Surprise, the new Yanni isn’t a yawner
Surprisingly, no! And I’m the newly-eyes-opened witness to tell you why.
Until last Tuesday night, all I really knew about Yanni was that he produced some distinctive New Age CDs, keyboards mostly, awhile back and that his trademark look was long-hair. My only example of his work went MIA when I left it in the CD player of a car I traded off—two vehicles ago.
So, when an Email popped up offering two tickets from Danny Pumpelly to the Yanni Concert at KC’s Sprint Center that night, I mused aloud, “Hmmm….Maybe I should go get those tickets.”
It was already after five, but my ICD compatriots still at their desks, Erin Sullivan and Tracy Benbrook, urged me on--with equal parts ridicule and ‘we dare you’—to risk it for the tickets.
I shoved my way into Danny’s office to discover only one rival for the tix: Shana Kreikemier. She had them in her hand, waving them thoughtfully. “Oh,” I said, not sure if I felt deflated or not, “I guess they are taken.”
Shana offered them to me, saying, “Actually, I’m not sure I can make it to the concert tonight.”
From that moment on, the musical planets aligned. En route to change clothes, I called a friend, who stunned me by saying, “Yes, I’m available for the concert tonite,” despite not knowing the first note about Yanni. We readily found parking and our seats, bought a tee shirt (at Danny’s request)—all good.
The concert itself, styled Yanni Voices, started off with a long, slow bluhh number performed behind a transparent curtain. “Gonna be a long night,” I thought.
It wasn’t. Once the curtain rose, the tempo did, too. The voices: Nathan Pacheco, Chloe, Leslie Mills and Ender Thomas—seen and heard on at least one PBS special of the same name—stunned. The staging turned clever, the camaraderie among performers zoomed to the height of the top tier seating and the level of musicianship astonished. World class!
One highlight—a performance progressing through every Latin dance I could name and a couple I couldn’t—featured Chloe (I think) dancing and singing and vamping through a 10-minute segment that took my breath. (How she had the pipes to keep singing I’ll never know.)
By the second half of the show, audience members were on their feet, moving, grooving and keeping the beat, rapt at the variety of music ethnicities that Yanni and his troupe so powerfully displayed.
I stood, applauding and whooping, for two curtain calls.
In the bathroom, I ran into an exotic woman with a heavy Cuban accent, from Miami. She purred, “I first saw Yanni in MeeAHme (she rhymed) nine years ago and wherever I’m near a concert of his, I go. I just happened to be in Kansas City this week, and look, here I am.”
Indeed. And so was I. Amazed. Thankful that Danny Pumpelly couldn’t make the show. (And yes, Tee, I really WAS sorry that I got those tickets instead of you, but only for two seconds Next time you need to work late so you too can scramble for the tickets…..)