Category Archives: 10 Year Anniversary

Giovanna in Taormina & Lecce 2019!

Finalmente il Primo (e il Secondo) Concerto (Finally, the First and Second Live Concert)

By Giovanna

After Italy and our planet recover from the current viral onslaught, the world may be different.  As Gianluca said in his live videocast last week, when this is over, it may be hard for many people and many things to go back to the way they were.  But we can still look forward to the fact that music and laughter are universal and unstoppable.

In my last submittal, I promised to describe my first Il Volo concert(s) from 2019.  But first, I wanted to recount a funny story from my 2018 trip to Sicily.   That was my fourth hiking or cycling trip in Italy. Due to the travel dates, I knew I would not be able to hear any Il Volo concerts.  I spent the time becoming addicted to the Mediterranean and Ionian coasts of Sicily.

When we first arrived a few days before the start of our hike, I had trouble calling our bed-and-breakfast host near the Palermo Vucceria.  So I ended up pressing the citofono and climbing stairs looking for his suite.  A middle-aged guy in the street, who was a friend of his, called him on the telefonino (cell phone).  While on the phone this buddy was ribbing me in Sicilian, telling Claudio that he better come down quick, because his guests “si stanno impazzendo” (are going crazy) and every other tease he could think of, winking the whole time.  My helper was a typical Sicilian – extraordinarily courteous and kind on the one hand, and ‘nu sperto (smart aleck) on the other.  Then he hugs us and tells us his name is Piero.  I burst out laughing.  Of course, it is.  What else would it be?  (But it’s a common name, right?) 

Even wilder was the historian/guide at Segesta a few days later.  He was a little bantam rooster of an athlete in his 20’s.   Black jeans, dark curls, trim beard, soft eyes, deep dark voice, movie actor face.  He announced his name was Gianluca.

I was in tears laughing at this point, and just had to ask him if he sang tenor or baritone.   He pulled me aside and we promptly got into an argument (‘na schariatina) in Sicilian.  Two Sicilians arguing – what else is new?  He insisted that our driver, Maurizio, lied when he said we were Americans.  As short as I am, and with my left hand in the air for every other word, I had to be Italian.  I also learned that this particular Gianluca refers to himself as “Sicilianissimo” (ultimate Sicilian) and considers himself an expert in recognizing his own kind. 

I’ve had this happen in a number of places in Italy over the years, where Italians sometimes confuse me for an Italian, not an American.  A few examples:

Near Catania: “Si pare dalla faccia” (It shows on your face).

Rome: “L’accento si senti”  (I hear your accent).

Giardini, Sicily after two days of swimming in the Ionian Sea: “Una verissima Siciliana – nera, nera come ‘na magrebina” (A real Sicilian – dark as the rest of us Mediterraneans.)

Storekeeper in a negozio in Florence:  “You remind me of my mother in Calabria.  I’ll take off 40 euros if you come in the back with me for an espresso e una chiacchierata” (some conversation).”  I told him the last thing I wanted to hear from a handsome young Italian is that I looked like his mother.

Our driver outside Cefalu: “How long since you emigrated from here to the States?”  My answer, “Non ho mai messo piede qua!” (I’ve never set foot here!).

Near Milano:  If you’re a ciclista, you’ll know who the great designer Ernesto Colnago is.  He refused to make me a custom road racing frame years ago.  “Sei Italiana, ma sei troppo bassa. La bici uscira brutta!” (You’re Italian but you’re too short.  The bicycle will come out ugly.)

Eventually I gave up arguing. 

I didn’t meet any Ignazios in 2018, but I didn’t need to.  I have two Sicilian-American cousins called Ignazio.  One’s tall, one’s funny.


Despite following Il Volo for years, and even going back and forth to Italy, I never attended a live concert until 2019.  As I mentioned, I returned to Italia to hear them on their home turf in Taormina, Sicily and Lecce, Puglia, both shows in July.  It gave me an excuse to be around the beaches, the white marble architecture, the restored synagogues, and the marketplaces of eastern Sicily and southern Italy for a month.  Americans haven’t discovered these areas, but the northern Italians flock there for vacanze and ferragosto.  I was delighted not to hear a word of English for a month.  Siracusa and Ortigia, with exotic fruit, baking hot sunshine, blinding white marble, noisy markets, singing in the stalls, street signs in Greek and Hebrew, the sparkling Adriatic visible at every turn, make me ubriaca di gioia (drunk with pleasure).  I finally found a place I feel really at home.

Besides, there’s nothing like Sicilian pasta al salmone, and the Pugliese really know how to roll their dark bread dough in black sesame seeds.   And where else do the vending machines along the beach have bottles of Inzolia Sicilian white and Nero d’Avola red instead of Coca Cola?  Antonio, one my limo drivers, told me that Italians have a name for a meal without wine.  They call it colazione (breakfast). E magari, a volte… (Even then, sometimes, too).  Using wine all day is not the case for every Italian since, for example, Piero Barone, and even my landlord in Giardini, sono astemi (don’t drink at all). 

