Their third studio album, “L’amore si muove,” has reached No. 1 on the Italian charts and they have appearances on “American Idol” and “Entourage” to their credit. Still, the easy-on-the-eyes – and ears – Italian trio collectively known as Il Volo is far from a household name in the United States.
That didn’t stop a lively crowd from filling Kleinhans Music Hall on Friday night as Il Volo launched a 34-date North American tour in Buffalo.
Nattily dressed in black suits, with perfectly coiffed hair and voices we could only dream of waking with one day, the trio of baritone Gianluca Ginoble and tenors Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto hypnotized the crowd with an evening of Italian “popera.”
During a 26-song set, spanning nearly two hours, Il Volo carefully mixed in their best-known Italian love songs, playing heavily from their best-selling album, the aforementioned, “L’amore si muove,” including a stirring rendition of the Grammy-nominated, “Beautiful That Way (La vita e Bella).”
But they wisely put their English to the test, offering up several iconic American classics, including a bold cover of Frank Sinatra’s 1969 signature hit, “My Way.” Add to that a little Righteous Brothers, (“Unchained Melody”) and a taste of the “Cats” soundtrack (“Memory”) and you had the makings of an immensely enjoyable evening of music.
If there is a criticism to be made of Il Volo’s performance, it comes from an unlikely source: the lighting. A near-obsession with continually flooding both the stage and the audience with spotlights at times washed out the performers and served more as a distraction from, not an enhancement of, the music.
That being said, no amount of light was going to outshine this immensely talented trio from across the pond. With Buffalo often being seen as an afterthought on the concert circuit, those who filled Kleinhans to watch the first show of Il Volo’s North American tour were treated to an evening of melodic bliss the likes of which will be tough to top.
And, like seasoned pros, Il Volo saved their best for last, offering up a two-song encore that featured “La vita” and “Grande Amore,” a fitting finale for a fantastic show.
As I made my way out of Kleinhans, I found myself thinking back to the iconic scene in “The Shawshank Redemption.” You remember it, don’t you? Andy gets an old shipment of 33 rpm records and decides to liven things up with some Italian opera music, much to the consternation of the prison guards.
Morgan Freeman’s character says of the music: “I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid.”
And so it is of an evening with Il Volo: not knowing much of what the talented crooners are saying allows you to sit back and soak in the pure beauty of their voices, the joy of the music and, at least from my seat, make the words anything you want them to be.
Friday night in Kleinhans Music Hall