Throwback Thursday! Notte Magica – Fox Detroit MI – Mar 16, 2017

 

 

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!)detroit fox 2017

 

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 soigna1 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 pierocase, 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. scarvesWhen 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:  flightcrew.nottemagica2017@gmail.com

Grazie Mille!

Jana

$6.86/second…Is It Worth It?

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 1 me 2concert 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, 3 ignaexposing 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 3 gianwe’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 3 pierotheirs 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?

3 guys pbs

There they are, standing before you, looking at you with those innocent, sparkling, and playful eyes;

your hand reaches forth…1 hand

(Photo credits:  PBS 2015)

Flashback – 1 Year ago today: Detroit’s Notte Magica! Aug 24, 2016

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.  schedule 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.ginny 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.food

 

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 all 3 - 2the 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 Ignaigna 3 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)gian and piero

 

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. all 3And 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. ignaI 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 operahim 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!

 

 

 

Flight Crew Welcomes a Special Guest Artist Today: Alfio!

Sunday, July 23, I had the pleasure of attending my first Alfio concert. For alfio 1those of you not familiar with Alfio, he is Italian, but is from Australia, and currently lives in New York. He has also had concerts for PBS, like Il Volo. He plays the piano, as well as sings and has this truly amazing tenor voice, reminiscent of a cross between Gianluca, Piero, and Josh Groban, while throwing in a little Elvis, although still having a sound of his own! Last night’s concert was a tribute to Sinatra, Bocelli, and Elvis.

The concert started shortly after 6pm and lasted until about 8pm, with no break. He had with him a small band, consisting of a trumpeter, two guitar players, a “one-man” drummer with some electronic effects, and a keyboard player (no piano).

He fooled us a bit walking on stage – “Here’s Alfio….” And we are looking, waiting, and watching this shadow walk across the back of the stage from one side to the next and then he suddenly appears before us – we kind of thought he got lost for a second!

The theatre, a small locale in Canton, MI, called the Village Theatre, was a cozy venue, seating a max number of 400 persons. We had lovely 2nd row seats to the right of the stage, thanks to Donna, who told us about the concert, and we sat right next to the Rugiero family, of Antonio’s, who were one of the many sponsors of this event. They also hosted the afterglow/meet & greet, but I will get to that later!

On with the show….Alfio came out nicely dressed in a black suit, with white shirt, black tie, and black patent and leather shoes. A very classy look. He opened the show with the song we are so used to hearing at the end of the Il Volo concerts of O Sole Mio! He started out, almost a capella, with the classic Italian words to the Neapolitan song, with just a light accompaniment from the keyboards. He then burst into the “Elvis” version of It’s Now or Never. After that he sang Il Mundo and then Granada – both in English! I never knew there were English words to the songs. It was kind of nice to know what the songs meant for a change. 😊 So, for the first several songs, we felt like we were at a mini Il Volo concert. Except for the English of course! His voice was impeccable and strong with a very slight edge to it. He chatted a bit with the audience between songs and asked where people were from – “anyone from New York, etc.” A couple walked in late and he teased them a bit, asking them why they were late and telling them the songs they had missed, which were about five at that point. Reminded me a bit of when Piero did that at the Fox Detroit concert a few years ago and many were late because of the traffic and parking. But they sat down and were soon enjoying themselves. I believe they drove all the way from Virginia! Wow!

Everything he sang was incredible. When he sang Il Mundo, he actually played the keyboards while he was singing. He did that with Hallelujah, as well.  I really wish I could have snagged the playlist, but he snatched everything up before he left the stage! Guess he just wanted to be tidy! Maybe if I ask him real nice, he’ll send me the list of songs he sang. I actually thought about writing each one down as he sang it, but didn’t want to dig in my bag for pen and paper. So, if you’ll bear with me a bit, I will name off as many as I can remember! Those above, of course, then there were, in no particular order, My Way, Caruso, Suspicious Minds (awesome), an impromptu Cryin’ by Roy Orbison, an original song by him called I love you like a song (I think?), Unchained Melody, one of Bocelli’s solos, which I cannot remember, Surrender (part Italian and then the “Elvis” version – Ignazio and Piero could give him a few pointers on that one, if you catch my drift? 😊), New York, New York, and several others I cannot remember right now. He also sang that really fun song that Piero and Ignazio had fun singing at the Bambar in Taormina a few months ago, that several persons were able to video and I think the “Fabulous 3” were there in person – the one that goes “Oh ma-ma….” He had the whole audience clapping through the song. It was full energy and spunk and lots of fun. There was one song that he sang that this one lady kept begging him to sing on his FaceBook page. Apparently, all of her begging worked, and she was also in the audience. He pointed her out and knew her name! The song was one that Ignazio sang very early in his career as a solo, it was Il Mare Camo Della Sera. OMG!! That lady was so right!   It was so incredibly perfect (and I think my favorite of the evening!). So sorry, Ignazio… Of course, Alfio’s voice has a few decades on yours when you sang it…. But trust me, it was truly amazing!

