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 to 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 us 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 asphalt 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. 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 beautiful 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. 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 late 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 share 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. 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 Saro” 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 of 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 on 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!
Ok, I thought we might all enjoy a little throwback to the Detroit concert last year, just about a year ago… Some fond memories of the guys and good friends. I miss them so, as I’m sure we all do right now. Impatiently awaiting their new album! Enjoy!
(I have to say, I just reread this myself and was pleasantly surprised, or maybe not, that I had actually forgotten some of this. It’s so amazing we have these archives for us to remember these magical moments!)
This year, we didn’t have to wait quite as long as last time. November 29th could not come quick enough though, as soon as we knew when the pre-sale tickets were going on sale. We were all waiting with fingers and credit cards ready at 10:00am EST to get our hands on the best seats we could. Ten AM hit and we were off. Our fingers flying like a tornado, tearing through all the codes, and commands, and “I’m not a robot” games! Then it was sticker shock for Detroit! $450 each! Ok, you only live once and it was front row. So, trying not to think about the price, we took a quick breath of recovery, and painfully punched in our credit card numbers! There, it was done. Our tax returns were coming soon, right?
Ok, fast forward – after many months of careful planning, the Detroit Il Volo Girls, were joined by a few out-of-towners for a fantastically planned evening. Most of us met at my place in Dearborn and were whisked off by our contracted driver in a Ford Transit to the original “Antonio’s” called Roman Village in South Dearborn. We had 3:30p reservations, as we did not know what kind of traffic we’d run into. We had a lovely meal and left about 5:30p. Due to the construction on I-75, there was a lot of traffic going south, so we just stayed on the side roads and got there in plenty of time; arriving approximately 5:45p. Thankfully, the box office was open, so we got our tickets from will call. We still had to wait a little bit for them to open the doors. I was anxiously waiting for the arrival of Marie and Leelee. As I was looking out the door, I saw them get out of the taxi! It was so good to see them – I had their front row tickets waiting for them. As soon as they got in the door, they were letting us in the lobby. We went through security, then quickly bought our souvenir t-shirt and little furry bag. Awaiting us in our VIP bag were the Il Volo wintergreen mints, another long, fuzzy, black bag with Il Volo on it, and a deck of cards with their picture on the box, and of course, our signed VIP badge for the night.
We were escorted to our seats. I sat on the end in the front row, with a direct view of where Gianluca would be standing. They were only about 5 feet or so from the stage. Our seats were so close, we could touch the stage. We mingled with the others and met up with old friends; making some new friends along the way. It was so great to see so many people you knew and remembered and who remembered you! Before you knew it, it was 7:30p and time to begin. They started pretty much on time.
The lights went down on the theatre, and they went up on the stage, a deep blue light created a reminiscent backdrop of the evening sky in Florence. The smoke machine started to create a subtle breeze in the air. A quiet hush fell over the audience as the orchestra members strolled out onto the stage. The crowd clapped politely. Then the maestro, Joseph Modica, came out; again, the crowed clapped. The lights changed from red, to blue, to purple, to teal, and back again, all night. Very similar to the Florence concert, actually. Joseph raised his hands and the first notes of the violins could be heard resounding over the crowd. That song, that most of us had only heard on the CD or TV, was now playing live, right in front of us. The sing-songy violins spoke and the cellos and bass answered back to them. Soon, it was over. The audience cheered and clapped, knowing that what they were really waiting for was about to appear before our eyes. Seconds later, the notte magica truly began. The guys, dressed elegantly in their velveteen jackets, strolled out onto the stage, amidst what would be the first of many standing ovations that night.
Ah, it began…. Gianluca with his first note of Nessun Dorman…..his velvet voice caressing our ears and his gorgeous eyes, penetrating our very souls. After their first song, everyone in the first 5 rows stood up and gave them glorious cheers, whoops, and applause! Then came Granada. Ignazio stood with a devilish grin on his face, with his hands tightly clasped behind his back, just waiting, as Piero held that now famous long note. The crowd cheered, and then Ignazio began his part.
Soon, it was time for their solos. Ignazio was first with Una Furtiva Lacrima…. To see him sing that with such passion, power, and anguish, was truly an incredible experience. He has such a soft voice when you talk to him. You would never believe something so powerful could escape those lips. Standing ovations from all! More whoops, and cheers! Especially from the first 2 rows!
