Category Archives: Concert Photos/Reviews

Jana & Lorna’s Italian Adventure – July 4, 2016 – Verona! (Reprise…)

Hello folks!  I hope everyone is having a great 4th of July in the USA!  We are having quite the hot summer here in Michigan, with these past few weeks in the low 90s and this week, all 90s!  Thought I would repost our little adventure from July 4, 2016, for all to enjoy again!  🙂  It was certainly the best 4th of July I will ever remember!!  🙂

Everyone please stay safe and wear a mask, the virus seems to be coming back with a vengeance again in the US! 🙁


Ciao!  Yes, it’s been a little while since my last story of adventure…but I continue!

Ah, Venice Mestre train station. This was our shortest train ride, only about an hour or so to Verona from Venice. We got to the train station very early, since we were only about 10 minutes away. We got there in plenty of time before our departure of 8:32am. We were able 20160704_073915to have a leisurely breakfast and scout out our train track. The Venice train station was not quite as sophisticated as Florence, so we knew we had to go down and up again to find our train. We looked on the schedule, but could not see our train. There were three trains to Verona, but none that left at our exact time. That seemed strange. So, we made our best guestimate and chose the one track. I was still a bit skeptical, but the time was the closest. I was able to ask a lady, in Italian, and she seemed to think we were on the wrong one, we needed to be a few tracks over and the schedule was on the posted sign. I think it was like a regular commuter train, so it didn’t have a special departure scheduled, which is why it wasn’t posted. I went back to Lorna and we discussed it. It kind of made sense, but we stayed where we were anyway. Ok, here comes our train. We get on where we think our car is, but when we boarded, there were no seat numbers on the seats. We had first class tickets with assigned seating! I said aloud, in English, “But there are no numbers on the seats?” A nice, young lady heard me speaking in English and said, “You are on the wrong train!” “What? Dove?,” I said, and showed her our tickets. She pointed to the other track, same track the other lady told us. I looked at my phone – it was 8:27a! We literally had 5 minutes to get down and back up again, and make it to the other train. We literally FLEW off that train and a nice Italian gentleman hefted our suitcases up the long flight of stairs to the other side. We were literally walking/running as fast as we could toward our train. The conductor saw us and asked if we were on this train, we said yes. We started to get on and he said, no, other car. Then he changed his mind and said to go ahead, and we could walk from there. We literally no sooner got on the train and it took off! It was the last train to Verona for that day! Yes, we almost missed the Verona concert! Ok, “dove” the prosecco that morning!

 

We made it to the Verona train station – again, similar to Venice, we had to once again go down the closet-sized elevator and up the other side. Another long wait for the taxi, but we made it. When we got there, it was still quite early and check-in wasn’t until much later in the afternoon. So, we were able to stow our bags in the reception area. The concierge gave 1-veorna-fus a map of the city and we took off, map and Google Maps in hand on our way to find out where the Arena di Verona was. Looked like it was in walking distance from the hotel, so we set off. It reminded me of “following the yellow brick road” except it was a wide 1-verona-gasphalt running/walking path to the main part of the city. We quickly got off the map we were sort of following and I gave up and got out Google again. We got turned around a few times, but I figured it out. On the way to the Arena, Lorna stopped in a shoe shop and bought these really cool flowered tennis shoes. The sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds and it looked like it might rain. When we neared the Arena, the sun finally decided it was going to stick around.20160704_115104 I took a few pictures as we were in the surroundings of the arena with a plethora of outdoor restaurants/cafes to choose from for lunch. We had worked up quite the appetite by then.

