Tag Archives: Las Vegas Fan Faire

Il Volo’s Viva Las Vegas (Almost) By Giovanna

Today it is exactly seven months to the day, since I was supposed to see Il Volo in the US for the first time.  It would have been my third Il Volo concert.  As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the last three shows of Il Volo’s 10th Anniversary USA tour.  The third of the cancelled shows was going to be the grand finale at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Casino in mid-March.

Since Il Volo was going to perform in Las Vegas, home of all Elvis impersonators, good and terrible, I was looking forward to how many Elvis songs they might do (“Surrender/Sorriento,” “It’s Now or Never/O Sole Mio,” “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” etc.) 

Maybe they would even do a little Freddie Mercury, while playing around at soundcheck.  I understood a certain high tenor named Boschetto does that sometimes with backup harmony from the others.  And, of course, Il Volo appeared with “La Streisand” when she had a residency at one of the clubs on the Vegas Strip 10 years ago.  I thought they might do “Smile” as they did with her back then.

Strange as it sounds, I was also looking forward to hearing the guys do the scripted joke routine that they do repeatedly in English on American stages.  Even though it may be “old hat” to Americans who have been to multiple Il Volo concerts in this country, the well-rehearsed wisecracks and gimmicks in English would have been new to me.

You see, the only two Il Volo concerts I’ve ever been to were both in Italia.  The guys, relaxed and on their home turf there, didn’t do their usual routine, but instead did spontaneous jokes suitable to the locale.  For example, at the Lecce concert in 2019, Ignazio admitted he no longer had a fidanzata (girlfriend) and was “available.”  As an afterthought, he remarked that maybe he needed to find a nice Salentina girl from among the local Lecce young ladies. (They are very slender and very dark, and as a rule very beautiful.)  That caused a predictable response:  a flock of young Salentina girls, dressed up for the occasion, tried to rush the stage.  Igna didn’t seem to mind at all.  He seems to like to cause a disturbance, then take it all in stride, while the other two want to know “Ma cosa sta combinando, ora?” (What is he stirring up now)?

And of course, in Taormina, Sicily, when Ignazio started razzing Piero about his chopped off summer haircut, it was in Sicilian slang (which I won’t repeat here).  He was implying, with rude words, that Piero cut it himself.  If you know Piero, you know that his usual response to that kind of thing from Ignazio is, “Ma che te ne frega?” So, what do you care?  Actually, I thought Piero’s summer haircut looked fine.  Check out the picture below from Italy last July.  What do you think?

By the way, Piero does occasionally cut his own hair. During the period when he was in voluntary quarantine after first returning to Italy this March, I saw him video-chatting with Gianluca.  He proudly announced that he cut his hair himself, then lifted some of it with his fingers and showed the shorn part of the side of his head, where he nearly scalped himself bald with the razor.  Gianluca responded that he would never consider cutting his own hair.  His own hair has to be done expertly, because it’s so curly and unmanageable.  He said this with a completely straight face.  I couldn’t tell if he was serious.  With these guys, you never know.

But I digress.  As I said, I had never heard Il Volo do their scherzi (stage jokes) in English, and the Pearl Concert Theater in Las Vegas was going to be the place.  Of course, as we know, it didn’t happen.

I was excited about Las Vegas because I thought I was going to have three opportunities to see the guys up close and maybe visit for a minute or two.  As it was: 1) My ticket included something called a Meet & Greet.  At first I didn’t even know what that was.  2) I was signed up for access to the soundcheck before the show.  3) I was signed up for the Fan Faire get-together with the guys which is hosted in Las Vegas by Myron Heaton and Jeanette Giglio at the lucky Penny Café at the Palms Casino Resort, where the theater is, and where I was staying.  Three for three.  I thought I had hit the Trifecta.

I had already met Jana VandeLaare, of Flight Crew fame, by phone when we decided to share my apartment in the Palms Place for a few days around the show.  She kept me informed by text as soon as she started hearing murmurs that the boys might need to cancel this show and go right home due to COVID-19-related travel issues.  I was on board my flight from Denver and taxiing out to the runway, when I got her text that it was likely cancelled!  My mouth fell open as I squirmed with disappointment in my seat belt.  It was too late to do anything except go on to Las Vegas.