Ora Arriviamo al Dunque (Now We Get to the Point)

Jana, Daniela, Pat and others in the Flight Crew reviewed last year’s concerts as they occurred.  I wanted to tell you about some things that didn’t make the web pages or the blogs.  These things will not change, even if the Meet and Greets, Wine and Dines, and whatever else they’re called, come to an end.  I’ve never been to any of those things, anyway.

Aside from their voices and their stage presence, in the short time I was around the Il Volo concert setting, I was most impressed with the humanity and grace of these young men, and what veri gentiluomini (real gentlemen) they can be, when they choose to.  Non fraintendermi!  Don’t get me wrong!  I raised an Italian Jewish son exactly their age.  With young guys, including mine, sometimes they are delightfully charming, and other times “it gets real.”  I suppose these three guys are the same as mine.  Here are some examples of what they can be:

First, my all-time favorite, and Sicily’s greatest mystery writer, Andrea Camilleri, died the Thursday before the Il Volo Taormina concert.  If you’ve ever read Il Commissario Montalbano Mysteries or watched them on TV (starring Luca Zingaretti, Cesare Bocci and Peppino Mazzotta), you know who Camilleri is.   I didn’t hear the news until I went up to Taormina that Friday to buy some paperbacks in the tabbacheria and catch the local gossip in the cafés on Corso Umberto.  Those of us who are Sicilians were still lamenting his death a few nights later at the Il Volo concert.  (Sicilians are really good at that).   During the concert, Piero and Ignazio, Sicilians both, had the extraordinary sensitivity to ask for a few minutes to honor the memory of our Sicilian hero with a farewell aria in the middle of the show.  Lots of hugging and swaying in the audience – but well deserved.

Second, some of you may have seen the 2019 Taormina concert photo of Piero holding a teenaged girl at the left side of the stage, late in the show.  I think I even saw the picture on the Flight Crew page.  What wasn’t obvious is that this very disabled young lady, in her prettiest summer dress and barely able to walk on her brace supports, spent the length of two songs being held by Piero, while he sang his parts.  To take care of this young lady who had trouble standing, Piero had to crouch and sit at the edge of the stage to hold her so she wouldn’t fall, as her caregivers temporarily took her walking equipment away, and he stayed that way a long time.  This brave young lady didn’t want any crutches in her arms; she wanted Piero in her arms, and he obliged her.  I was really touched by the look on his face afterwards, as he sighed with compassion, moved by what this young girl went through to get near him, and watching her struggle on her supports as she left him with her helpers around her.  I didn’t expect a young star to be that human.  In Yiddish we would say What a mentsh! and in Italian Che persona! (What a person he is!)  But of course, if he’s like his coetani (guys his age) there are probably other sides to him. 

These are Flashes of Memory and a Few Things to Look Forward to When Italy Recovers

 Snapshots from Taormina Concert

  • Ignazio teasing that every time Gianluca tries to speak Sicilian, he growls like a Mafiusu.

  • Ignazio doing a fake Italian TV commercial with a dial-in phone number to raise money to save Piero’s home village of Naro. Every time the other two interrupt him, he starts the “tape” over.

  • Piero charging up the center aisle to sing at the back of the amphitheater, then unable to get back to the stage because he’s nearly covered in girls.

  • Gianluca completely cranked up, running victory laps back and forth at the front of the stage hand-slapping all the young kids, while everyone in the audience is standing and singing “Volare.”

  • Late night after the concert, people singing Il Volo songs up and down Corso Umberto, even those who didn’t go to the show.

Snapshots from Lecce Concert

  • After centuries of never having public entertainment in the Piazza del Duomo, watching as the stage was being built up each day across from the archbishop’s palace – for Il Volo,

  • Gianluca accidently delaying the show because he left his stage clothes at the hotel. Ignazio joking that they decided to wait for Gianluca’s clothes because it didn’t seem right to make him do an entire concert in front of the Archbishop of Lecce in mutande (in his underwear).

  • Gianluca personally thanking Archbishop Michele Seccia “chi mi ha dato la crisma” (who gave him the oil of anointing at his confirmation 12 years ago), because look what happened to his life since then.

  • Folks watching the show for free from the roof of their apartment building above the piazza teasing Ignazio. Ignazio, always in fine form, yelling at them to go buy a ticket.  

  • Gianluca doing a goofy American accent to make fun of how badly Americans pronounce “Arriverderci Roma.”

  • People in front of me betting on whether Gianluca could make it to the end of the show without climbing off the stage to play with a small boy down front. (He didn’t make it to the end).

  • Piero describing how ten years ago they were so young that they were this short . . . except Ignazio, who was this wide . . .