Then came La Danza, with Gianluca. Again, flawlessly executed. How he gets all those notes in there is pure magic, that is for sure! Another standing “O!” Then it was Piero with No Puede Ser, I believe. I have to say, that is one my favorites by him. Piero does seem to always be the crowd favorite with thunderous applause and cheers. Still, Ignazio is my favorite!
I was fearful that the concert would be a little on the stiff and boring side, but I was pleasantly surprised, as the guys were joking and laughing in between each song, and fooling around as much as they dared; standing in relatively one spot all night. They did take a few breaks and let the orchestra play. What was also nice was that they would come out to center stage to take a few bows after their songs, so everyone was able to see them. Of course, those of us on the left or right side of the stage, could still not see them well to get any good pictures. However, I was able to get some good shots from my vantage point, although many were close to just profile views.
I loved their one little joke about Piero and Ignazio calling their siblings, or in Ignazio’s case, his dog; the others’ names! Piero admitted to sometimes calling his brother and sister Igna or Gian. But then he said it was worse that Igna called his dog, Franz, by THEIR names – Piero, or Gian. Ignazio said, with his cute accent, “it happens….” And I can see how it can, for I called my own cat by my other cat’s name! Comes out Kam-ari (for Kamina and Mari). Lol!
When it came to O Sole Mio, Gianluca did a little intro saying that many artists recorded this song and the different versions. He mentioned liking the Elvis version and Ignazio says “ELvis!” in his deep voice, and does a little hip movement. (of course being polite here, but it was pretty slight…) Yep, can’t get away from that one!
As mentioned in previous reviews, they did Grande Amore and the awesome new Ave Maria, which Gianluca says was written for them and they want to sing to the Pope one day. It was hauntingly beautiful and amazing to hear them sing it in person, since that was not part of the Florence concert.
Our group and the first several rows stood and clapped after every song. All too soon, the notte magica quickly came to an end. In their reprise of Nessun Dorma, the whole theatre was on its feet, with cheers and more thunderous applause! They did not take a break, and it ended just about 9:30pm.
MEET AND GREET
Yes, one part of the magical night was over, but we were still anticipating the real finale of the evening where we could touch these angelic creatures with these heavenly voices! Unlike last year, things moved pretty quickly. It was a little confusing at first, but they directed us to the elevator to the 2nd floor. Good, much better than last year. We ended up on the 2nd floor, near the mezzanine area, I believe. It was a nice area and much bigger and better than last year. It was very pretty and a nice open area, overlooking the downstairs lobby. When we got up there, we saw where the guys would be. Shortly, the OMGVIP guy came out and gave us the usual “lecture” but he was very nice and told us how things were going to go. They were very organized and had tables so we could set our belongings on them. Everything was pretty orderly. We waited maybe a little over half an hour. Shortly after 10p or so, out came the guys through the velvet curtains. Before it began, there were like two groups – one to the side and one to the front of where the guys would be. The OMGVIP guy actually said – just come on up here and you guys decide who wants to go next! Wow, that was cool! No pushing, no shoving, etc. There were also nice chairs scattered around the perimeter if you wanted to sit down. Like a total 360 from last year’s cattle call! So, by the time the guys came out, everyone was relaxed. Barbara and Alessandra came out first and we were able to chat with them if we wanted to. Leonora came out also, but then hid back in the wings – I guess she didn’t want to join us that night. Gaetano was on the sidelines as well. It really is nice they all have a family member present. I guess Ignazio figured all he needed was Alessandra on this trip. Vito and Caterina stayed home this tour.
Some of you knew I made these scarves for the mothers, Nina, and Barbara. Marie graciously took Caterina’s and Eleonora’s, along with the one for Nina, to them when she visited Sicily. But I still had Leonora’s and Barbara’s left. So, I was able to give the remaining scarves to Barbara and she said she would give the other to Leonora. When I gave the package to Barbara, she saw the crystal wing and her eyes got real big! I gave her the black one. So, I think she liked it, even though she didn’t open it right away. I really should have had her open it, but I didn’t. I also gave each of them a card that had a picture from my Italy trip that I had made on Shutterfly, with a note inside. I did see Barbara open the card and could tell she was reading the note. But, the deed was finally done and they were out of my hands. I got back in line and awaited my turn.