 

We walked to the arena to see exactly where it was and where the entrances were. After that, we perused the various restaurants and picked out a table. It ended up being a 20160704_121205beautiful afternoon and we splurged on our lunch that day. Lorna had some kind of pasta with seafood. I had a Caprese salad and a pizza and we even had a bottle of Moscato.1-verona-a It was a very leisurely lunch and we just chatted and relaxed and wondered where the guys might be? We finally decided it was time to go. On our way, we passed by this one hotel and there were a herd of girls standing outside. Ok, this must be the place! Lol! Yes, apparently the guys were staying at the hotel aptly called “The Gentleman of Verona.” No, we never saw them, although we strolled by and asked the girls if this was where Il Volo was. Of course they said yes. We kept walking and continued our tour of the city, with the sun playing more peek-a-boo with the clouds. With my faithful companion of Google Maps, we took the long way around, but thankfully made it back to the hotel. It was 1-verona-elate enough by then, so we could check in. Another small elevator, but at least we both fit. We got to our room and it was very nice. The sun decided it was going to stay out at last. We had a tiny, enclosed, little balcony with a window you could open. The view from our room was gorgeous and amazing. You could see over the entire city. Took some more pictures and then we decided to relax a little. We took a nap and decided we’d get ready and take a cab to the Arena. I was still trying to hook up with Betty, but we kept missing each other! When we got downstairs we asked the concierge to call us a cab again, to the Arena. She said had just called one for 2 other ladies and maybe we could 1-verona-bshare it? We thought that would be nice, so we went outside and communicated roughly in Italian, and asked if they were going to Il Volo also and could we share the cab. They said yes. We got in and was happily expecting to share the cab fare and they paid the whole thing! Such nice Italian hospitality! We were still a bit full from lunch, but decided we should eat something. So, we went back to the same restaurant where we had lunch. However, we just ordered dessert. Lorna had Tiramisu and espresso, and I had chocolate torte cake. We also ordered another bottle of Moscato. The cake was good, although a bit on the dry side. As previously mentioned, Lorna graciously let me have the 2nd row seat…but as we were sitting at our table, we were watching the crowd get in line – it was over an hour before the concert started.1-verona-c People were everywhere! It was kind of crazy. We knew we had assigned seats, so we thought we’d just sit and watch everyone instead. We finally gave up and decided to fight our way through the crowds. Lorna went first, as she went through a different entrance. I paid the bill and ventured on to the other side of the Arena. I showed my ticket and they let me in. I bought a few souvenir t-shirts and scarves and found my way to the 2nd row seat. My new friends Veronica, Laura, and Daniela, arrived about 15 minutes later. This was exciting. Before the concert began, we heard the orchestra warming up “Per Te Ci Saro” was playing! Oh, yes, I was finally going to hear them sing it live! Since I reviewed the concert already, a few days after it happened, I won’t go into detail again. Yes, you are welcome. Lol! But a quick recap of starting with “Per Te Ci 20160704_213618-1Saro” and ending with their usual 2 of “Surrender” and “Grande Amore” it was pretty awesome. And I swear it happened just that quickly. Again, I was quite surprised they did the Godfather routine…

Insert actual concert review….

For me, this was the most magical and perfect concert ever.  Not only was it a perfectly beautiful evening weather-wise, I FINALLY got to hear all my favorite songs.  They really picked the best of the best for this finale concert.  The stage and the lighting were magnificent.  They had the monitors and also the videos going for many of the songs.  I thought for sure we were going to be blinded by the lights again, but it was only once or twice.

I finally got my dream come true and into my Il Volo trance I went.  They started with Per te ci saro!!  OMG, I sang the whole thing!  I wanted to stand after every song, but the Italians don’t do that.  They did stand after the solos and duets.  There were few empty seats…Lorna was so awesome, she let me have the 2nd row seat for the entire concert.  I will remember it forever.

Even thought it was second row, we were still quite far from the stage.  Like the orchestra pit area was empty of chairs and unlike the first Verona concert in September last year, the stage did not come out in the middle.

Their voices were of course perfection and Igna added his own to the end of My Piove – a little jazzier riffs and Gian joined him for a few…

Yes, they sang my favorites – Per te, l’more si muove, torne l’amore, canzone per te.  They even did a slight sketch of the Godfather routine.  Igna even sang Allegria and didn’t cry.  No Ancora though….

Gian sang Bridge…and it was incredible.  I remember telling Donna it would get better after we heard it in LA and she said “how could it get better?”  It did!!

