(No offense Annie, but if I had a Granddaughter that looked like that I wouldn’t take her with me to meetthe Boys! Look at Gianluca. He knows what I’m talkin’ about. ~Marie)
(Ahh, that’s better. Just Annie and the Guys. What Gianluca? Lose something? ~Marie)
I just wanted to share my experience at the concert in Toronto on June 24, 2014. I went to the concert with my Daughter and Granddaughter, which I thought was great for all of us to enjoy the same kind of music. I had seen them last year at Molson Amphitheatre and didn’t see them as close as I would have liked, so when I found out they were coming to Toronto this year, I was determined not only to get good seats, but to do the meet and greet as well. My Daughter and Granddaughter agreed. I was not disappointed! The concert was great and we had good seats. At one point when we came back from the rest room, they were down off the stage and we almost bumped into them, when they saw my Granddaughter the did a double take, I think they thought she was cute and at that point I think I was invisible to them.
After we got to our seats, one of them ( I think Piero) yelled out, “I bet you just came back from the washroom“, of course we had, but we just waved our T shirts in the air and said that we were out there buying them, but we had a good laugh about it. Afterwards at the meet and greet when it was our turn Gianluca was holding his arms wide open for a hug, but it was not for me, but my Granddaughter and I felt a little foolish. Anyway we got autographs and pictures taken and hugs, it went by so fast I thought maybe I dreamed it all. What an experience I’ll never forget it and hope to be able to do it again. ( I saw a picture posted ATIV of Ignazio giving Piero a wallet for his Birthday and they were standing outside Luis Vuitton store which an area I’m in often and only wish I had been there then.) I hope this hasn’t been too long. I just felt I had so much to say.
You know, the whole day before your life changes forever, it’s just an ordinary day.
Here is what started that next day (Grab a cup of tea. Pull up a chair. This is going to take a while.)
After seeing that hotel room view (Chap. 3) and thinking there was a possibility that The Boys really were just above me, I noticed the gym was merely 10 steps from my door. I took that as an omen. I know the Boys work out mornings. I got up at 6:30 a.m., threw on a t-shirt, sweat shorts and tennis shoes (no makeup – hair, well bad) and headed for the gym. No one there – Left.
7:00 – no one in the gym. 7:30 – no one in the gym. 8:00 – Two guys in the corner. Neither looked familiar.
I figured The Boys took off the night before if they were ever really there at all. I had been either sitting in a car or sitting at a concert for the better part of two weeks. At home I walk everyday. I was stiff and crampy so I hopped on a treadmill. Within five minutes someone jumped on the one beside mine. IT WAS PIERO!
Even writing that made my heart thump!
I took a deep breath and wondered why, since the place was almost empty and there were plenty of machines, he hopped on one less than six inches away. I vowed not to do a fan thing and just kept walking. He immediately said, “I see you.” I said, “Yeah? Well, I saw you too.” He laughed. I made Piero laugh! I will never forget that exchange! At this point I was walking to the pace of, “Oh Boy, Oh Boy, pause. Oh Boy, Oh Boy.”
Later, when I got back to my room I immediately wrote down everything I could remember. Michele made me run it all by her, word for word, in case I remembered more. Thanks Michele! I wrote a few more notes on a couple of envelopes in my purse in the car.
Here’s what I remember:
I told him I enjoyed the concert last night. He must have been in a chatty mood ’cause he kept talking. He asked what my favorite part of the concert was. I told him “everything” (my momma didn’t raise no fool!). I did say that I really liked the solo’s and the new Caruso arrangement. I asked him what his favorite part was. He said the big orchestra and the really nice indoor theater. He asked what I didn’t like. I told him the only thing I didn’t like was not being able to take pictures. He said that it was not their request, it was a rule of the theater. I asked him what he didn’t like. He honestly told me a few things. Think I’ll keep them to myself.
I had an easier time remaining sane then you might think. My nervous energy was lessened by the fact that I was on a treadmill the entire time. However, about this time I had a thought – “I can’t believe you’re walking beside me talking like a normal person when last night 4,000 people were screaming your name.”That made me pretty nervous and I tried not to think those thoughts again!
I asked him if there were sound problems last night. I said I thought I saw Ignazio giving hand signals to the sound guy. He agreed and said that it was only in the beginning of the show though.
I told him I thought I saw him drinking more water than usual during the performance. He said, “Not really. When I do this a lot. I need much water.” It’s hard to describe what he did, but he opened his mouth and made a hard whooshing sound out of his mouth and nose at the same time. I don’t think the average person could do this with such amazing force! He showed me this several times in a row. I said that I could see how it would make his mouth and throat dry. He said it did. He then told me that his solo “No Puede Ser” was the hardest song he ever sang.
