It all started last November 8, 2021, when we were all scrambling for tickets for the front row, fingers ready to pounce on the keys, precisely at 10:00a EST! In the waiting room we were, at tickemaster.com, impatiently waiting as the countdown when from 10 to 0! Blast off, and there I was, adeptly moving around the site, page to page, frantically looking for the best front row seats, alas, I got 4 good ones, pretty much center, right in front of the stage, one more key and WHAT??? What do you mean it won’t go through??? After sweating many bullets, I was finally able to get in on my work computer and grab the last 2 tickets in the front row for Betty and I and two for Chris and her sister in the second row. They actually had better seats. Then Magdalena wanted 2 tickets and 2 tickets for Gin and Lorna. Ok, my 8 ticket limit was met. Oops, we forgot about Barb! We managed to snag her the last front row seat. Ah, just waiting til March now.
It was Christmas, New Year’s, Gian’s birthday and Valentine’s Day. Just 6 more weeks! Wait, what?? The entire tour had now been postponed til September/October! Oh no… Betty was coming from New Orleans and my new friend Gale was coming from Portland, Oregon. I had to quickly call them and tell them so they could change their flights and hotel. Gale was staying with me. Of course, originally, mom was not here, so it was going to be a full house for a few nights in September!
Ok, a little more time to plan things and finish the condolences book for Ignazio’s father. I had procrastinated way too long. I replanned it several times, starting with Shutterfly and ending up just doing a PDF and having it printed locally for way cheaper! It really did come out nice, almost too nice! Then we found we couldn’t take bags into the Fox this time, nothing bigger than 4 x 6, or as big as your phone. But wait, Jana had a plan…how was I going to sneak in his booklet???
I ended up getting this black fake fur wrap that had a black lining. So, here’s the plan… I’ll cut a slit in the bottom of the lining, stick the book in between some foam and reseal it with Velcro. Yeah, that will work. 😊 I also planned to give Ignazio 3 of them, one for him and one each for his mom and sister. Well, the printer made it SO nice that they were printed on heavier paper and I did have them GBC bound and they were twice as heavy. I also printed their birthday wishes from their last birthdays. Could not get all of that in my little wrap, so I did the one book for Igna and the 3 packs of wishes. I ended up getting a foam seat cushion that kind of had layers in it and I was able to push them apart and squeeze the books in there, then put the cushion back in the wrap and seal it up. It was a little awkward, but no one even questioned it. However, it did become a nuisance, as I had to ask people to keep holding it. Betty nicknamed it “the Beast!” lol!
In the midst of all this chaos, I got laid off from Ford the end of April. Luckily, I had already been job hunting and was prepared, but now I had no choice. I couldn’t be too picky. Lucky or unlucky, I got hired and fired, in less than 2 weeks. Ok, no more lawyers for me. Then mom was here and I was so depressed! I was fortunate to find a job at the Park West Art Gallery, in mid-July, just down the street. But I was so stressed out! I also reserved a mini-bus for our trans for our driver to get us to the Fox and back. It was tough to find, but luckily Hertz had one.
The summer was quickly slipping away, plans were being made with Betty and Gale, and what we’d do and where we’d go, etc. Who had what tickets. It was a bit crazy. Then August was gone and Labor Day was here! One more week and it would be all over!
With the new job, I couldn’t take off the time I wanted, so had to work til noon on Friday and then work Monday as well. I really could have used Monday off! Luckily, Chris had vacation all week, so she generously volunteered to get BOTH Betty and Gale from the airport. So, Chris got Betty in the morning. Her flight was delayed, so she was about an hour or so late getting in. But it all worked out, she got here and we chatted a bit, then went to lunch. I went to get a haircut and Chris went home, waiting to pick up Gale at about 6:30p, as her flight was delayed as well. We all met at our “other” favorite Italian restaurant and I took Gale and Betty back with me. Betty stayed at a nearby Hilton. And, just to add injury to an already chaotic weekend, I banged my shin pretty badly on the bathtub Friday morning, so it was swollen and sore with a nasty bruise, the whole weekend!