I think someone mentioned that they were filming part of that movie where the guys are going to be part of it about opera.  Apparently, the guy who is the star actor was in the front row a few seats down from us. And?!  The guys were cuter!!  Lol!  They did this filming during the concert, but it was no big deal.

The one big shocker was that they did not sing O Sole Mio!  Not disappointed as they left in Surrender!!  Igna and Piero did their thing.

Since I was in the 2nd row, I imagine I’ll be somewhere in the DVD and group shot in the end.  My split second of fame. Lol!  I was in a pink dress to the right of the stage.

I did not see any of the immediate family except for Mary Grace, Piero’s sister and I think Alessio?  Gianluca’s friend.  At the end, Igna went over and gave this older guy a bear hug and picked him up, but no clue who he was.  He looked a little like one of his uncles.

If people want to know what to give Igna at the next m/g I would suggest a belt.  He was pulling up his pants the entire night!

I took some pictures and taped a few songs, but my phone camera and the lights were not friends.

By the time you read this, pictures will be all over everywhere, as well as videos.

Did I say how incredibly awesome it was????  Igna was also playing the piano and a few other instruments.  Gian was wearing tennis shoes and racing across the stage every so often.

Don’t get me wrong, the tenor concert was awesome also, but this was more special and magical for me, as I have been waiting to hear these songs live for as long as most of you!

It was all in Italian except Igna said Thank You.  I did not quite catch what was going on, but something about studying their speech for the next song, etc.  I also had my friend Veronica to translate a few things for me!

I’m still trying to realize I’m in Italy!  I’ve seen the guys 5 times now this year.  You just keep thinking when is the next time?  They are planning another tenor tribute concert in the arena next May 17, but you know, nothing is ever as special as the first time!  My guess is that they might incorporate a few of those songs into their regular concerts next tour.

Ok, it is now a little after 2am!  I really need some sleep if I can, that is.

They really outdid themselves with this one!!

Part of my mission to the Verona concert was to take a few little presents to 2 friends of Sharon’s. They were sitting in the front row, but on the other side. Unfortunately, security would not let me leave my seat, even though it was just a row up. Fortunately, I was able to text her and Veronica communicated in Italian 1-verona-3of my plight. Luckily, we were able to connect after the concert. Lorna and I also quickly met up afterward and Veronica took our pictures. We then made our way to the taxi line and got back to our hotel. I was determined I did not want to forget a thing, so I stayed up til about 2am finishing my post! Was the shortest night on1-verona-d record.   We had to be at the train station very early, as we had a 7a train to Rome and it was a 3-hour trip. After what I believe was about a 3-4 hour “nap” I dragged myself out of bed about 5:30a to take a shower and we were out of there. Again, missing breakfast at the hotel!  Next stop – Roma and the Adriatic Sea!

IL VOLO: REPLICA DEL CONCERTO 2015 by Daniela

Shortly before Easter, it was announced that the 2015 Il Volo concert in the Arena would be re-broadcast on RAI1 in the evening.

It was good news, a welcome surprise in these moments.

Shortly before the program, there was a live connection, on the TG, with our guys during the news.

PR = Great music returns in the early evening on RAI1, with the concert event IL VOLO UN’AVVENTURA STRAORDINARIA at the Arena of Verona.

Here they are, they should be connected with us, we see them: Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca. Good evening to you guys, what is the emotion in this moment, it was a very special concert, today it would be, unfortunately, impossible to do it (because of the virus).

P = Hi, good evening, we are very happy that RAI 1 has chosen our first concert in Verona, hoping that it can give, at this moment, in this difficult period, a moment of joy to all the people who are at home.

G = We, on the other hand, are all locked in the house, but with so much hope that all this will pass soon.

I = There is a great desire to start again, to embrace us, to give a hug, perhaps immense, but we are at home and we will make it.

PR = Well, thank you, hope is this.

P = Thank you all.

IL_VOLO_interview_TG

At the beginning of the recording of the concert, there is a brief appearance of the boys recorded now, where Piero Ignazio and Gianluca wish everyone a good viewing, here is the fragment.

P = Good evening, like all of you, we are also at home, but as you can see, even if separated, you can be united.