Piero said he was glad they had two days off and could get some “good sleep.” I told him I thought his voice was sounding a little tired this morning. He said, “No, I always sound like Barry White in the morning.” Wouldn’t you love for me to say he serenaded me with a Barry White tune right then and there? He didn’t. Hey, a girl can only get so lucky and I was currently thanking my lucky stars, God, my parents, his parents, the treadmill manufacturer and everyone and everything within a hundred mile radius! All I said was, “that’s not a very bad thing, Piero.” He laughed again!
He asked how many concerts I had been to. I told him four. He asked which ones. I said Vienna, Virginia first. He said, “Oh yes, rain at first.” We talked a little about Sterling Heights and Elgin, but I don’t recall what was said. I know he talked about them being outdoors. I told him that last night was my last concert. He said he had 3 more concerts in the U.S. and Canada. I asked if he then would get to go home. He said no, they will leave the U.S. and go to… He has a heavy Italian accent you know and I had trouble understanding the word “Cannes.” At one point I said, “Canada?” He said, “No Cannes. Kah-inn-zzz.” I got it. I asked when he would get home. He said not until July 6th or 8th. I had another thought here. “I’m awake, right? No one is going to believe this. Not even me!”
He asked where I lived. I told him Ohio. He said, “I know Ohio,” but looked doubtful. I said, “You’ve been to Cleveland Ohio.” He said, “Oh Yes.” I could see the light go on in his eyes.
Keep in mind we were side by side this whole time. I’m still walking and he’s started some serious running. I wanted a brief full body view, so I slid back a little on the treadmill. My sneaker hit the side and made a squeaking noise. He grabbed my upper arm and said, “be very careful.” I said, “Thank you. I can’t believe you’re running so fast and still talking.” He said, “I run like this every morning.”
I noted the timer on my treadmill said 30.58 minutes.
Piero soon stopped running and talking (darn). He got on some leg machine behind me. I was still walking and trying hard to remember every word of our conversation. Pretty soon I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked around and it was Piero. He said, “Will you stop please?“ (WHAT?!!) “Sure.” Of course, I couldn’t find the off switch and I pulled that plug people use to attach themselves to the machine (Michele is still laughing about that). He said,“Can I take a picture of your tattoo?” Ok, right then I thought I might get sick. He knew who I was! He could not have read the small tattoo on my ankle while I was walking on the treadmill! Now was my chance for proof of our meeting! I said, “Sure, if I can get my camera and take one of you.” He said, “sure”. He got down and took a couple of pictures. I flew to my room got my camera and called Michele.
When I returned he was back on the leg machine. He got up and asked me to join him in the picture. No make-up and dripping with sweat, I refused. He grabbed a barbel and posed for these:
After I took those two pictures do you know what he said? “Is that enough?” What a man! Then I said, “Piero, I’m with the Flight Crew.” He said, “I know.” (Oh yes he did!) I said, “then you know I will probably write about this.” He said, “Yes, certainly.”
I got back on the treadmill. Pretty soon, tap-tap again! (Swear to God!) This time I was sure he was going to invite me aboard that big black bus headed for Italy. I know there’s water. I would paddle! I pulled the plug (stop it Michele) and got down. He took my right hand in both of his and said, “I’m happy you enjoyed the concerts. I hope I see you again next year.” I said, “Oh, you will!”
He put his towel around his neck, picked up his water bottle and went out the door. I don’t know how long I stood there staring at the door wearing a t-shirt that I hoped was wet from sweat and not drool or tears.
My Dear Piero,
If by chance you’re reading this and I now think there’s a good chance you are, I tried to tell this as accurately as I could. I hope you agree.
You are not only in possession of one of the three greatest voices alive, but you are one of the nicest people I’ve met anywhere. You have surely raised my expectations of you. Next year and the year after that and ten years after that, after you receive much more deserved notoriety, I expect you to be as honest and real with as much kindness and grace as you showed me on that most unforgettable morning.
I guess the place to begin is before the concert. I have finally met all of my Board Sisters! I’ve been waiting a long time. They are so cool! I couldn’t get enough just looking at them. Elaine, if you ever do run away with Gianluca I would like to have first crack at your patient husband. What a gentleman!