Soon, I was next. I had it all planned out. I was going to say each of their names and give them all a big hug, and I had practiced in my head what I was going to say to each one of them! So, here is how it went….
They were in their “almost” usual spots… Gianluca was on the left, Piero in the middle and Ignazio on the right. I went up to Gian and said “Gianluca!” and gave him a big hug. I told him I was in Montepagano last summer and it was beautiful. Next was “Piero!” I told him “sempre perfetto!” Got a smile out of him. “Ignazio!” I hugged him and whispered again that he was always my favorite. I got his “aww….” again in his sweetest little voice. I also handed him the package of M&Ms we had left over from celebrating his birthday last year and told him we celebrated all of their birthdays. Then, again, it was all too soon that I felt that familiar tap on the shoulder to turn around and take the picture. I quickly felt a lot of movement beside me and realized Gian was pushing his way in between me and Piero. Odd?
Wait….no, YES, it really DID happen that way this time!!! I guess the 6th time is the charm? I was not nervous at all, it was like they were old friends I had not seen in at least 7 months or so? Lol! I met each of them with open arms and hugs.
Then it was time to go home. I think, for the first time, I was actually very pleased and happy with myself on how things turned out. I also said “ciao” to Alessandra and said to her, “I’m sure everyone tells you, you are the luckiest girl in the world.” And she said, “yes…” She is a beautiful girl, even with her glasses on!
Next is Chicago!
Again, I can’t stress enough how much we want to hear your comments and reviews from the concerts! Please send your quotes and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello all…. I’m going to cheat a little bit here (but I still have to pack, as I’m leaving for an exciting weekend with hot and sandy beaches – already getting chilly here in MI!) and repost this one I wrote last year, just about a year ago now. It seemed to be a well-loved post, so I hope you enjoy it again. I know there are some newbies out there that have not seen this!
Just an update… I still have this addiction and my pusher skills are still going strong, just recently I converted another admin at work. It started out she was having a stressful day, trying to schedule some meetings. I viciously sent her Gianluca’s version of Bridge Over Troubled Water from the first LA appearance. I waited and waited, knowing she was busy. I wondered… did she like it? did she think I was crazy? I started out with something in English and well-known. I figured she’d at least like the song. Ok, sent an email back “thanks, she said, that was wonderful!” Oh whew! So glad. She’s a director’s admin! lol! 🙂 Another week or two pass….another stressful day. But finally, it was almost over. I told her she need an Il Volo break. I sent her the “new” Ave Maria and told her that even if she did not know the song or words, the melody was hauntingly beautiful. I waited some more…. YES! She loved that one as well… Ok, time to really reel her in! I pretty much had her hook, line, and sinker! I think I sent her Nessun Dorma as well and then told her a “little bit” more about me and the guys. Then I sent her this article! Days passed… I knew she was busy. Finally! The email was returned. She loved this article! And she says… yeah, they aren’t too bad to look at, either! lol! Yes, folks… there are more fans to conquer. You never know when some poor, unsuspecting person will just fall into your evil web of deception with those 3 innocent-looking faces! I challenge all of you to make a new fan this week!
