I’d never been to a Yanni concert before. I think, after this weekend, I’ll try to be at every concert that he does in my geographic vicinity.
I was a fan of Yanni anyway (that’s why we went in the first place, of course), but this was something else. The music, the ambience, even the light tricks to show visuals on a curtain as the music went on – it was all very, very good.
And the sound!! Perfect acoustics, great instruments, great compositions.
And the people!! He’s got a team of musicians that is simply so good! Invariably every song features a solo piece by one of his showcase musicians, and every one of them is a class apart.
And the vocalists!! This Yanni tour is essentially to promote his latest album, called Voices, where he includes, for the first time, vocals in his music. And the vocalists are very good! He says he’s been working with this group of vocalists for two-and-a-half years, and it shows. One big difference that I found from most Indian music is the fact that the singer and the songwriter are the same person in this case, while back in India it’s more common to find one person as a pro singer, who does the singing, and another a pro lyricist, who does the penning. Not so here: the vocalists are actually singing their own lyrics.
The show was at Raleigh, NC, and it turned out that the trip started on an off-beat right at the word go: the GPS decided to take us as the crow flies, rather than via the Interstates and the freeways (yes, I know, you can set it to take you via the shortest route time-wise, but it still gave us that route). The result: a challenging drive through the mountains, but an incredibly scenic drive through the mountains. (And considering that I was behind the wheel, the challenge part was actually part of the fun too :P).
The performance itself I think I can categorize into three parts:
1. Instrumentals, as he has been doing until now (he started off with Santorini, which I think is one of my top 3 favorites among his compositions).
2. Previous compositions, which he has re-incarnated to include the vocals (I was going to write re-mixed or re-composed, but I don’t know which, if either, is the right word to use).
3. Compositions that at least to me seemed unfamilier, and which I guess he has originally composed keeping the vocals in mind.
In all three categories of music, however, he just blows you away. As I have been gushing for a while now, he was very, very good.
1. More Raleigh plus: we had Indian food, specifically Dosa, and Thums Up! 😛
2. A quote by Yanni when talking about times two decades ago, when he and one of his partner musicians used to play in a rock-n-roll band and dream about being in a concert just as the one he was in that evening: “It’s all right to dream once in a while. Sometimes dreams do come true.”