Yes, the heartbreak was final after I got to the Palms Casino.  Jana, who had cancelled her trip, asked me to go and confirm the cancellation at the theater box office as soon as I got there.  When I did, it seems that the theater people, God bless them, had no idea what was going on and did not have the inside info that Jana already had.  When I asked them about the show, the young desk agent I spoke to told me something like:

“The band is OK with it and it’s still on.”

He was wrong on three counts out of three.  Il Volo is not a “band;” they were not “OK with it” (performing in a close crowd during a viral epidemic); and it was not “still on.”

The theater’s delayed reaction to the facts had one nice side effect.  The staff was unable to remove the Il Volo concert advertisements all over the casino, theatre, hotel hallways, in-room televisions, and outdoor marquee.  Everywhere I turned for the next several days, including all night on my apartment TV, I saw this:

Although two out of three events were now gone, at least the Fan Faire people chose to have their get-together anyway.  It would be a good way for the fans still in town to get to visit with each other, even though there would be no Il Volo guys this time.

Until then, I had two days to myself in Las Vegas, but I don’t know how to gamble.  I’m an engineering geek, so I just had to visit the Atomic Testing Museum, and I’m a Sicilian Jew from “New Joisey,” so of course I had to visit the Mob Museum.  That place was so “familiar” to me it was almost funny.  More than once, while looking at some of the old photos of Sicilian-American and Jewish-American mobsters, I did a double-take, thinking I recognized one of my old relatives.

I used the time to talk to all the young people working at these places to promote Il Volo, and was surprised to find out how many kids were interested in opera and bel canto music.  That was a pleasant surprise, and not what I expected from hardened Las Vegas natives.

On Sunday before the Fan Faire I just had to do something Italian.  I jogged up to the Venetian Casino on the north end of the Strip, past Caesar’s Palace.  As kitschy and artificial as the place is, it still made me homesick for the “old country” as we used to call it.

I came across this singing toy dog who does “O Sole Mio” in alternating Italian and English (“It’s Now or Never”).  Do you suppose that was copied from you-know-who?  It was cute, but the tenor voice they recorded in the singing dog was not that great.  Jana later said the dog reminds her of Ignazio’s mustache. Have a look.

The singing gondoliers rowing guests all over the indoor canal were iffy, except for the older baritone.  He was impressive – a mature voice, dark and smooth.

This authentic Venetian gondola below is there for display only, and is not used in the faux canals.  The black paint job is traditional, and became law in the 15th or 16th century, to stop wealthier Venetians outdoing each other with their outlandish, gaudily-painted, plush luxury vehicles.  The seven arms on the white mast represent seven of the main islands of Venice.  The one arm facing backwards represents the Jewish quarter on Cannaregio.

At least the rock and pop music outside on the piazza was in Italian.  As I picnic lunched there, I recognized some of the modern Italian music I heard in espresso bars and on cab drivers’ radios the last two years in Sicily and Puglia, and also some Italian hip hop thing that I knew the words to.  I had heard Ernie and Gianluca singing it once when they were goofing around on Instagram.  Have you ever heard Ernie sing?  His voice is as deep as Gianluca’s baritone.

I ate below this bridge facing Las Vegas Boulevard.  It’s supposed to be a reduced-scale model of the Ponte di Rialto across the Grand Canal in Venice.  Except this one has a Walgreen’s Drugstore and fast-food chain next door.

Do you remember this view from below the Ponte di Rialto, half a career ago?  It was posted on the Flight Crew page some years back.  It’s the “same bridge” I photographed, but it has a better view in the foreground.

Here’s an update of the foreground – Venice has been undergoing restoration.

This view from the bridge isn’t bad either.  Las Vegas’ Venetian Rialto didn’t have anything like this.