G = In this difficult period for our country and for the whole world, we are called to do our part. There are those in the front line, like doctors, nurses, to whom our thanks go, and those who continue to work to guarantee the necessary services and all of us citizens, staying in our homes.

I = Feeling united becomes a necessity, and so, in order to be close to all of you, waiting to be able to embrace each other again, we thought of bringing our music to your homes.

P = This evening you will see our concert at the Arena in Verona, a unique evening of great emotions has come and we would like to relive it together with you.

G = This time we too will be spectators like you, imagining spending this evening together.

I = Good viewing.

Concert 2015 02

IL VOLO 2015 Verona Concert – Click Here

It was the third time that the concert was broadcast on RAI, the first time, it had obtained the maximum audience of the evening, but it was foreseeable, it was the first concert immediately after the victory of Sanremo and Il Volo was at the maximum audience.

The second time it aired in 2016 and still did its best on TV.

This was the third time and second replay. Five years have passed since that concert, but we find out how it went this time through an enthusiastic message from Michele Torpedine.

Concert 2015 03

On RAI 1 Il Volo conquers viewers with 15% share, winning the TV ratings of the evening.

These are the words of Torpedine:

“Happy for yesterday!! But the best thing is all the messages that are coming, to me and the boys, from the people who are currently in the hospital and are not experiencing a good situation … and who despite everything have found the strength to write to us that thanks to the ilvolomusic concert yesterday they spent a more serene evening! I think this is the most beautiful result.”

Concert 2015 04

Throughout the concert, there were moments of commercial breaks, which were then removed from the entire video.

Before each of these moments the boys appeared with simple messages:

I = I stay at home, and you? Let’s come back after the advertisement.

G = The music continues, don’t go away.

P = The emotions aren’t over yet, in a little while.

And here are some photos of the concert, published by RAI1.

Concert 2015 05

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Concert 2015 08

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What can I say, they are always great satisfactions!

Did you enjoy reviewing the concert?

~ Daniela ~

 

Credit to owners of all photos and videos.

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…

 

The Return of John from CT

 

I’m Back!

It’s been over a year since my last post due to my crazy work schedule, my new photography hobby, spending time in Colombia, South America and in Yorkshire, England. Now I finally have the time to get back into full “Il Volo” mode. Needless to say, the boys have been with me every day, safely tucked in the playlists of my iPhone, constantly at my side through all my adventures, the endless late nights at the office, providing joy and comfort during all the great times and some pretty difficult ones as well. Before I go on to review the two concerts that I recently had the great privilege of attending, I’d like to mention a few other topics that have been on my mind.

Music Makes The World Go ‘Round

I was born in 1961. As a kid I was always surrounded by music at home. I grew up with The Beatles. I SO wanted to BE Paul McCartney. I worshipped John Lennon. My late teens and 20’s found me dancing to the beats of Blondie and The Pretenders in the new wave rock clubs of downtown New York City. Then it Was Springsteen and Billy Joel. World music. Latin Music. Colombian Folk. I even went through a country music phase as well. As a “grownup”, my tastes moved towards adult contemporary culminating with an absolute love for Adele. My 50th birthday surprisingly brought me to an appreciation of some classical music. I’ve been through them all. Every genre, every stage of my life zigging from this and zagging to that. And then on the morning of February 15, 2015, it happened. My Italian language study group accidentally stumbled upon the YouTube video of the boys singing “O Sole Mio.” Everything stopped. Who were these guys? Was there more? We discovered all their songs. This was very different – for me personally, they made an instant and profound impact. Those voices. The harmonies. The melodies. The lyrics. Their personalities. I had to hear ALL their songs. I had to STUDY them. I had to translate them. I had to dissect every word they said and every note they sang. At the same time, my interest in European travel and Italian cuisine and culture were at its peak. Every aspect of my life was starting to weave itself around Italia. Then came the irony of ironies: “Notte Magica” and Florence. Opera. John listening to opera! And then– “Musica che resta” – Music that remains. Music that lasts. They say in life they save the best for last. I am so grateful that during my life’s journey I had all this music to follow me around. You should be too. Music is wonderful. Music is important. And if this is the music that will matter to me for the rest of my life, then I’m happy. Very happy.