Hi, my name is Jana, and I’m an Ivolover. My obsession started about 3 years ago or so, and like many obsessions, it started out slow. But along the way, I had to find a friend or two to help feed my obsession and help it grow. It started with just watching them on PBS, with a concert or two. Then, I went to the concert. After that one concert, it became apparent that this obsession turned into an addiction! I just had to have them – their faces, their music, their voices, the sound, it filled my soul like no other euphoric thing I’d ever experienced! I became a fanatic, ordering every CD I could find and scouring You Tube each night for a video or interview, so I could experience this amazing phenomenon. I got my fill most nights, but I just had to have more. I started listening to them all day at work, playing the same CD over and over. The bad thing was, I became a pusher! Yes, every time someone came to my desk and asked what I was listening to, I couldn’t wait to start pushing my addiction on to them. And it was so easy, too. Just showed them the CD cover and told them how awesome they were. Then I brought in the DVDs for them to watch. I was so bad…. Pushing my addiction on others like that. When we thought we couldn’t possibly get more of them, it becomes our ring tones on our cell phones, and their pictures are our wallpapers on our phones and computers, and to really annoy those that aren’t our fellow Ilvolovers, we have their songs on our ringback tones on our phones! There we were, exposing innocent persons to just a snippet of their voices, every time they called us! I just had to stop, but I couldn’t. Then, I found what I thought was a support group. We met and shared our stories about our addiction, and they were all so similar. Kindred spirits! I’d also found this blog site, where I found more addicted and obsessed persons! This obsession was rampant, and I quickly found it was spreading like wildfire all around the world. The scary thing was that no one tried to stop it! We just kept adding more people to our group. Like all addictions, it was getting a bit expensive, too! We just had to have their latest CD or DVD and we had to have it now. We could not wait and thought nothing of paying expedited shipping costs, just so we could have it first! We went to concerts and fought to get front row seats. We did not care what they cost, it was “the guys!” Then there were the meet & greets. Were we afraid of overdosing? No, never! We knew our friends were there to help us. The cost of the meet & greets and concerts? Hundreds…to some, maybe even thousands! It didn’t matter. We were there. Even when we’d thought we’d had enough, we just kept needing more to feed this habit of ours. We kept pushing others, so they would share in our glorious addiction; this untold high we got when we heard our favorite guy sing “that” note! It was pure ecstasy for those precious seconds! The cost of those meet & greets become a distant past when you see their faces up close and personal. Oh, and it doesn’t stop there….all of a sudden, we find out there is a concert in Italy! The next thing we know we are buying a ticket to Florence or Verona and then we are afraid. Afraid to tell our loved ones we are going to see the guys, yet again – that part is not so bad, but we are afraid to tell them it’s in Italy (because we are sure they will be calling the men in the little white coats!)! What a joy it will be to hear them in their own country. We’ve yet to experience the joy and beauty of our own country, but don’t think twice about jetting off to Italy! They don’t know it, but for those 30 seconds or less when you are looking into those innocent and talented eyes, they are yours! They belong to you. When you hold their hands, the power of your touch, matches theirs and it’s electric. The fire courses through your veins, their eyes penetrate yours and you are lost in those few seconds; you get dizzy, and lightheaded. You cannot speak; your legs feel like fettuccine, and your feet like cement blocks. You are rudely brought back to reality when they say to turn around and smile, and snap! You turn around one last time. You look at them and the moment is gone.
Many say, after one, or even two meet & greets, and the money it cost; that’s it, no more, won’t do it again. Won’t spend all that money on a ticket, or to get first, their latest CD…they are done. They are calling it quits. They try to be strong, but peer pressure is overwhelming. The date of their next concert is drawing near. Ok, you decide, you will go – just to keep your friends company. Well, maybe you’ll try to get good seats, but definitely no meet & greet. The time is getting closer and closer…you start to feel it again, as hard as you try to push it way, it overtakes your very being again. All of a sudden, you realize, your addiction is back. It’s this craving, this thing, it’s just so overpowering; you can’t stop it. You buy the ticket, you check your bank account, it’s nearly overdrawn, you buy the meet & greet!
No, no, you said you wouldn’t get caught up in this thing again. It’s not worth all the money, and the waiting, and anticipation. It’s too much stress! But, like the words in Unchained Melody, it’s a hunger; a hungering, for their touch. A need, only they can fill.
So, is it worth it you ask?
There they are, standing before you, looking at you with those innocent, sparkling, and playful eyes;
your hand reaches forth…
(Photo credits: PBS 2015)
Wow – it’s been a year already! Where does the time go? We’ve had an incredible year, the guys are enjoying their time off and the Latin Tour awaits. Saw them 3 times this year – certainly not enough!