The Fan Faire people turned out to be superb and sweet.  Thank you to Myron and Jeannette for having the dinner.  Myron, Jeanette, Linda, Diane, (and I’m sure I missed several others) all told me Il Volo stories.  I like Myron’s story best.  He had sent flowers to Italy when the Boschetto’s grandpa died. Assuming Il Volo was back on tour, he telephoned Nina Boschetto’s pizzeria, to ask her if the flowers had gotten there in time for the funeral.  When Nina couldn’t understand him very well, she asked him to wait until she could find someone in the pizzeria who understood English.  Guess who came to the phone to interpret for Nina?

The Fan Faire bunch took this group photo before we left.  I’m the Sicilian runt, the one whose head barely reaches above the sign.

The Las Vegas that didn’t happen was valuable despite Il Volo’s cancellation.  Without it, I would not have met Jana and Pat, the Fan Faire folks, and Daniela and the rest of the Flight Crew, and I would not have started writing to all of you.

I also came home all cranked up about helping in some way.  I understood we need to develop something akin to Fan Faire for when Il Volo next comes to Denver, whenever that will be.  It’s been several years since they’ve been here, so I’m hopeful that when touring eventually resumes Denver will be back on the schedule.  More importantly, I have heard the guys often say that their favorite concert events are where there are lots of young people.  We really need the next generation to catch their fire.  I repeatedly hear the guys say they want to and need to get in front of kids.  And we need to make their next trip to the mountains better than the last time.  Piero had an attack of cold-induced asthma on one trip, and Denver Airport nearly lost one of his suitcases (with his eyeglass collection) on another.

I’ve been learning my way around the music community here in Denver to create settings to get Il Volo in front of kids to give them more publicity among their own generation.  Folks that I know are involved in the University of Denver’s opera school, and their youth vocal program, who would love to hold something Italian and interactive between their vocal students, or their children’s chorale, and Il Volo.  I even started visiting with managers of Italian restaurants in downtown Denver, and found one who would love to host a Fan Faire-type event at their place near the Pepsi Center or the Opera House.  The Dante Alighieri Society (Italian language, food, and culture society) would probably spoil the Il Volo guys, feed them (knowing their allergies and special diets), and throw an Italian open sing-along complete with accordion and mandolin.  I can picture Ignazio, whom Gianluca calls “Il Canta-Cuoco” (the singing chef), taking over the Saint Anne’s parish kitchen.

I’m in the process of calling/emailing Barbara Vitale to ask her to put this in front of Piero, Gianluca, and Ignazio early enough for future planning, long before they confirm a new tour schedule.  Touring has to wait until post-COVID of course, but planning early won’t hurt.

If you are from any large city in the US, you probably have been to and have experience with Il Volo receptions and such.  We Denver folks can learn from you.  If you are from the Colorado Front Range, or even if you’re not but want to help, get in touch with me. Email me comments with ideas, contacts.  If you are from the old Denver Il Volo on-line fan club, tell me.  When the touring resumes, let’s don’t wait for an Il Volo event to appear.  Let’s create one.

Oh, by the way, Denver has already started doing something for Il Volo.  As of now, we have two synagogues praying for Alessandro Quarta’s complete recovery. Che Dio sia misericordioso e che la sua guarigione sia rapida!  May God be merciful and may his healing be quick.

Credit to the owners of all photos.


That’s right, Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca: IL VOLO,  are leaving for the tour and their destination is AMERICA !!!!

Finally the long-awaited time has arrived, a few more days and they will perform in their first stop in Toronto and then there will be a continuous succession of concerts in different cities.

I think I interpret that the patience of the long wait has left you, and a frenzied agitation has taken over that leads to joy, to finally be able to see them live and to be able to have the emotion of a whole concert with them.

Best Of 01

Do you have your tickets ready ??

Please dear friends, to communicate your wishes, write me the date and the city of the concert where you will go and let me know the three absolutely favorite songs of all, which you would certainly like to listen to (they can also be solos). Pat will be able to make a list and ranking of favorite songs.

