Dreams do come true and Fairytales are real! Here is my story of an evening with those Three Italian Sweethearts.
I Didn’t get much sleep in the days prior. How could I knowing I was soon to see and possibly TOUCH those amazing faces? To even anticipate being in their presence gives me chills and insomnia. My in-person meetings have always been sweeter than I even hope. Not better than my embarrassingly wonderful dreams, but better than I hoped. This gathering was no exception.
On Sunday, July 5th, my sister and I drove 5 1/2 hours to Detroit. The 7 hours it took to get home through flooding storms was nothing. I would have pulled over in Toledo, Ohio and fought a dragon to have been with THEM.
After meeting Jana (what a treat to finally meet my “adopted” daughter) and seeing my friends from Minnesota, (meeting Mary 3 years in a row and 2 years for Suzy, Jane and Allene) all of whom I love dearly, we were looking forward to dinner. We were joined by 2 of Jana’s Pals, Ginny and Chris. I knew the Boys had special friends who owned Antonio’s Italian Restaurant, so we thought since the Boys were coming in early
Antonio’s – The fibbing manager, Suzy and Mary. Suzy is uncontrollable! That’s her hand not Mary’s.
in the afternoon, we might meet them there. No luck. The manager, who fell in love with Ginny, told us the Boys were at the boss’s house for dinner that night. We found out a little later that the Boys were still in New York due to flight delays and didn’t get in until after 10. Don’t go back there Ginny, he lies! Antonio’s had newspaper articles about Il Volo framed on the wall. Allene even had “Il Volo Pollo” from the menu.
Back at the hotel I was prepared for a Pre-Il Volo Night Party in mine and sister Debbie‘s room! I brought Italian flags, Cardboard cutouts of Pisa’s Leaning Tower, Gondolas, The Coliseum, and a map of Italy. I also brought a couple bottles of Italian Moscato, Crystal (or was it plastic) wine glasses and my computer which held EVERYTHING Il Volo. Oh…and I brought speakers. I can not tell you how proud I was when someone knocked on the door and complained. I mean the youngest person in the room was 50! I thought about tearing up the room like a rock star but I didn’t want to scare Jana since I had just met her. The Minnesota Ladies would have forgiven me. Just like they forgave my stunts at the end of this story. No..don’t peek! Note: Only sweet Mary calls me an angel.
My new nightshirt – a gift from Jana
The back of our Nightshirt – I’ll let you translate it!
I didn’t do anything much the next morning after breakfast except run from room to room annoying everyone in nervous anticipation of THIS NIGHT! Sorry about your nap Mary, but I was going to see Ignazio and his friends later!
Yummy. Prime Rib and wine for me.
Other friends at dinner
This, not being my first Il Volo Rodeo of extreme fans, I had either met or recognized about half of the 50 people there. Hello to all of you, especially Emilia, (wait until I tell you about Emilia!) from whom I received three hugs. My most proud moment at the dinner table was when one woman pointed my way and said, “That’s Marie Crider.” I turned around to tell Marie how unusual it was that we would have the same name, but no one was there. The other woman looked confused until the first one said, “Flight Crew”. I could see the light go on. She said, “Oh, I’ve read that.” another woman sitting next to the first one, not to be outdone, said, “I get their emails every day.” I politely thanked them all, but on the inside I was trying to decide if the Queen’s wave was the one from just the wrist. I am happy to tell you that there were several people who came up to meet me because I was a member of The Flight Crew! Never forget your Flight Crew Badge!
Michelle Gaisser, Mgr. Member Engagement, Detroit Public TV, (to whom I am forever grateful for my invitation to the event) brought James Lewis over to my table. He asked to join The Flight Crew. Jim, if you’re reading this I’m sorry I forgot your title with DPTV (marketing?) I was probably distracted by your good looks. Welcome!
Michelle and I
Everyone was having a nice time and trying to act calm until the first spotting of that Dimpled One and 50 people erupted like there were 500.
The Guys did not eat with us. Meet and Greet was next:
Me and those Guys – DPTV Photo
I watched as Jana was anointed by Ignazio. He is so sweet! I didn’t know if I wanted to pinch his cheek or genuflect. Then it was my turn!!! Being second to last I wasn’t hurried. I told them how happy and proud I was for them for becoming so successful at home. You can only guess which one makes me stutter the most, so I tend to speak to him the least. I hugged him (he hugged back!) then I kissed those dimples. I try to be fair to them both and do really good, yet equal, kisses on each dimple. Jim Lewis had my camera and got me sneaking this extra one before the photographer took our group picture. Hey, a girls gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I had heard our Gianluca was ill and had a fever. Sure enough he had to step aside and use a tissue several times. As I was kissing cheeks I lingered on his to see if I could tell if he had a fever. (Well, my mom used to do that!) I think he did. I also wispered a secret in his ear. He smiled. I was kinda hoping I would catch his cold. Didn’t. They all signed my Sanremo DVD insert. I can’t tell you what else was said, it’s a total blank. Did you ever see a dog rub his back in the grass in ecstasy? That’s pretty much how I felt so, no chance to remember mere words. I was just trying not to smile like a fool. As you can see in the picture, I failed that goal. When I got to Piero I asked him to sign a picture Mary’s daughter took of he and I in 2013 when he jumped in our cab. He remembered! He told me when and where it was. He signed it, “With Love. Grande Amore, Piero”. Then he looked at me and tilted his head. Was he trying to remember me from our conversation last year? or did he just notice my really bad hair day? Then Security thought I had had enough time. OK, but not before I get my hug!
