Franklin and the Russian opera singer Aida Garifullina who coupled with Guianluca in a beautiful duet: “Angels” by Robbie Williams and looking stunningly pretty in a pink dream of a dress. Gianluca looked almost star-struck at her and did obviously enjoy singing with her. But first and foremost when Aida joined Piero in a piece from “La Traviata” a major highlight was born!. A brilliant match for Piero who in her got a partner of his own caliber – or above – inspiring him to perform better than ever. And did they ever look good together! Like a prince and his princess. Piero’s fine tux was in place! And they were about the sweetest when in the end they did a bit of waltzing. Piero shone as the brightest star!
Ignazio Boschetto (Il Volo) ft. Mario Biondi – You make me feel like a natural woman
Aida Garifullina & Gianluca Ginoble (Il Volo) – Angel
As indicated in the name of the show a larger number of songs by our guys were anticipated – and I believe we were pampered with some 4-5 songs from each of them. Some we have heard before but also totally new ones. Piero delighted us with several opera arias the names of which I do, unfortunately, not know. But he delivered them brilliantly and did once again prove that his many hours of studying opera have so absolutely not been in vain. He is improving for each time I hear him. Very soon he is going to reach his next goal – to stand on the famous La Scala stage in Milan. He is ready! Bravo Piero!
Ignazio had chosen to show us various types of songs including one in which he accompanied himself by guitar – and then he did once again go down the lane of interpreting a mega hit song by a world famous female singer, and this time none the less than one of Whitney Houston’s, namely: “I will always love you”. Who would ever dare follow in the footsteps of Whitney Houston? Our dear Ignazio, of course. And boy did he ever nail it! I don’t know what it is with Ignazio and why he wants to sing songs by these famous female singers, but he is capable of making the songs “his” – taking ownerships of same. Fantastic! And I heard that he was singing Celine Dion’s immortal “My heart goes on” Wednesday night. Likewise with great success. He is awesome…. A rascal you do never know what to expect from, but you can always be sure that he delivers!
Gianluca had a ball on stage not letting us forget that he is a great admirer of Elvis Presley and that type of music and next to his beautiful version of “Can’t stop falling in love with you” (probably song to his girlfriend seated in the audience) he went down the same road singing the popular 60th rock tune “Crazy little thing called love” by Freddie Mercury/Queen dragging the microphone behind him and imitating moves and steps from Elvis/Travolta/Mercury’s 50th and 60th shows. I don’t think we have ever seen him so freely and loose on stage before – and he loved it. No doubt he has been working hard on these performances rehearsing steps and moves over and over and crossed some personal limits too doing so. Personally, I don’t know what to think… His voice is so beautiful and he sings fabulously – but dancing is not his force and these performances seems more like fantastic resemblances of his idols rather than Gianluca showing us the best of himself… I know I am a bit harsh here. In Denmark we have a saying: “Whom you love you chastise” – and I cannot hide that Gianluca is my favorite Il VOLO and I love him in all aspects. So out of love to him I wish he would have more confidence in himself and the courage to interpret the chosen songs in his very own way instead of resembling others. To me Gianluca has a much greater voice and a much larger potential than any of the singers he tries to imitate. He has been given a voice beyond compare – a unique gift – and he owes to himself and the world to make good use of it. Hence, if he feels more comfortable sitting on a chair with closed eyes fully emerging into a song – then let it be. I recall with great fondness his version of i.e. “Mi Mancherai” – standing totally still on the stage but having the audience fully in his hands and giving me the chills. He mesmerizes us when he becomes one with the song. He is capable of much more and ought to challenge himself further in songs like i.e. “New York, New York” (by Sinatra) or the main theme of “The Phantom of the Opera”. Sorry, Gianluca. I’m giving you assignments ;-). Having said this, he enchanted and surprised us all following with a Beatles medley – beautifully performed. I have always thought it would be interesting to have the guys sing Beatles as actually many of these songs have some extraordinary cords/harmonies that – at the time – you did not normally hear pop groups use or sing. And I bet IL VOLO would be able to do something awesome with these songs. Well, we didn’t get the harmonies but we got a lovely medley beautifully presented by Gianluca. Kudos!
In similarity with others I had a certain extended fear that the special concept of this concert might have given us less IL VOLO and more other Italian artists. I couldn’t have been more wrong! The extended length of the concert – 3½ hrs. – gave them ample time to not only sing duets with all the guest performers but likewise to sing more individual soli than normally while likewise pampering us with a large selection of their regular repertoire. So many that I cannot even recall them all, but among others: Il Mondo; The Ecstasy of Gold; Telefonado; Amore Così Grande; Volare; Grande Amore, A Chi mi dice, My Way and many others. So we were in no way let down – on the contrary. We got more than a “normal” IL VOLO Concert while all the guest performances were true VALUE ADDED BONUS! So we need to have full confidence in the guys knowing that they will always deliver! On top we got a full 24 piece symphony orchestra, an opera choir, a beautiful light-show, a lovely TV hostess who didn’t take over but filled in the gaps in a fine way and as such: A BRILLIANT SHOW! And in spite ending up soaking wet and cold – would I have done it again? You bet I would! It was worth all the trouble and each single rain drop. My only regret: I would have loved to clap my hands red in excitement and giving standing ovations over and over – but I didn’t due to the rain and the effect that would have followed. So sorry guys.