I’m not sure I can do the next part justice. To say that The Flight Crew is well known is an understatement! I was privileged to meet many Flight Crew Members and shook hands with a bunch of you who read this site all the time, but never comment! I can’t begin to list everyone. Here are some of the wonderful people I did meet:
Had a lovely conversation with two members of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
The Chicago Fan Club – What a fun and spunky group they are!
By-the-way Irene, you are not the only one I met who is contemplating a tattoo.
I was also lucky enough to run into the two ladies who were with me last year when I attacked that left dimple. At one point I looked around and all of us were surrounded by people! Many thanked me for our travel pictures, videos, news (In Case You Missed It – by name) and various articles. Several of you mentioned my poetry and remembered the titles of your favorites. Amazed – Grateful – Honored. Two women from Guatemala even knew all about us. One woman dragged her daughter over because she wanted to meet me, but was too shy to bother me. Me!?! Our stats show the numbers, but I never actually realized you are all out there! So, to those of you who read without commenting, Thank You Very Much!
Just so you know, quite a few of the non-commenters told me that those who of you who do comment speak well for them. If you can’t tell by now let me put it simply…I was overwhelmed!
Once again it was stupendous! Have I said that before? I’m running out of adjectives. Piero blew out candles on a birthday cake. Ignazio jumped off a six foot high stage. Him getting back up on the stage was pretty funny! Here are a few of my concert shots:
The Meet & Greet
Ignazio remembered who I was, (again!) he said, “You are everywhere”. I told him I had one more concert too. He said he remembered me from Vienna. (He actually said, “Venice”, but I knew what he meant.) This time no tricks. No set-ups. This was my last Meet & Greet. It was all for me! I told him, “Last year I got your left dimple. Hold on, I’m going in for the right one.” And I did. He laughed. Then he gave me a hug! Thankfully a photographer took a picture of it!
I hugged my other two Boys and stood for this picture. I don’t like the picture of me, but isn’t it a beauty of Our Guys?
Satisfied that we’d gotten our hugs from The Boys, the four of us piled into the car heading toward the hotel. Before we left the area, we noticed about 10 people standing by a fence. We also spotted “The Bus”. Naturally we pulled over and got out. Soon Piero came out heading for the bus. We led the group in singing Happy Birthday. He came over to the fence.
Then the other two came over.
You know, you think you’ll remember every word they say and everything you tell them, but you don’t. Afterwards your mind is blank. We sat around later telling each other what we remembered. At one point Michele and I had Ignazio to ourselves. He was leaning on the fence talking to us like he had nothing else in the world to do. I didn’t want to flash my camera in his face so I stepped to the side and took these:
I don’t know where Elaine was at this time, but I saw Kelly heading for Gianluca.
I tried to think of appropriate things to say to Ignazio. “I love you.” – Didn’t say that. “Please get in our car.” – Didn’t say that. “So, do you like really, really older women?” – No, didn’t say that either.
Instead I said things like: “Is your family with you?” “No, none.” “Are you tired? (stupid question) “Yes very tired”. “Are you missing home? (duh)” Yes, but happy to be here.” He said to me, “I have a tattoo too” (Like I didn’t intimately know all seven of them!). He pulled up his sleeve and showed MICHELE the “Born to Rock” on his upper arm. I was so thankful for the fence that separated us. I would have bit that tattoo! In a nice way, of course. Neither Michele nor I remember anything else that was said. We do remember that we quit talking to him before he turned and left us. You try looking into that face and thinking of something to say that’s not, well, what I really wanted to say (see above).
Our Dear Boys did not want to be separated from us by a fence. Security wanted them there. Gianluca compromised and was allowed to stand by the open gate. That’s where I got that beauty of he and Kelly below.
I know this is long, but I have to add this ~
If you’re thinking that Gianluca’s sweetness, vulnerability and love for his fans (us) is real and that he is much more than a voice, endearing tweets and selfies, you’re correct.
He smiled the sweetest smile of them all.
He stayed with us as long as he could.
He got as close as allowed.
He was still waving good-bye to us from the front of the bus when it pulled out.
If he’s the one your heart thumps hardest for, you have perfect taste!
Bye Kelly and Elaine. It was great finally spending time with you both.
Next: Michele and I continue on to Milwaukee. Yeah, it got even more incredible!
I attended 2 concerts his year—Newark on June 15 and Philadelphia on June 26.
Newark As we were waiting in the lobby of NJPAC for the doors to open, I mingled in the crowd and met some Flight Crew members whose names escape me (forgive me). I also met some of my facebook friends as well, and was happy to meet people from both groups and put faces to the names.