It will be interesting to find out what you would like to hear.

Best Of 02

Are you all ready to dance and sing with Il Volo?

Are you ready for a shot, a warm hug, a sweet kiss, or to make a tug of ears at these tender brats?

How about a hug like this from Piero ???? It would be magnificent!

Best Of 03

In this article by Antonella Esposito, the start of the new tour is announced, I translate for you:

ZON.it Article – Click Here

The celebrations for the first 10 years of Il Volo’s career continue. The trio that bewitched the world, setting record sales and sell outs, from January 2020 will be engaged in a series of live events. It starts with the “North American Tour”. From 28 January to March the Il Volo boys will perform in the most important symbolic places of world music.

Touching sacred temples of art, such as the Radio City Music Hall in New York, (February 6th) Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca will delight the ears and hearts of a multigenerational audience that for a decade now has been following them with affection and admiration. In June and July it will be the turn of Germany and Poland with the addition of new stages to a calendar full of commitments. Summer will mark the return of the group to Italy, with two dates in Verona in August and two dates in September in Taormina.

November and December will sign a really important tour which today has 37 dates, without excluding any additions. Turin, then Milan, to end in the capital on December 4th. A riot of live events not to be missed. Everything is ready for the first stop, on January 28th, in Toronto, from the prestigious Meridian Hall, the guys from Il Volo will perform for the Canadian public. Fasten your seat belts, let’s go. The journey of Il Volo begins, the most important one, the Best of, proud banner of a journey that began 10 years ago and which still today tells credible stories of sacrifice, passion and gratification.

Best Of 04

By the way, have you all heard of the beautiful IL VOLO FAN FAIRE DINNER that Jeannette Giglio is organizing for March 15th at The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas??

It will be a beautiful event and there will be an opportunity for you fans to get to know each other personally and maybe even some surprises !!

Best Of 05

I have another request for you.

For those who go to a concert, please write your impressions, for better or for worse, even a few lines, which we will then publish and it will be interesting to read the differences between one concert and another.

Also tell us about the fans you met at the various concerts.

Best Of 06

So Piero Ignazio and Gianluca are closing their bags, in a few hours they will leave.

Are you all ready for your concerts?

It will be awesome!!

I await your comments.



Credit to owners of all photos and video.


Fantasies and Dreams do come true…Part 1

Ok, sorry guys… you know what they say,

“what happens in Vegas; stays in Vegas!”









Ok, now you knew SOMEONE was going to have to do that, didn’t you? Lol!

palms sign word

Nestled between the softly painted mountains of Red Rock Canyon and the Mojave Desert, lies Las Vegas, where our long-awaited fantasy is about to come true – literally in the Fantasy Tower of the Palms Casino and Resort! Chris G. was my faithful companion and guide in this adventure, so let our story begin…

palms sign

There is a reason it is known as the city of lights! We arrived about 9:30p to a bustling airport and managed, somehow, to make it outside and to where we would pick up our Uber ride. We made it to the hotel, only to find out we had to walk clear to the other tower! Finally, our room at last! We were able to doze a bit on the plane, and we weren’t tired, so we decided to explore the Palms. Our room was in the Fantasy Tower – where all the festivities would take place on Friday night! But, we realized our elevator towers only went as far as the 34th floor?   Ok, must be another elevator somewhere? With a little snooping, we found the “hidden” elevator behind some walls and twists and turns! Jana Super Sleuth followed her nose and we went up to the 52 floor! Voila! There was the room and oh, what a view at night! It was gorgeous! There was no one around and the room was filled with several pool tables and a craps table in the middle. Hmmm….we were thinking, there’s no way they are going to get 16 tables in here unless they move something? Well, we were glad to see that they did – of course!

guys marquee

We came down and kept on walking….I knew there was supposed to be a McDonald’s in the casino. At one point, I said, “I swear I smell McDonald’s French fries!?” Sure enough, Chris says “uh, yeah, the guy ahead of you and to your left” – yep, my nose once again rang true, as McDonald’s was literally on my left!” Lol! We found out where the Pearl Theatre was and passed the box office. Saw their adorable faces plastered on many marquees, over the registration desk, above the slot machines, and even on a blackjack table! It was real – the fantasy was coming true, minute by minute – could Friday come any sooner? Well, found all the important spots… so we went back to our room to try and get some rest as the next day was our only free day.