(thank you to those that have answered the survey from Tuesday – let’s get some more answers! So far there are over 100 responses!) 🙂
Ciao a tutti! Ok, this might be even a little longer than normal, but I think I if I didn’t have all the details in here, some would be upset! 🙂 Here’s the inside scoop…
Lorna and I had barely been back a week from Italy and on July 14, Chris and I received the email to volunteer for the upcoming pledge drive at PBS. A quick check on Aug 24 said it was a live event – YES! Il Volo was coming! We quickly signed up to work the phones as we did last year, not knowing how things were going to go and we wanted to be sure we were there. Later that afternoon, we received the official email from Michelle Gaisser at PBS. Per Il Volo management, there were only to be 35 tickets available for sale at a cost of $350 a ticket! Oh no, our odds just dipped! She announced they would go on sale on July 26 at 10a sharp and enclosed the website link to the PBS site. Wow, there were over 10 of us in our little group. What if we all didn’t get tickets? Operation “get tickets” went into motion! Of course, we went to the website and as she had said, there was nothing there yet. We later found out this email went to about 250 persons. Our odds of getting tickets were getting slimmer by the moment. Ok, we quickly mobilized the troupes and our plan went into action on the morning of July 26. Ginny and Lorna were at Jana’s with fingers ready on the keyboards at 9:55am. Chris was at work and unable to order, so Ginny had her info. Donna went to Sharon’s, so they could help each other. Sherry was at home, at the ready, too! I was at the office, behind closed doors, waiting nervously for the laptop I had borrowed to strike 10am! I had preset the link to the website on the computer. I believe we all did. All we had to do was hit refresh, and boom, order as fast as our fingers allowed! We all agreed we would sign on and order at least 2 tickets so everyone in our group would be able to go. If there was a chance someone didn’t get tickets, we would work it out.
Ok, it was 10a – refresh! Refresh!! Refresh!! Wait, it wasn’t working, I was starting to panic and break out in a cold sweat! I quickly emailed Michelle and said it wasn’t working. Plan B. I went back to the original email, on my phone and clicked on the link! Presto! It worked, by then it was at least 5 after 10a and I was in panic mode. I quickly chose 2 tickets, that said that was our limit, put in my information and voila! It said I was confirmed for 2 tickets! Yea! I quickly texted the others and said I had 2 tickets. Oh, no, Sharon and Donna could not connect. I told them to go back to the original email, said they did, but that didn’t work. Ok, I told Sharon to send me her info ASAP and I would try to order them. She sent the info and I believe I got the last 2 tickets, from what I heard later. By about 10:20a, the tickets were sold out. We later learned that Lorna had gotten 4 tickets. So, between the 5 of us, we had gotten 12 tickets!! Just about 1/3 of the tickets were ours!
As usual, the anticipation grew, and clothes were getting chosen. OK, fast-forward…..August 24th!
It was a beautiful day, however there was a threat of rain in the forecast. We all met at my apartment (Ignazio’s Blessing – lol!) and took off shortly after 4:30p. A group of us, about 15 or so, met at Antonio’s the night before for a meet/greet/celebration of our own.
It was to start at 6:30p. After almost a 1.5 hour car ride out to Wixom from Dearborn, while dodging a few rain showers, we finally arrived about 6:15p. We got our badges, mingled a bit and took a few pictures. At just about 6:30p, they led us to the dining area. The food was all set up and waiting for us and the wine on the tables. We were table #1. There were 7 of us sitting at a table for ten. Mingled some more and took more pictures. Had a glass of wine. It was really warm in there and it wasn’t the wine! There appeared to be something wrong with the A/C! (Chris and I later found out on Sunday, while we were volunteering that the guys were too cold and they asked to turn off the air. A room full of 40 year-old plus women and they turn the air off!) Dinner was pretty good; better than last year. It was a little after 7:30p and we were anxiously awaiting for 8p to get there. Finally, about 7:55p or so, Il Volo security announced we could not personally give them any gifts we brought, but we had to put them on a table and they would take them to them. That was very disappointing for everyone. But at least they will get them and I could get rid of those t-shirts! They started calling the tables about 8:10p – late again. We were told they were rehearsing and on a tight schedule. However, they called table 3 first! That was ok though, I didn’t really want to be first. We ended up being the 3rd table to be called. There were 4 tables.
We went in and it was nothing like last year. It was dull and almost sterile. They didn’t allow the others to stay in the room. They were ushering you out as soon as you were done. However, I did stay as I had put my bag on the floor and went back to get it and then stayed until our group was finished.
The guys were just standing up there, kind of looking bored, no presents, no fun, no extra lights. Red carpet, but dull and boring beige backdrop for pictures. We had nametags on and Gianluca was calling out everyone’s name, kind of announcing us – that was nice.