Emilia greeting Gianluca. Look at Ignazio’s face. How do they stay so “normal”?
Now to Emilia. I had met sweet Emilia before. They call her “cupcake” not only because she makes them, but because she is so cute and sweet! She’s around 18. She was immediately behind me at the meet and greet. Emilia went directly to Piero and said, “I wanted you to dance with me at my prom.” That Prince of Princes, that gentle man of gentlemen pulled her to him, started singing and waltzed with Emilia tucked snugly into his chest! I wish all of you could have seen her face. I wish I had taken a picture, but I just stood there reveling in the moment. She has a treasured video of that dance on FB. I hope you get to see it!
I know this is long. It will be here. You can finish later if you like. I’ll mark the spot.
⇐ HERE ⇒
We went back to the dining room for dessert. Dessert? Like Jane said in her story, the “real dessert of the evening” was yet to come! I had chocolate covered strawberries. The Boys were in hair and makeup.
Shortly, we were ushered into the studio. The Guys also came in. You have to know how astonished and elated I was to realize that we would be spending the next few hours in a small studio with THEM! Oh, Joy of Joys! First of all I have to tell you that our Anges did not act like angels all the time off the air! They played like three young brothers. They filmed some. They went live-on-air some. They spent time with us during filming breaks. They played three stooges with each other. Remember the night before last they were singing for 60,000 people at a free concert in Napoli and then spent yesterday waiting for a delayed flight that didn’t get to Detroit until after 10 pm. They were tired and probably a little slap-happy, but they had fun!!! And, OH MY GOSH! So did we! Here are just a few of their antics besides dancing and singing silly songs. Sorry that some are blurry, but they were swift in their play and hard to catch.
- DPTV Photo
“Not doing anything, might as well flick an ear.”
Ignazio and I both saw this one coming. Piero didn’t! Ouch!
How do you think Piero would react to a dirty tennis shoe? Yeah, that’s what Gianluca thought too!
Don’t laugh Gianluca. Piero passed it on!
I missed photo’s of some really funny moments too. Like when Ignazio stuck his little finger up Piero’s nose. Thank God he didn’t try that with Gianluca!
These are our Guys. These are our Guys with Security. Do you see the really big guy beside Ignazio? Nice Guy! He and I had several long conversations. Went something like this: Him: “Ma’am, you can’t go in there” Me: “Yes, Sir.” Him: Ma’am, please move on.” Me: ” Yes, Sir.” Him: “Ma’am, Please stop texting. The sound is being picked-up by the microphones.” Me: (oops) “Yes, Sir.” Him: “Put HIM down!” Me: “Nope“. Only that last one is a lie.
The Pompeii Concert was on this screen to my front and right. No one watched this. We all knew the show happening right in front of us would never be sold on Amazon! So, I have yet to see the actual concert!
Piero wandering around us. I think he was looking at the tv monitor I just showed you.
Jana! Pledge Phone Volunteer Extraordinaire
Its Piero with two young happy ladies in hand just walking around.
Whatcha doin’ Big Guy? Checkin’ to see if Little Bro has a fever? I won’t tell…ya big softie!
I was able to step back and have a brief conversation with Barb Vitali. We’re women. We talked about weight. We spoke just a few minutes longer then we had to get to our seats and be quiet again for another taping session. Luckily we were allowed to take pictures the whole time if we didn’t use flash.
If I had half a brain, I would stop my story here by telling you how much I enjoyed our Il Volo Gentlemen and the wonderful men and women with whom I shared the experience. But no… Some of you may never read this site again….
While Ignazio was wandering through the audience the people in front of me asked him to take a selfie with them. So, he bent over directly in front of my face, not a foot away there it was! What could I do? I poked it! I looked at Jane and said, “Oh no! I touched his butt!” When I looked up there he was looking down at me with one eyebrow up to his hairline! He tried to give me a stern look. Didn’t last long and he broke out in a gorgeous smile and said “oooo”. Whew! I had just traumatized myself and have no idea if he said anything else. I only know I did not have another conversation with Big Security Guy. Should have. It would have kept Allene on my left and Jane on my right from trying to rip off their Flight Crew Badges while crawling under their chairs a few minutes later.
The people in front of me did not learn their lesson. I blame them. So, when Piero came walking by they asked for a selfie with him too. Only in his compliance he bent over even further than Ignazio had. To my astonishment I saw two claw-like hands, reach up and… Oh No!…They were my hands! Of course he jumped! He turned around and to my great relief said, “Oh, Thank You!”. I’ll bet you think I sat there in complete humiliation. I didn’t. Jane and Allene did. I was smiling. I am still smiling. It was soft, yet muscular and I’m not sorry I know that.