“Amame” and the Spanish market

As soon as most of us heard the songs on the Spanish language “Amame” album, many of us probably scratched our heads and thought of only one thing: “Why?” As a native Spanish speaker, I’ll tell you why. There are 400 million native Spanish speakers in the world. Figure out how many are female and how many are under the age of 20. That group just became an instant audience for Il Volo. Ever see the videos of screaming girls at the airports in Mexico City and Buenos Aires and Santo Domingo waiting for the boys to arrive? Instant audience. The modern reality is that musical artists generate a large portion of their income form touring. And more song sales generate more ticket sales. And to generate those song sales you need larger audiences. Do you think the “business” of Il Volo is going to survive with only traditional Italian “Bel Canto” songs and “Pop Opera” hits? It can’t. It won’t. This was pure marketing genius. And I proved it to myself with my Spanish speaking friends and relatives. I played “Amame” for them. They immediately acknowledged it sounded “different.” And the difference became clear. The voices. The talent. The arrangements were catchy and fun, the boys stood out even when their voices were submerged in the tropical Latin rhythms. While today much of this genre of music is laced with negative themes and/or sex, the boys did it with thought-provoking, positive ideas such as dedication, romance, love, overcoming life’s difficulties etc. I introduced them to their other music. My “audience” expanded their musical horizons just like Il Volo expanded ours. They were hooked. If this is what it takes to maintain their commercial success and longevity, I’m all for it and we should all appreciate it.

Five Years for John. Ten Years for the boys.

My five years with the boys brought me to concerts in Connecticut in 2016 and 2017, Verona in 2017, and Rome in 2019. Finally, “The Best of 10 Years” tour had arrived with two concerts for me, the first on Feb. 1 at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut (Row 2 Orchestra) and the second as a gift at the Wang Theater in Boston on Feb. 3. (Row 1 Orchestra).

A reminder of some of my previous “Il Volo Concert Rules”: #1. Buy the best tickets you can possibly afford. Start saving NOW for the next concert. The reality is that not everyone can afford a $500+ Meet & Greet Row 1 or Row 2 seat, but believe me, it is worth it. Seeing them 10 feet away from you – seeing every movement, every expression, every twinkle in their eyes is an experience you will never forget. #2. Don’t waste time holding up a smartphone trying to record it all. You will miss out on a lot. Concentrate on each individual word and the sounds you are hearing. #3. Learn some Italian. It will add a new dimension to what you are experiencing. #4. If you are doing the Meet & Greet, prepare! After all these years I still see fans walking up sheepishly to the boys shaking their hands, taking the official photo, and slink away in disappointment. Practice what you are going to say. Don’t waste valuable time convincing them that your grandmother’s house in Italy was in the village right next to theirs. Instead, thank them for the joy they’ve brought into your lives. Tell them which is your favorite song. Give them a big hug. They are so friendly and approachable. Your time with them is about 30 seconds. Make it memorable!

New rule for 2020: Register with the Official Fan Club and go to the soundcheck. This is a MUST. The modest yearly fee is worth it and you also get to meet other fans from around the world online. I met a couple of lovely ladies from the club in the lobby and we had a great time in advance of the concert. The Boston soundcheck started at 5:20pm when they escorted us into the empty theater and we got to sit in the tenth row and take it all in. There were about 20 fan club participants and the check lasted about 20 minutes. They rehearsed different passages from a variety of songs to be performed. They adjust the system volumes and the lighting and the orchestra members get to prepare and adjust their instruments. It is so cool to watch. And then, when they were done, the boys jumped off the stage and came down to hang out with the fans for about 10 minutes. Think about it. 20 fans. 3 Il Volos. 10 minutes. Everyone had plenty of time to joke around and chat and hug and take selfies and ask them questions. It was incredible! And it is basically FREE! They do announce at the beginning that there is no guarantee that you will have time to interact with the boys depending on their time restraints but I think it’s worth taking the chance. Afterwards, we were allowed to exit the theater into the lobby until the 715pm-730pm door opening. Use the time to mingle. I met the Mintons and others. Share your stories.