We slept in a bit; Saturday was finally here! We got up and got ready and picked up Betty from the hotel and went to brunch. After that, we just came back to the apartment and I tried to take a nap before we got ready. I put on the Pompeii video to entertain the girls while I dozed for a bit. Oh, forgot to tell you, before all this, a few girls cancelled (thankfully) and our driver kind of missed picking up the mini-bus, as he was late and they closed at noon. He got there at five after and they were gone and locked! So, we were scrambling, trying to figure out how we were going to find trans for 9 people! Sharon, bless her heart, wanted to drive herself anyway, so that was one less, we were down to 8. Lorna ended up cancelling at the last minute and Barb had cancelled out earlier. Les had a Yukon, that seated 7 and himself. It was truly a miracle, but it worked out perfectly. We all met in Dearborn, although I hadn’t planned on driving all that way myself and back, but we had no choice. Les picked us up in Dearborn about 5:30p and we were on our way downtown! Just a few more hurdles to go!
Cruising down I-75 we went and arrived at the Fox around 6p or so. Thankfully, they were letting folks in and there was not the chaos as there was the last time. I saw Deb and Jeannette in the first lobby area by this table, along with Rose Marie and we all said hello. It didn’t dawn on me that that was the OMGVIP table for the meet/greets. This is the first time I didn’t buy MG tx ahead of time. So we had gone in and they were usually in the interior lobby area. I asked and they said, oh, that’s the table out there. Ok, we need to go back out there. So, we had to go to guest services so they could DEactivate our tickets, so they could REactivate them when we got back in. So far, my plan was working, this was the last hurdle! We got out there, got our MG tx and went back in. We were through! About a 10 or 15 min wait and the doors opened about 6:30p. After playing musical chairs with the tickets, we were allowed into the magical realm of the theatre. Down we went, at least 2 or 3 checkpoints to get to the front row, and an extra bracelet for orchestra pit. We made it. Me, Betty, and the Beast, found our seats and we sat. I didn’t realize that Donna and Sharon were to the right of us. It was nice to sit amongst a few friends. Concert wasn’t to start until about 7:45p as we heard they had had some trouble with the sound check. It was 7:35p and Sharon made it to the front row. When they started to sing, you could tell there were some issues with the sound, but I got over it quickly!
It started just about on time. Out came the orchestra and Giampiero. The music started and our 2.5 year wait was over! They appeared like ghosts in the smoky lights and then the mirage became real. It was the usual song list, starting with Ecstasy of Gold, and on down the line. They were awesome, incredible, warm, funny, joking around, like the guys we knew and missed. I even forgot for a few hours that I had a bad bruise on my leg and all of the chaos that led up to those moments. They always tell the Detroit audience it’s like coming home to Detroit, because this is where they started out. Ok, it never gets old – lol! They had some new jokes. Poor Ignazio said he felt like a white salami. It did look like he had put on a few pounds. He was looking so very thin, but certainly far from being overweight. Just so glad they finally found some tailors to fit Ignazio right.
Their solos were incredible and Gianluca really brought down the house with “If I can Dream.” Of course the video Gestapo was in full force in the front row. It’s so not fair. People in the middle where they can’t get to, can tape all they want! But at least you could take pictures. I think I got a few good shots. 😊 Certainly loved Igna’s “All By Myself.” His intro is that he wanted to sing songs recorded by women. Has anyone had the heart to tell him that Eric Carmen recorded it before Celine Dion? 😉 Of course Eric’s version pales in comparison to Igna’s! And Piero’s staple of E Lucevan le Stelle was superb as always.
My personal surprise favorite was “Funiculi, Funicula!” Haven’t heard that since like the first concert back in 2014. The music started playing and I whispered to Betty, “what song is that?” Then they started singing and I started singing!
Somewhere near the end, I think it was the song “Here’s to You!” (but I can’t remember) the guys jumped from the stage and came into the audience. Igna sang to Mama Rita (Ruggiero). The lady in pink with a pink hat!
Somewhere in the speaking portion, Ignazio was talking about something and he was having a hard time saying the word “tastes” with the “es” on the end. Donna, pretty sure that Igna could not hear her, started laughing. Alas, Igna did hear her and strolled over to our side of the stage and went right to her and said, “come here…” Here is Donna’s literal 15 seconds of fame…. (I added both Sharon’s and mine. Mine is first and came out a bit sharper, Sharon’s caught a bit more in the beginning.)