I was pretty mesmerized at times, even with the proverbial chills and goosebumps (it was a bit chilly in there though 🙂 ) and a few tears of emotion on certain songs.

Even though he is a bit older than our three, I’m not sure which, but either Gianluca had his mannerisms, or vice versa. It was kind of cute watching him sing and “seeing” Gianluca as he sang, as they used many of the same gestures.

When chatting with the audience, he mentioned social media – Instagram and Facebook and invited us to “like” and “follow” him. Haven’t gotten to Facebook yet, but I did click to follow him on Instagram last night. Early this morning, he was following me back!! He was on his way back to New York this morning. I have to say I was a bit tickled!! He is certainly prompt!

I think I mentioned he also writes his own songs and he sang one of them for us. It was a slow, romantic song and quite beautiful. He was saying how he sings “other people’s songs” because that is what the audience wants to hear. Until you are well-known or have a lot of play on the radio, that is probably one of the few ways you will gain fans and a quick following, kind of like Il Volo. He asked us if we liked his song, and of course we said yes. Then he asked if we would like to hear his original songs one day, all of his, in a concert, and of course we clapped loudly!

Alfio, just a word or two on “cover” songs, if I may speak metaphorically a bit…. Covers can be good. They are familiar and cozy, and give comfort and solace when you are feeling sad and lonely. They wrap you up in their familiarity and hug you tight, as you share their melodious warmth with the one you love. So, of course, no artist wants to sing cover songs the rest of their lives (I promise never to ask you to sing Danny Boy…); they want to sing their own music and want to be known for their own music. Even right now, we are clamoring for the guys to write music of their own, like Ignazio did a few years ago. Even if you are singing someone else’s “hit” or “song,” you should think of it as an honor, as well as a challenge. Some songs are such major hits for people that others don’t even dare to try to imitate or try to make it their own. How many people do you know dare to sing a Streisand hit? So, if you do that and do it well, it will become your own. 😊

All-in-all, I don’t believe he got as many standing ovations as he deserved. We all stood after “Oh ma-ma” and after the last song, which was My Way, but that was it. His fans were pretty laid back compared to Il Volo.

On to the afterglow! When we got out of the theatre, we were lucky. The thunderstorm had just passed and the skies were blue and sunny again, but with puddles everywhere! We made our way back to Antonio’s and into the meet & greet room. We were greeted with a glass of prosecco and I quickly spotted a table for seven. We claimed our table, as there were not many, and waited for the others. Donna and Sharon arrived shortly and got in line for the food.

Antonio’s had a beautiful spread of an antipasto salad, consisting of roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes, on a bed of romaine, with Italian seasonings/dressing on it. After that, we were greeted with broccolini, calamari, pesto pasta, chicken marsala, meatballs and gnocchi with Mama Rita’s special sauce – which by the way, Alfio raved about! There was also a beautiful tray of fruit, their famous bread, and a tray full of mini cannoli. On the side were bottles and bottles of red and white wine. Along with the glorious food was some live music and serenading. When we walked in they were playing El Reloj! Another Il Volo song! Oddly, a good portion of the songs that were sung were Spanish. Of course, they were beautiful, and many were sung by Il Volo, but I thought there would be more Italian…later on we did hear Volare and Il Mundo.

About a half hour or so later, Alfio arrived. He was sweet and charming and very down to earth. He went table to table (I think that was how our “Fan Faire” was supposed to be orchestrated?), chatted, took selfies with everyone, and signed the CDs that were in our gift bags. Both Mama Rita and Tony were on hand, along with the rest of the Rugiero’s, to mingle with the crowd. It was quite the beautiful event and everyone had a lovely time and we were so glad we went. Thank you so much to Donna, our lovely Il Volo pal, for suggesting we attend this.

I hope you enjoyed your evening (or morning) with Alfio as much as we did. I know it’s not Il Volo, but I hope you can find just a small place in your heart to appreciate Alfio. Maybe a right or left ventricle, or just even a tiny capillary, because he is certainly worth it. After last night, he definitely carved out a small place in my heart!

Ciao, Alfio! Grazie mille!