It is important to note that the current tour is comparable to a “Greatest Hits” record, spanning their entire career. Although I would have loved to hear more selections from their recent “Musica” album, I feel the setlist was a good selection of older and recent, classic and modern, Italian and English (plus two in Spanish), dramatic and sentimental, calm and vibrant. Each show lasted approximately 2hrs 5min without any intermissions.

The setlist of 26 songs was as follows, with a slightly different mix between Connecticut & Boston: Nessum Dorma, Granada, Il Mondo, Un Amore Cosi’ Grande, Surrender, Memories, Bridge Over Troubled Water, No Puede Ser, Arriverderci Roma, My Way, Caruso, Maria, Mattinata, O’Paese d’o Sole, Delilah, Core ‘ngrato, People, Smile, ‘O Surdato ‘nnamurato, Tonight, She’s Always A Woman, Where do I begin (Love Story), Mamma, Libiamo ne’lieti calici, O Sole Mio, Volare, and finally, a triple long Grande Amore while they jump around the stage waving at everyone until the climactic end.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. They get better year after year. Just when you think they’ve reached new heights, they top themselves each time. Their voices have matured. Their performances are nearly flawless (except when Ignazio fumbled the opening to Grande Amore and burst out laughing). They are a joy to watch as they joke and chat between songs. Jump up and give them the standing ovations they deserve; they will acknowledge them and they do appreciate them. Yell out “Bravo” at the top of your lungs, or “Bravi” if more than one is on stage. They love that stuff and they will deserve it. They are the same humble, down-to-earth, professional, enchanting group of guys that we all know and love.

And finally, as fast as it came, it all passed by, and came to an end. The lights come back on, and your head is shaking back and forth not believing what you just heard and saw. “The Best of 10 Years”. Oh yes. It was.

John

IL VOLO FOR L’AQUILA “PERDONANZA CELESTINIANA” by Daniela

This year is also the tenth anniversary of another event, but very sad, that concerned Italy at that time – the Aquila earthquake – a series of seismic shocks that destroyed most of the villages of Abruzzo in the province of Aquila and claimed 309 victims.

We all know that Gianluca Ginoble is a native of Abruzzo, and we know his sensitivity to his homeland, which he loves so much. Several times I heard from Gianluca that he wanted to do something, really useful for this land.

I am sure that Gianluca will have pushed a lot for this event and, knowing the sensibility of Ignazio and Piero, surely he will not have done much to convince them.

The event was announced by TG ROSETO, with this article from which I translate the most important parts.

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TG Roseto Article – Click Here

On 26 August at 9.30 pm at the Teatro del Perdono, Piazzale di Collemaggio, the Music Show, stories and emotions entitled “Il Volo per L’Aquila” will be held, which will be accompanied by the Grand Symphony Orchestra of the Italian Conservatories, conducted by master Leonardo De Amicis.

The musical group of Il Volo, Gianluca Ginoble, Ignazio Boschetto, Piero Barone and have decided to pay homage to the city of L’Aquila on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the earthquake giving up their compensation, lending their voices and their talent for free with the will of leave something beautiful and real to the city.

Places on the Prato are free. The 1500 chairs are paid and everyone will pay, even the authorities. The proceeds of the tickets will be used to support boys who will be trained at the conservatory.

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(photo during the rehearsals of the concert)

Really a beautiful initiative, thanks to the great heart and the availability of Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio, very commendable.

I liked a passage on the article, it was written that everyone, including personalities, will pay for the ticket (only 15 euros). Yes, because here, in the various concerts, often the celebrities or at least the personalities, enter without paying. Unseemly.

With the boys, on the stage, there will also be Alessandro Quarta.

Another thing that pleased me to read about the article, is that the orchestra conductor will be Leonardo De Amicis, the one who directed them in TI LASCIO UNA CANZONE, remember?

Here they are, together in this photo.

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Gianluca, 10 years ago, sang for the L’Aquila earthquake, you remember a little child who was singing Gounod’s “AVE MARIA”,  also this year IL VOLO, will dedicate a particular song, during this event and it will be “AVE MARIA MATER MISERICORDIAE”.