We finally got to our seats and the show started with everyone so excited when the boys came out on stage and starting singing! There were many, many standing ovations, and their voices could have blown the roof off of the place. I, for one, cried a great deal during the show.
Ignazio came down into the audience while singing “Maria” and knelt down to a woman who was sitting across the aisle from me. When he was ready to go back on the stage I asked him for a kiss on the cheek and he obliged! The show was nothing less than perfect! Our guys always outdo themselves and that night was no exception!
Philadelphia The Philadelphia concert at The Mann Center was a little different for me. We were sitting in the first row of the orchestra section, behind the pit. However, our seats were to the far right of the stage and there were no seats in front of us. The pit is sort of a semicircle shape, and between the pit and orchestra sections at this venue there was a platform that went completely around the back of the pit section that is the same height as the stage. This platform allowed entertainers to walk between the pit and orchestra sections. As each of the guys walked around on the platform at different times while singing, I was able to touch hands with them as they went around and greeted their excited fans.
I brought a sign that read: “Ignazio, un bacio per te” and when he was on our side of the stage and saw my sign, he blew me a kiss, and of course I blew one back! I was on Cloud 9.
The Mann is an outdoor venue (our seats were under cover though). Knowing it was going to be hot and humid, I brought a hand held folding fan, like the Spanish and Japanese women use. While I was fanning myself, toward the end of the show, Ignazio was on our side of the stage again and was fanning himself with his hand because it was so hot. I offered him my fan and he took it from me and was fanning himself during the number.
I was so excited that he was using my fan! Then, lo and behold, he brought it back to me! I told him to keep it (what was I thinking) but he gave it back, and I am so glad he did. That fan will NEVER be used again by me or anyone else (except of course, Ignazio if the need and opportunity arise again).
The girls who were sitting in the pit, some of them “Flight Crew” members, took pictures of Ignazio using the fan, and have posted them on Facebook, and tagged me as well. There are also professional photographer pictures from the concert that show Ignazio returning my fan with a big smile on his face. He is such a beautiful young man.
After the concert, I went to the Meet & Greet, and for the life of me I can’t remember a word or what went on when I came face to face with the guys! I do remember handing them letters that I had written, but they were immediately collected by the “guard” and placed on a table with everything else that was given to the boys, and then the woman who was taking pictures with my friend’s camera said I had to get my picture and leave. Last year’s M&G was much nicer, and even though it was also a blur to me, I didn’t feel like I was part of a herd of cattle as I did this year.
As much as I listen to the Il Volo CDs and watch their DVDs and Youtube videos, there is nothing like their presence on stage, with their voices lifting the roof off of buildings! And, of course, all their other attributes, which are too numerous to mention here.
All in all, the two concerts I attended this year were spectacular, and the interaction with Ignazio that I experienced at The Mann will be etched in my mind forever!
Maddie, Very cool story. Frame that fan! Thank you for telling. ~Marie
Flight Crew, Bing thinks “Ignazio, un bacio per te” means “Ignazio, a kiss for you”. Humm, don’t know how I feel about that.
Part One ~ Sterling Heights or A Game of Tug-of-war
4 concerts – 3 of them in 3 days! I followed Gianluca, Piero and Ignazio more than 2,000 car miles in two weeks! I don’t know about The Boys, but this Il Volo Fan is still tired.
I have already shared my Vienna experience with you, but here’s one more picture Leelee recently sent me.
You can see that one of your board members is an idiot! You can tell that Gianluca is looking at me and smiling. Just look at that glorious smile Ignazio is aiming straight at me! I missed it all because I was looking at the tennis shoes. Why?
Oh well! On to the Sterling Heights, Michigan, Freedom Hill Amphitheater. The Guys were so handsome in their formal black suits with Ignazio sporting a tie.
I am not going to repeat what you have heard here a hundred times. I can only tell you what you already know… The concert was awesome! There are no better voices in the world. There are no young men more handsome anywhere!
Up to now I have behaved myself. Haven’t thrown myself on the stage Haven’t screamed, “I Love You” during any vocal arrangement. I was reserved and polite all through the Vienna Concert and throughout this one. But come on folks. You know me. When it came to the Meet & Greet I tried to take My Boy home!
For those of you who are shaking your heads and rolling your eyes, I really didn’t do that! The picture was set up. I told them you would all expect me to try to drag Ignazio away. Of course, they went for it. Little did they know – If I could have dragged him away he would be here helping me write a whole different story!
Next Elgin – one of the most amazing and humbling days of my life.
Come in and share the love of life, friends and Il Volo!