Jana

p.s. I uploaded our photo below to Instagram this morning and Alfio gave it a like! 😊

I found a small clip on YouTube of some of the highlights from his PBS special last year…

alfio

“Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…” July 4, 1776! (2017)

 

First, let’s wish Signora Eleonora Barone, a very happy birthday!!  🙂

Now, a short lesson in American history…

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

(from US History.org)


Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it two days later on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:

The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.[7]

(from Wikipedia) 

Ok, I admit, American history was probably my most hated and boring of classes I ever had to take in high school.  It was not helped by Sr. Angela Marie, a well-meaning, 4 ft,, soft-spoken, 80 year-old, little Felician nun.  I barely passed with a grade of C.  I can’t say I remember much of that entire year of American history, except I was so glad when it was over!  I don’t ever recall having to read the declaration of independence, but I do remember Whitney invented the first steamboat, or was that Robert Fulton?  (yes, I think Whitney did the cotton gin!) Ah, I probably slept through most of it.
However, as we grow older, we learn to appreciate the things we often hated most, like rules, and how important some of those things were; like understanding American history!  (did you know that in an interview many years ago, Ignazio said he loved history – so smart at such a young age!)   I can’t say I recall ever having heard the first paragraph of the declaration of independence, although as a class field trip in 1976, we went to see the movie 1776!  It was our 200 year birthday of independence for the United States.  I recall getting these HUGE chocolate candy bars, wrapped in red, white, and blue and I think Betsy Ross was on there somewhere.  I also remember thinking the chocolate was not that great, not even Hershey grade.  Ok I was about 11 – I was discerning, even back then…
Ah, “the pursuit of happiness…”  Yes, I must tie this into the guys….  This declaration of independence gave us our freedom to be happy.  And to follow our guys, is our greatest freedom, joy, and happiness!  We know the guys love America and America loves the guys – at least our little part of it!

So, on this one special day of the year for the United States, let’s all join, from every nation, country, and continent, and stand tall, proud, and brave, and united together, in pursuing our happiness and greatest passion – Il Volo!

Wishing everyone a safe, and happy, Fourth of July!  Wherever you may be.  Last year, Lorna and I were in Verona at their “last” concert from the Grande Amore tour.  Talk about fireworks!  Best 4th of July I ever had!!  🙂

 Picture2

Since everyone seemed to love it on the last post, I thought I’d post it again!  Here they are, our beloved Il Volo, singing our cherished national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner!  From 2013, at Dodger Stadium! (did you know the star-spangled banner refers to the American flag?)


 

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!  🙂

Jana

Notte Magica – Moscow! June 18, 2017

nottemagica header

We just learned that Spain has been cancelled.  We are very saddened by this as I heard their last 2 Ukraine concerts were cancelled as well.  Enjoy Moscow!

To paraphrase James Bond…. “To Russia, with love… from Il Volo!”  Did you know that according to some trivia, Italians refer to James Bond’s character as “kiss, kiss, bang, bang!” ?  Tonight, Il Volo did not need any guns to keep a captive audience; their mere presence alone was enough to stun and hypnotize their fans.  From beginning to end, they kept you on the edge of your seat with one amazing feat of song after another.  They dazzled with death-defying high notes, to spine-tingling low notes, and arias!  Always amazing; always getting their man (or woman), to experience new heights, never before seen or heard.  Giving us chills and thrills as only they can do!  Their voices lifting you to the highest mountain-tops, to the depths of the deepest oceans.  From Crocus City Hall, here is,

Il Volo!

(with a little help from the voice of God!)  🙂

with a little bonus, they speak in English!

(how many hands does it take to carry all the flowers?)

Link to the entire concert, thank you Daniela for finding this!  Thank you author, Olga Anacheeko (sorry, not sure of last name…)  for posting!  🙂

 

Many lucky fans ran into them in the streets from Red Square to the many pictures taken in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral below…

igna fansall st basilsbarbara st basilsgian red sqpiero michelewith the fans

And some pictures from the concert…. thank you to Lisa Joy and those persons that she shared the posts from for all pictures above and below!

trio moscowignadolls of themgrazie moscowThank you, Moscow!

The happy meet and greeters!  https://www.omgvip.com/il-volo-june-18-2017/

Ciao,

Jana

 

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

1-flagOh say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thru the night that our flag was still there.
Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The first verse of the United States national anthem.  A poem written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, set to music written in 1773 by John Stafford Smith, and adopted as the US national anthem in March 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.
The land of the free and the home of the brave.  We owe that today to our many veterans and current armed forces.  Today, we thank our brave men and women who continue to fight for us and keep us safe.  Thanks also goes out to Gina and Lorna, two, proud veterans, from our Il Volo group!  Is there anyone else out there?  🙂
As we know, our guys love America and their US fans.  In fact, they learned to sing our national anthem and they have been wowing American fans over in Italy the last few weeks by shouting out refrains of it along with America the Beautiful!  Here is my favorite version of the Star-Spangled Banner!  From 2013, at Dodger Stadium!

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!  🙂

Jana