Guys, there is no song more beautiful and suitable than this one. You will sing it with all your heart and we will listen to you with great affection.

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It rained in the afternoon, big clouds are still in the sky, and now the show begins.

And here’s to the TGR Abruzzo news, what they said about them. 

PR = Waiting in L’Aquila for the IL VOLO concert.

Full of appointments, the PERDONANCE program, many tourists in the city.

We connect live with L’Aquila, where the 725th edition of the PERDONANCE is going on, tonight there will be the IL VOLO concert, live for you with Gianluca Ginoble interviewed by Daniela Senepa.

DS = I’m here on the stage of Collemaggio, where there is rehelase of IL VOLO that is trying the AVE MARIA. Sorry everyone, we are the TGR of Abruzzo, turn to the camera, excuse yourself guys from the orchestra. IL VOLO, for  AQUILA, you are trying the Ave Maria, there is truly your embrace for this city, which is trying to re-rise.

P = We are very close to this city, also because 10 years ago, when the tragedy happened, we were at TI LASCIO UNA CANZONE, the program where we met, we lived fully that moment, there was also the maestro De Amicis, maestro , come here beside us.

DS = Here behind me, on the other hand, there is an extraordinary violin, we listened to the tests and I assure you that my heart beats fast, then when it sings IL VOLO, accompanied by these orchestral boys is a very important moment, (she he turns to Ignazio), because it’s not just your art, but also what you dedicate it to, so it’s a very important moment.

I = Absolutely, we are honored to be here and to be able to sing for all the Aquilans, and above all for all the people who came here to give a symbol of solidarity, for what happened 10 years ago, all united together, music, art, and that’s what we do every day. We must say thank you, certainly to Leonardo De Amicis, who invited us, and we could not say no, but thanks also to Alessandro Quarta, he too, like us, came to help, to spend an evening in music, all together.

DS = Gianluca, I’ll call you by name, because you were born here, you’re from Abruzzo, born in Roseto. Teramo has suffered a lot from the earthquakes of central Italy, I know that for you, it is a strong emotion, every time.

G = Yes, I’m not from L’Aquila, but I feel a little for Aquila, because 10 years ago, immediately after the earthquake, in the following months, they moved many Aquilans to the coast, so many were boys of my age, I made friends with them, but then, I never saw them again. Maybe tonight they will be here and we will sing for them and for all the inhabitants of the Aquila who are here to spend moments of joy and happiness.

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Is evening, the tickets are all sold out, people arrive with great traffic difficulties and parking.

But then it all begins, and “it is music, the real one that remains.” 

“IL MONDO”

“MUSICA CHE RESTA”

“GRANDE AMORE”

At the beginning this next video, the master De Amicis, says that he has known the boys since they were really small, and he finds them again, after 10 years, grown up, sensitive and immensely artistically, a gift to the Aquila and to all the people.

Then he calls the mayor, to offer the boys a little recognition.

The mayor says that they have seen so many concerts in L’Aquila, but they have rarely seen so many people, so much emotion, for such an event, which has joyfully paralyzed Aquila. “You have given us indescribable emotions, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

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(in the photo the boys with the maestro De Amicis and the mayor of L’Aquila)

Here is another short video by a fan:

“MUSICA CHE RESTA”

“A CHI MI DICE”

In this photo, during their stay in L’Aquila, Gianluca, Ignazio and Piero also had time to visit a summer camp for small children.

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But still, a series of beautiful shots of the event.

Guys, I have no more words and I want to conclude with these shared by Gianluca. Mr. Ercole Ginoble shared it with the maestro De Amicis.

Daniela

 

“Abruzzo is a wonderful land for many reasons. The biggest reason is the emotion that provokes seeing a city wounded in the depths, like L’Aquila, react to one of the most disconcerting tragedies that nature can unleash with such great strength! At 10 years from that earthquake, seeing 20 thousand people warm a square there made you more proud to be there last night! ” ❤️

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Credit to owners of all photos and videos.