Che Dio vi benedica tutti voi, e anche i ragazzi e le loro famiglie.

May God bless you all, and the guys and their families, too, during this time.

Some pictures….

They need more publicity than this
They needed more publicity than this!
Taormina The light crew can do wonderful things on that backdrop in the Teatro Antico
Taormina – the light crew can do wonderful things!
String bending on a Fender Stratocaster Brownie
String bending on a Fender Stratocaster Brownie
Lecce Gianlu got his pants back but he may be noticing his shoes are different.
Gianluca got his pants back, but notices shoes are different?
Alessandro Quarta actually wore a T shirt long enough to cover his belly when he bends backwards
Alessandro got a shirt long enough to cover his belly!
10th anniversary thank you poster
10th Anniversary thank you poster…
This is how short I am. I cannot even reach the floor.
Yours truly – my feet do not touch the floor –  kind of like an Il Volo concert!

 

C’è di più.

There is more to come. 

Jo Ann…

 

VITA DA BUS (Life by Bus) PART 2 by Daniela

Here is the second part of the beautiful Il Volo bus tour, beautiful cities and many concerts.

Enjoy! ❤️

SAN DIEGO

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Bus Tour2 02

 

 

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LOS ANGELES

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#rodeodrive #losangeles

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Lunch in Los Angeles, of course, PASTA.

 

Meeting in Los Angeles with Mariano di Vaio, model, blogger and their friend.

A cheerful bike ride in Santa Monica. (Piero’s video)

(Gianluca’s video)

(Ignazio’s video)

INDIO

Relax

 

Water of Il Volo😁😁😁

 

Ready for concert in Indio ❤️

On the road to SAN JOSÉ 

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The guys made this video, which is about the CoronaVirus. Good, guys! ❤❤❤

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È per il bene di tutti! #iorestoacasa

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In fact, guys, we have already seen since the San Josè concert that you have never gone out into the audience.

The two buses, in use by Il Volo.

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SAN FRANCISCO

 

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(Ignazio’s video)

 

(Gianluca’s video)

 

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Unfortunately the San Rafael concert has been canceled, this is the communication from Il Volo.

Dear fans, due to the most recent mandate from the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services, we will not be able to perform for you tonight at The Veterans Memorial Auditorium. We hope we get the opportunity to see you again soon!

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Unfortunately, the epilogue of this post was not what we all wanted.

The last two concerts in Fresno and Las Vegas have also been canceled and Ignazio, Piero and Gianluca have quickly returned to Italy, to their families, where they will live isolated in their homes.

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The official announcement of the staff of IL VOLO.

ACCORDING TO OUR LATEST PRESS RELEASE IL VOLO FORCED TO CANCEL FINAL CONCERTS OF 2020 NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DUE TO THE COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND THE MOST RECENT TRAVEL BAN
THE MARKETS INCLUDE THE SAN RAFAEL, CA CONCERT SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 11th, THE FRESNO, CA CONCERT SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 13TH, AND THE LAS VEGAS, NV CONCERT SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 15TH

IL VOLO expresses their appreciation to their fans and hopes they will have the opportunity to reschedule these engagements sometime in the near future.
WE WILL ADD THE LOCAL INFORMATION.

TICKET REFUNDS ARE AVAILABLE AS FOLLOWS FOR THE FRESNO PERFORMANCE: -PATRONS WHO PURCHASED TICKETS WITH CREDIT CARD WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY REFUNDED -PATRONS WHO PURCHASED WITH OTHER FORMS OF PAYMENT SHOULD RETURN TO THEIR POINT OF PURCHASE FOR A REFUND.

 

The contagion of Covid19 is too fast and the concerts are a great risk for people.

The decision was made quickly, also because it was becoming increasingly difficult to return to Italy.

Unfortunately, the beautiful American tour ends with so much disappointment on the part of those who have been waiting for this event for a long time, but with the awareness that health is no joke.

There will be better times where we can remember these hard times.
There will also be others magnificent concerts.

ANDRÀ TUTTO BENE!

Daniela 

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Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

SMILE!

It is with sadness that we announce officially the last 2 concerts being cancelled.  But we also know the guys would have sung for us if they could, but they needed to get home.  I’m sure we will all meet again, hopefully soon – but another time and place.  I am also saddened that I am not able to meet all of you (old friends and new!) who were planning on being in Vegas and those I missed in Verona.   I think it is fitting to post this video of SMILE, along with the words.  I’m sure this is in the hearts of all of Il Volo, management, crew, and fans!

 

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

 

I know many of us are trying to smile through our tears (myself included), it is not easy, but hopefully there will be a next time for all of us to meet again.  In the words of an old Irish blessing… (St. Patrick’s Day is next week….)

May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, until we meet again. May God hold you in the palm of his hand. And until we meet again, until we meet again.