I was next. “Jana!” “Gianluca!” I exclaimed. I excitedly walked up to them, clutching my book and bear. I asked Gian and Piero to sign my book and Igna to sign my bear. After they signed my items, I brought them all close to me and told them all that I saw them in both the Florence and Verona concerts. They seemed mildly amused that I had attended both concerts. I told Gian we went to Montepagano and how much we loved it. I told Piero how perfect he always was and he grinned broadly. I told Igna how awesome his note was in Per Te Ci Saro in Verona and he loved that as well. I then gave them all a hug and was time for the pictures.
Snap! Poof Scree-eech wait, rewind….!!
Sadly, that was how I wished it had gone!
Here is what really happened… I may have to turn in my official membership card (and I have one lol!) after I ashamedly admit the true story….
Some of it was true…. I was excited to walk up there, a bit nervous, but not too bad. I had already seen them up close and personal 3 or 4 times already this year! I handed Gian and Piero my book and asked them to sign it, then turned to Igna and asked him if he would sign my bear. He did seem to grin a bit at the picture, but signed it no questions asked… I did tell Igna that I had gone to Italy and was at both the Florence and Verona concerts. I think he said, “yeah?” At least I think he looked at me with questioning eyes? Then I had to tell him that I had to go 4,400 miles to hear them sing Per Te Ci Saro and that I/we were very sad they didn’t sing it in the United States. I felt so bad, I really did, because of his reaction – “yes,” he said, “we, know…” Then, I just turned around and said, ok, now what, and they said “look here” and took our picture. I then put my arm around Igna’s waist and said to him that Alessandra was beautiful and I hoped they were happy together. He said thank you with a little smile. I wanted him to feel a little better after I made him sad… I started to walk away and realized that I was missing the cap from my pen, so turned around and Piero had it. I took the cap, looked into beautiful eyes and said “grazie!” I then went down the red carpet to gather my bag… Marie put my picture that Chris took up on the site, so you can see that. (the other professional pictures have not been posted yet)
Yes, that was it – no hugs – at all, unless you count my arm around Ignazio! I hang my Flight Crew head in shame! Others were more successful than I – getting hugs and selfies, even, with Gianluca! Well, I guess I have to keep doing this until I get it right! Next time, I’m going to write everything down so I don’t forget it.
I WANT A DO-OVER!!!
Then it was back in the dining area for some dessert and coffee and the raffle prize giveaway. We also sang Happy Birthday to Mary to celebrate her 87th birthday! Some lucky lady won a HUGE signed poster of the guys. That same gracious lady, gave it to Mary, for her birthday! Mary was tickled – but how was she going to get it home to Minnesota!? I heard today she had it shipped UPS.
It was really roasting in there and suddenly the air seemed to kick in, I felt a cooler breeze every so often. Finally, 9:30p and the show was already starting. They gave us a lecture, yet again, on cameras, videoing (we could not), when we could take pictures, etc. That was a bummer! Ok, we got to go into the studio. The guys were sitting behind the desk, all prim and proper. They really HAD matured since last year. But they were also pretty tired. I knew, first hand, how exhausted they must feel, as Lorna and I were on the exact same flight they were from Rome to Detroit. I remember, about the 2nd day home, it really hit me about 8 or 9p and I wanted to just collapse. They all had coffee in front of them! Everyone always says, “oh, they are young…” but when jet lag hits, you can’t help it! Another lecture on when you could take pictures – only when he said we could, so many of the pictures you see are almost identical, except for the possible angle. Or for those that snuck pictures, somehow, when security wasn’t looking! I see there were a few of those pictures out on Facebook… I may have snuck a few also, but my new camera made a lot of noise and they threatened (and already did) take someone’s camera away if they took pictures when they weren’t supposed to! I wasn’t taking any chances. There were only about 3 or 4 times we could take pictures during the whole 1.5 hours of taping. Very disappointing. And to top it off, the guys did not MOVE from their chairs behind that desk until the very end. I was so looking forward to that this year, since Chris and I were stuck on the phones last year.