Despite the best intentions of relaxing a bit and sleeping in, I had forgotten to turn off my alarm and off it went at 6:30am! So sorry gals!! (Sharon B. also shared the room with us for a few days) We ended up getting up by 7a and facing the new world below us, and outside. It was a beautiful day! So, after a nice breakfast at McDonald’s and a slight run-in with a door, we were off to Caesar’s Palace on the hotel shuttle. We had to take care of a little business after breakfast and when we were done there we saw Marie arrive and I ran to her to give her a big hug, and said, “Hi, mom!” While waiting for the shuttle we saw the MN 4 gals arrive and reunited with them for a few minutes!   We arrived Caesar’s and made our way to the strip. We decided to head to the Venetian. I had never been there and Chris had never been to Vegas. Like everything in Vegas, things are, unfortunately, much further than they appear! But we finally made it to the Venetian. It was quite beautiful inside and 3 girlswe saw the gondola ride. I did a little shopping and we took a break to have some gelato – we felt like we were in Italy! We were going to take the monorail back to the Bellagio, but by the time we got to the station, we realized we were pretty much there already! So, back to the strip we went, over the bridge and to the Bellagio. We had some very expensive drinks in one of the bars at the hotel. By then it was nearly 5p and we were exhausted. My phone said I had walked over 13000 steps!


Sharon went back to the room to rest and Chris and I checked out the buffet. Free wine with dinner! Yea!   We were there! Food was ok, but the desserts were fabulous! Went back to our rooms – it was like 8:30p. Ok, we were in a buzzing town, with hundreds of Ilvolovers around and we were in bed by 9:00pm?? Something is really wrong here. Ok, in our pj’s we went. Just lying in bed watching bad TV. Just after 11p or so, I was saved by a text from Donna. Come down and meet us for a drink! Yea – finally!! Crazy me, got up, got dressed, and flew down to the lobby! Met a few of the other gals, had a drink and some chit-chat. By 1am, it was back to the room – tomorrow was the big day. We heard the guys had been stuck in Denver on Wed, but made it to Mesa and were on their way to Vegas. We were hoping they were going to stay at the Palms, but did not know for sure…

Friday – it was finally here. The day some of us had been waiting for, for almost 2 years. The event of events, in the planning over for 2 years, thanks to Myron and Jeannette! And, sure enough, the guys and crew were in our hotel! Proof was given by Eleonora on Instagram that they had arrived in the wee hours of the morning and from her picture, looked like they were in the Fantasy Tower, as well – she had the same view we did, just a little higher!! Ok, a lot higher…


