Print Edition: September 17, 2014
Famous composer and musician Yanni came to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Friday, September 12. I’ll admit, I hadn’t really listened to a lot of his music before, but my mom was an enthusiast so I went with her.
It turned out to be one of the best concerts that I have ever seen.
The lights changed with each song, providing excellent mood-shifting. When the tempo was high, the lights flashed rhythmically and the colours were bright and changed throughout the song; when the tempo was slow, the lights were dimmed and held soft colours.
Yanni himself was a delight as well. He joked with the audience and told personal stories, like how he is the only person in the world that China has allowed to adopt a panda, which he named Santorini. He was also a good sport with the audience’s antics, such as when a fan ran up to the stage to give him a rose, and he got down to lie on the floor in order to kiss her cheek as a thank-you.
As for the music, it was, in short, sublime. You could feel the emotion behind every song, understand its meaning, and get completely lost in the rhythms. The orchestra — which Yanni called his miniature United Nations, as there were so many nationalities — played beautifully, with each solo being highly impressive. When it was the drummer’s turn for a solo, he played for about 10 minutes, and there wasn’t a dull moment. It was marvellous watching his arms move as the tempo increased, then not being able to focus on the movements at all as they got too fast. The amount of skill needed to play as these musicians did is astounding, and the audience either erupted in cheers or sat in stunned silence with each solo.
Yanni played the piano and keyboards (there were eight of them set up in a tiered square for him), but he also conducted each song. As the music played, his hands would be conducting the band; he was doing a very good job of some serious multitasking.
A song called “Nightingale” really sticks out in my mind. An instrumental, though complemented by wordless vocals, it sounded like a blend of Snow White’s voice and Chinese instrumentals. This comparison makes sense, though, because Yanni mentioned that “Nightingale” was written specifically to be performed at the Forbidden City in China.
Walking into this concert as a general appreciator, I walked out as a full-blown fan. I understand the loud cheers of the crowd and why he plays all over the world. His music doesn’t just sound nice; it inspires you and feels as if it’s penetrating your soul.
If you ever have the chance to go to any performance of Yanni’s, I would seriously recommend you do.