They had a different gal this year doing the interviewing – oh good, we thought. Maybe she won’t screw up their names! What were we thinking? Agggghhh! She introduces Il Volo – “here we are with GianlucO, Piero, and Ig – naz – io!” Ugh, you should have heard the audience groan! I’m still surprised you did not hear it on the taping! She screwed up their names a few more times, we kept trying to tell those in charge to stop butchering their names. At one point, one of the security persons asked the audience, how many think she is messing up their names? Just about everyone raised their hands – I’m thinking now, those on the end didn’t because maybe they didn’t hear him? I raised BOTH my hands!! Finally, please, someone tell her!! Shortly after that, they started doing these promos for different cities. They went into their old routine of “I’m Gianluca, I’m Piero, and I’m Ignazio, and we are Il Volo!” Ah, finally, after about 10 times of doing this, we figured she’d get it right!? Like, why didn’t they do that in the first place?? Well, after that, I think she was too afraid to say any of their names, but did, finally, get Gianluca’s name right! I think she even screwed up Piero, but I’m not sure how. Such an embarrassment for PBS. I think the guys thought it was funny. Once or twice, even Ignazio said “GianlucO” with great emphasis on the “O” part. Lol! Good ol’ Igna – I hope she got the hint!
Ok, they did a few retakes and a few more promos. Finally, they were coming out from behind the barrier of the desk and coming toward us. Gianluca made a few donors happy, as I saw him with the headphones on. Ignazio must have really wanted to get out of there and he was coming down first. Ok, maybe I can get my membership card reinstated here, maybe…. I was being bold, not my usual style, and stood out in the aisleway, waiting for him to get near me. I called out to him and then he stood still, and took my hand and shook it. Ok, no hug, but his soft, cool hands, were nice. He held his one hand over mine, as I shook his other one. So sweet. I told him, “if you see t-shirts, they are from me…” Ok, he said, and he walked away, out the door… Then Gianluca finally got near. Lorna had her moment cut short, so security promised her a few extra minutes with the guys. Gianluca came by and he purposely stopped him so she could take a picture with him. We finally convinced her to stand up, and she did. I tried to get his attention afterward, but it was a no go. Sadly, I was not able to tell him we went to Montepagano. And he walked out. Ok, Piero was last and the ladies up front were keeping him close. He was finally walking toward me and I took my big chance…I reached out to him and the guard was just about to push me away when he heard me say “I’ve never had a hug from Piero!” Ah, my saving grace, he backed off and I got a small hug from the deep, tenor, himself. Even though it lasted just a few seconds, he was sweet. He kept walking down the aisle, getting hugs from all the ladies on the ends. And then, they were gone! That was it, that was our “mingling with the audience” we were promised, by PBS!
Needless to say, we were quite disappointed. They really sat up there like bumps on a log, pretty much the entire night. No cutting up like last year. Maybe Barbara had warned them this time? Every so often the guys were really watching their performance. I opted to sit in the back row so I could stand up and take pictures without bothering anyone and of course, everyone else stood up in front of me! I got a few shots, but nothing great. Others were able to take better pictures that I’ve seen on FaceBook. I think the coffee may have finally taken effect near the end of the program and once in a while, Ignazio would sing a little phrase here and there from Mamma, or some other song. I’m sure it was just to stay awake! Like, that’s how boring it was!
One cute little tidbit… a few days before the show, a select few were emailed and asked to give some questions to ask the guys. Wow, ok, that was cool. Chris was one of the select few and she forwarded the email to me. I submitted 5 questions. They said there was no guarantee they would use them. Well, lo and behold, they actually used 2 of my questions! One, directly aimed at Gianluca… ”Being the only baritone of the group, how was it different, or was it any different to prepare for the concert for the 3 Tenors?” Well, I was tickled when I heard that – didn’t realize it until I was watching it the next night, as we couldn’t hear a thing in the audience. He gave a really strange answer and did not even really answer it. He said he sang this song by so-and-so and he was a tenor (I guess?), so in literally so many words, I guess he said he didn’t really have to prepare any differently? The other question I asked was, “if you could tell the fans anything, what would you tell them?” That was even the more oddest answer (I know that’s not good English, but Gianluca’s answer was bizarre!) Something about wanting to bring opera to young people? I really have to go watch it again.
I was happy to hear Ignazio say he was interested in studying more opera – him being such the “pop” guy and all? And, I’m saving the best for last, this was not on the program….THEY ARE COMING BACK! In MARCH, to Detroit!
Yes, this hand will reach for her credit card, once again! Do you think I can get it right next time? Let’s wait and see!
p.s. well, as many of you know, I did get to do a “do-over” when they came back in March, and it was perfect.
A PRESTO, IL VOLO! Ciao!