By the time we all got it together that morning, we were ready in time for lunch and met with Marie and a few others down in the 24/7 Café for lunch. After a brief visit with Marie back in her room, it was time to get ready. Check-in was supposed to start at 3p – 3:30p, with everyone ready by 4p, guys were supposed to be there between 4:30p – 5:30p. We got ready and were downstairs at promptly 3:15p. Although I was not lucky enough to haveIl Volo monitor fan faire lunch with any of the guys or gamble with any of the mothers, I did seem to keep running into Gaetano! I ran past him briefly as I was going back to the elevator to my room. I looked up and thought, hey he looks familiar…? Uh, duh, that’s Papa Barone! I had really already passed him but turned around and said, “Ciao!” anyway and when he turned around I just waved! He just kind of looked at me and I think grinned a little, but it was hard to tell… After a bit of confusion, we were all finally in the “room” for the event. Our fantasy was coming true – in less than a few hours, our guys would be walking through those elevator doors! When I got to the room, the table right near the entryway was still vacant. I quickly grabbed it as I figured I’d have a prime shot of getting the guys as they walked in. Surprised no one else had grabbed it yet? I guess they thought the outside view from 52 IV FF gift tablefloors up was better than the guys walking in? Not me. I claimed my seat and I wasn’t moving! I quickly saved a few seats for Marie and Kelly, Chris and Sharon. We were able to mingle a bit, and then we waited. And waited.   And waited! Myron kept us up to date with texts from the guys and where their progress was, they were running late, but they’d be there. I tried to keep a close eye on the elevators – security was running up and down. It was nearly 6p, where were they? Finally, Myron seemed to have disappeared around the back and suddenly there was a tre regazzihush and then a roar! The guys were coming around the corner and I had the best seat! They stopped and stood for a few moments on the steps, looking fearfully at the crowd, but with big smiles on their faces. OMG! All these screaming women in one room! Frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t turn around and run the other way! Barbara came down next to follow the guys. Pictures were being snapped left and right, along with videos, smiles, and screams! Myron had to hush everyone down. The guys were to go to everyone’s table for a group picture. It was time for our table and the group photo.igna dimple Everyone just rushed up there, the guys were standing still. By the time I got there, they were surrounded, so Mary and I went behind the guys. I was standing behind Ignazio’s shoulder! Poor Mary was right behind him. Ah, what to do? Oh yes, smell his cologne! So, that is what I did! I got close enough to him and took a big whiff! Yes, it was very nice! A quick click, and then it was over. It was a madhouse and before you knew it, the guys were making their way out again. I really don’t think it was even 30 minutes; it sure didn’t seem that long. The guys were gracious as always, putting up with all of us crazy women, and smiling as they left our presence. As they were leaving, I was able to snap a few pictures and I thought I had gotten Gianluca, but ended up with a blurry picture of Barbara, instead! But, as I turned around, Gianluca came up right behind me and gave me a little pat/back rub on my upper back as he was leaving. It was so sweet! I looked up and was just smiling into his grinning eyes…was a nice surprise! I guess that was way better than the picture? What do you think, Kelly?   Maybe it was because I was one of the few that were just sitting down?


Was a little anti-climactic after that, but at least we still had the concert and meet/greet to look forward to. We ate our dinner, went back to our room quickly, then down again. It wasciao bambino about 7p or so by then and the concert started at 8p. We got to the Pearl and kept walking – we then saw that the line snaked half way around the casino! Fortunately we saw Madeline, who was saving our spots and got in line. They hadn’t opened the doors yet, it was incredibly nutty! Finally, I think they opened the doors shortly after 7p and the line started to move. I saw mom heading toward me and I grabbed her in line! Good thing for long arms!! We got inside, got our VIP stuff and went to the souvenir area. They had a few things and they had the mugs. For some crazy reason, they would not sell us the mugs til after the show – they said we had to wait until after the show? Reason? They thought us crazy people would THROW them at the guys? Really?? Who would spend $25 on a mug to throw it on stage? Ok, fine, then! We made it to our seats. I was in the fourth row and seats were pretty tight! I was dead center though and it was awesome!

Part II to come…



Fan Faire Photo’s

Here are a few photo’s of the Fan Faire taken by David Heaton.  For more  go to ⇒  https://www.facebook.com/jeannette.giglio

Remember…You can click on photo’s to enlarge.

faire 1

faire 2

faire 3

faire 4

faire 5

faire 6

What a great time we had!  Thank you David and Thank You once again, Myron and Jeannette!



Il Volo Professional ~~ Live in Concert North America 2016 Tour: Las Vegas

Il Volo Music Website
Il Volo Music Website



Here’s Vegas!

~~ Kelly


New Album cover_zpsbkmri62c


Photos: Il Volo – North America Tour 2016 / Las Vegas ~~ Il Volo – Italian Fan Club Facebook


Play List

For Fun


Photos:   Northamerican Tour 2016 Las Vegas March 25 ~~ Rock me Il Volo Facebook



Aneme è core, Las Vegas 2016


Photos: Italian Pop Sensation Il Volo Performs Live at the Pearl… ~~ Getty Images