 

I think this almost says it all…. ciao amici!  🙂 

Jana

GIANLUCA NEW APPEAL – IL VOLO WORLD TOUR: SAN JOSÉ and SAN RAFAEL by Daniela

Unfortunately Covid19 is infecting many people around the world.

The situation here in Italy is very serious. All of Italy has stopped. Everything closed, schools, churches, gyms, cinemas, theaters, museums, airports, stations, many shops, not necessary. From today, all shops except for food (always well supplied) and pharmacies will probably be closed.

Unfortunately, it seems that the seriousness of the situation is not well understood by young people, who continue to go out in the evening. For this reason Gianluca made an explicit appeal to the young people in his area.

I translate for you.

Hello everyone, I too am part of this initiative I HELP ROSETO. It is a situation that we all know, truly dramatic, that affects all of us, and therefore, I recommend YOU MUST STAY HOME. It is a message that I want to send above all to my peers, because it must start with us, the sense of belonging, the community, take care of ourselves, but in particular of the people who are close to us and above all of the elderly.

So please, let’s be responsible, WE STAY HOME, surely there will be many things that we will rediscover, be with the family, give priorities, try to have new hobbies, new passions. There is certainly a lot to do at home, so please, STAY HOME.

I hug you tightly, this too will pass, this moment will also pass.

Gianluca 01

Thanks Gianluca, there are no words, but only to reflect, for the good of all.

The SAN JOSÉ concert was another success, very few videos and photos.

Mix of songs

IL MONDO

VOLARE

Final greetings

Thank you San José for last night. We are spending amazing days here in the U.S.! Two more shows to go before to come back in our amazing country, facing a difficult time…  

But unfortunately, due to recent developments in the spread of viruses, the MARIN CENTER of San Rafael, where Il Volo was to perform tonight, is closed, and therefore the concert is canceled.

Gianluca 03

I am very sorry, for all those who had bought tickets, in time, to be able to attend an evening of entertainment and good music.

Unfortunately, situations are evolving quickly and action must be taken just as quickly.

Only two last concerts are missing and I hope with all my heart that they can be done, but without any risk.

I will conclude by translating this message from the Pope.

A hug from Daniela.

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“Before you fall asleep tonight, think about when we will return to the street.
When we hug each other again, when, shopping together, it will seem like a party.

Let’s think about when the coffees will return to the bar, the small talk, the photos close to each other. Let’s think about when it will all be a memory, and normalcy will seem an unexpected and beautiful gift.

 

We will love everything that has so far seemed futile to us.
Every second will be precious.
Swim at the sea, the sun until late, toasts, laughter.
We will go back to laughing together.

Strength and courage!
See you soon.”

POPE FRANCIS

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

IL VOLO WORLD TOUR: LOS ANGELES and INDIO by Daniela

Unfortunately the Corona Virus in Europe is doing a lot of damage, even the concerts are canceled or postponed.

Fortunately, this problem did not occur in the US, in fact Il VOLO, had two beautiful concerts:

March 5: LOS ANGELES

In the beautiful Microsoft Theatre

IL MONDO

MY WAY (thanks to All About Il Volo for the beautiful videos)

UN AMORE COSÌ GRANDE

FALLING IN LOVE

WHERE DO I BEGIN

SOMOS NOVIOS

SURRENDER

O SOLE MIO – NEL BLU DIPINTO DI BLU

In this video, Priscilla Presley, who is present at the concert, is clearly seen among the audience.😉

The presentation of Ignazio’s solo 😁

Final greetings

 

 

 

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LA 02

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Even Pia Toscano, in the backstage.

Pia had sung with them in the US at the beginning of their career.

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This beautiful tribute that Il Volo paid to Kobe Bryant. ❤️

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March 7 : INDIO

 

O SOLE MIO

LIBIAM DE LIETI CALICI

Final greetings

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Indio❤️

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IN 03

IN 04

Two more concerts finished.

One of our readers, Jackie Rote, was for the first time at their concert, in Mesa, today I read her comment and I want to finish this post with her nice words.

Daniela 

 

“ IL Volo” “my guys”! They are a gift to the world. I told Pastor in church today that if the people in the world no matter where you live were examples of IL Volo, there would be no wars, no hate, and the world be a joy to live in. I mean this from my heart. I am so fortunate to see that in them because they are perfect examples what human beings should be and act like.

It was a thrill to meet them. IL Volo is a gift to everyone who loves kindness, humility, love of pets, parents, and so many more things in life. May God Bless them and keep them safe and to let their light and laughter shine thru to all of us.

I can’t apologize for saying because these are true feelings of mine, and I pray they have a long life with joy and laughter. I hope all will enjoy and love them as I do.

Doing this because it’s not good-bye but CIAO!🥰💚😉🙏

IN 05

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.