The Scene: After being called “young man” when I picked my tickets up at the box office, I looked around and realized that I was definitely one of the youngest in attendance. The average age in the crowd was probably about 50 or 55 with the occasional mom and dad dragging a tween behind them. The reserved crowd only served to highlight the gentleman in the front row who called out a few requests, which Yanni cleared heard and commented on, and at one point handed the star of the night a bottle of water (which he did take a sip from). While he didn’t quite steal the spotlight, he sure seemed to like the attention.
Yanni: I’m sure that this probably isn’t a show that most readers of this site would have ended up at, and let me be the first to say that I never thought I’d be caught dead at a Yanni concert, but sometimes you’ve got to widen your horizons and see what else is out there. I must say that I was pretty much glad I did.
The show started fairly slowly, with a couple of pieces of music that focused on Yanni’s synth and piano skills and then it really turned a corner as he started to focus on some of the other 13 musicians in the band that was on two risers behind him. The first thing that really floored me was an incredible Flugelhorn solo by one of the members of the three piece brass section. The full mellow sound of the instrument was a perfect fit with Yanni’s music and the range of the performer was incredible and earned him one of the biggest ovations of the evening.
A little later in the show, right after the water incident described above, drummer Charlie Adams hammed things up a bit when he appeared standing behind his kit wearing a Colorado Rockies Jersey and coaxing the fans to cheer for him. Unfortunately Yanni took a little of the spontaneity out of the moment when he revealed that Adams “does this to me every night, he puts on a different t-shirt without telling me. I always tell him that he better wear the right shirt!” It was clear from the reaction of the crowd that they didn’t really care about the canned moment and instead showered praise on the antics of the duo. During the middle of the song that followed Adams commanded the spotlight for several minutes with a drum solo worthy of some of the big arena rock bands of the 80’s. He showed great skill and mastery of his instrument, as did most of the performers on stage, and when the final cymbal crashed the crowd was on their feet for him.
Other highlights of the show were a slap bass solo that was reminiscent of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” and a violin duel that would have made a lot of Bluegrass fiddlers proud. Unfortunately, if you were to set the evenings solos aside, overall the music combined elements of Rock, Jazz, and Classical without quite getting deep enough into any one genre to make it truly interesting. Though I wasn’t terribly impressed by him as a musician, Yanni clearly has a devoted following that were hanging on every note that came from the stage and the slightly bashful nature of his stage banter was endearing even if it did seem a bit rehearsed.
As the two hour show drew to close, Yanni managed to get just about the entire crowd on their feet and clapping along with the band as they laid down an almost disco vibe. Before the lights came up and we all headed out into the snowy spring night, Yanni pulled out the old show biz trick of asking the audience if they wanted to go home. When he was rewarded with the obligatory “NO!” from the three quarter full room, he fired up the band again for another signature piece of music that iced the cake for most hardcore fans. Pretty much everyone left the theater smiling and that’s always good to see after a night of music.
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: B