She was just slightly embarrassed…. 😉 But it was all in fun.
A few more songs and they announced Libiamo would be their goodbye song. But we all knew they had to sing Grande Amore. I really thought they’d try to sing the English version they wrote. Especially here, but Grande Amore in Italiano, it was! We didn’t have the pleasure of hearing them sing our national anthem, but as usual, it was over before we knew it. Standing ovations and a promise to come back next time! It was sad though, the Fox had barely sold half the theatre and one of the ushers, who is a friend of mine, told me they were bringing folks down from the upper balconies to fill seats on the main floor. They also didn’t have the screens like they usually do.
Ok, concert over. One last hurdle to my plan. Get the book to Igna! Since just Betty, Gale, and I had the MG passes, the others waited for us down the street. I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible, as it was a long ride home for me from Dearborn. They ushered us all over to the right of the theater to await the guys. We figured we were going to be moved along to another area, but everyone stayed there. Of course, at those prices, there were not too many folks doing MG.
While we waited, I decided to look at my pictures. Betty and I walked up a ways near the back and sat down on the end. As we looked at my pics, a nice gentleman sat behind us and seemed very interested and joined in the viewing. As we got to chatting, he said he was part of the guys’ Ferrari ride downtown the night before. His name was Tom and he worked for the Ferrari dealer, just a few miles from my apartment in West Bloomfield. What a coincidence! He loved my pictures and was very interested in the Flight Crew site. He said the Italian Consulate contacted them and they drove the cars down for the guys to drive. He had some other pictures that hadn’t circulated the net. See below! Looks like our guys, Barbara, and Tom, had a great time! Before our MG, Barbara came out to gather him and another group for a special meeting and off he went.
After he left, I decided I needed to take the secret out of the beast. The Velcro worked really well and it was kind of tough getting it out of there, but I managed. I ended up leaving the seat cushion there, since it had served its purpose. I showed it to Rose Marie. Then the OMG guy said to get in line. Gale was standing in the front of the line and we just walked up to her, but we didn’t realize it was the front of the line! No one really minded, as most always want to be last anyway, so every part of my plan worked. I’m a logistic genius! Haha! 😉 Betty was first, I was next, and Gale after me. I gathered my presents and handed each of the guys their birthday wishes. They seemed to like them. I then handed Igna my pride and joy, my months of planning and labor, and sleepless nights. I presented him the book and said, “I made this for you for your dad.” He looked at the first page and then I wanted to make sure he saw the last page with the Flight Crew. I said, “and here is your Flight Crew!” He got somewhat excited, quickly looked at the pictures and landed on Lisa Joy’s photo. “Where is she?” he pointed frantically. I looked at him and said, “I don’t know, she’s in Philadelphia!” Like who am I, chopped liver?? Apparently! The other two were looking over his shoulder at the pictures. I’m hoping he appreciates it later, or when he gets older. So, the deed was done. My promise of getting all of your condolences to Ignazio was done. The usual, turn around, say cheese, and it was all over. The police were at it again, making Betty and I go to the way far left out of the doorway there, so we couldn’t even watch Gale interact with the guys. I don’t get why they are so mean! Like what do they think 2 little old ladies are going to do? Hmmm…. sneak something into the Fox?? 😊 But he was a lot bigger than us, so we had no choice. ☹ Alas, it was over – Betty, the Beast, and I, hobbled up the two short flights of stairs to the outside air. Into the night, to meet up with the rest of the girls! I have to say, it was the most gorgeous September evening ever. We had perfect weather. Was about 80 with clear skies and a beautiful moon.
Above and below are pages from the condolences book. I took just the covers and key pages. The first written page is what I wrote on behalf of the Flight Crew Staff. Our dear friend, Jo Ann, translated it into Italian for me (the above is in English). I had several more pages of pictures and the book in total was 36 pages!
Was thinking, Il Volo concerts are like Lay’s Potato Chips – you can’t go to just one and not want for more! I could only afford one this year, but fearless Sharon went on to Cleveland a few days later!