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Pure Yanni

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WhizzerMarvin
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Broadway Legend
joined:
5/26/05
Pure Yanni#1
Posted: 5/30/19 at 9:25am

I was at Yanni last night and the whole evening was pretty surreal. Definitely a fascinating evening from a psychological perspective and a complete 180 from the experience at Morrissey earlier this month. 

All big “stars” who perform one-person shows have long bios that don’t think twice about breaking their arms to pat themselves on the back, but Yanni had one of the more outlandish bios I’ve read of late. Some selections: 

A legendary composer and performer unlike any other, Yanni has brought hundreds of millions of people throughout the world together through his beloved albums and his incredible live performances. Yanni unforgettable performances...have crossed countless borders, touching billions of people worldwide. (From hundreds of millions to billions- the numbers affected continue to rise as the bio goes on!!) And truly, Yanni’s talent knows no bounds, just as his music knows no borders. 

As you can see, we are being set up for almost a Christopher Guest style joke- that no one in the room seemed to be in on! 

Unlike Morrissey, who didn’t deign us with his presence until 8:45, Yanni walked out on stage at 8:01. There was no orchestra and no music. The house lights were turned up the entire evening. He walked on, microphone in hand, and spoke to us as if he were Dr. Phil at a live taping. “I don’t really have anything planned and I don’t know how this evening is going to go,” Yanni began (always a terrifying start for any sane person in the audience!), “but I’ll be taking questions from all of you in the audience and answer them the best I can (say what?!) and then I’ll play a little bit when the spirit moves me.” 

So the first TWENTY MINUTES was him taking questions from audience members, most which had no question at all. They simply wanted to gush to Yanni and tell him how they had saved their lives through his music. It was like Leap of Faith with Yanni as Raul and the audience was the flock. One woman told him how his music battled her cancer for her; another woman hoped he would dedicated a song to her two year old deaf son and the power would help somehow; a third woman began by telling Yanni that she enjoyed him in his “current energy form.” My favorite was the woman who chastised him for not having a disclaimer to wear water proof mascara because she had been crying the entire evening. (In fairness, so I had, but mine were tears of inappropriate laughter.)

Occasionally he would play a little two minute ditty on the piano- all inoffensive, but they sounded the same to me. Whenever there was too much talking with the audience I longed for a song, but as soon as the songs started I started feeling longing for the Q&A session again. 

And then, about halfway through the two hour intermissionless evening, a man got the mic to ask a question and he said, “I love you Yanni, but would you please shut up! We want to hear you play. I didn’t come to hear you talk. Please play your music!” I was DYING. Yanni seemed genuinely thrown off his game and couldn’t fathom that one of his fans wouldn’t want to hear him yammer on for hours about how he overcame his lowest moments or how one should never give up on their dreams. 

It truly was a mind-boggling evening, and made you appreciate all the more what someone like Bruce Springsteen did with his one man show. 

I truly hope someone at the Lunt is reading this, because I have to give a huge shoutout to the AMAZING ushers house left of the mezz. After the joint passing at Morrissey, they were on top of this keeping this crowd in line. 

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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SomethingPeculiar
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joined:6/15/14
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joined:
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Pure Yanni#2
Posted: 5/30/19 at 4:40pm

Omg. This sounds insane and horrible. I really hate everything about this whole "In Residence" series. It's like Vegas, but worse.

Thanks for taking one for the team, Whizzer. I hope they put "a fascinating evening from a psychological perspective" on the marquee!

ArtMan
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joined:9/10/08
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Pure Yanni#3
Posted: 5/30/19 at 4:49pm

Never been a fan.  But would have been worth the price of admission to hear the guy tell him to shut up and play.  These fans of his sound like they are coo koo for coco puffs.

Updated On: 5/30/19 at 04:49 PM
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WhizzerMarvin
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joined:5/26/05
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Pure Yanni#4
Posted: 5/30/19 at 5:32pm

These people were definitely Yanni fanatics. We needed Dr. Hapgood to put them in Groups A & B and then for Cora to lock everyone (including my friends and me I suppose) up in the Cookie Jar. 

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
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scripps
Featured Actor
joined:10/30/06
Featured Actor
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Pure Yanni#5
Posted: 5/30/19 at 9:51pm
I was thinking about springing for a TDF ticket to this as I have fond memories of family road trips with musical accompaniment provided by Yanni CDs purchased at Costco, but after this review I'm just gonna have to hold out for a potential residency by John Tesh.
RWPrincess
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joined:12/7/18
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Pure Yanni#6
Posted: 5/30/19 at 10:54pm
My first recollection of him was Linda Evans bringing him on Oprah back in the 80s.

Whizzer your description of the evening made me laugh out loud. I didn’t realize he had such a dedicated following. What a shame that he didn’t focus on playing music.
RexInLights
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joined:3/30/17
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Pure Yanni#7
Posted: 5/31/19 at 10:48am

I was at the same performance as Whizzer...

I would by no stretch call myself a Yanni superfan, although I do enjoy his music and have listened to it throughout my life. His music is grand, orchestrated with numerous pieces, propulsive, exciting...

This wasn’t it. These songs were fine being played just on a piano, but it really did strip away the magic and majesty. And without the orchestration it all did kind of sound the same.

As for the rest? What a truly bizarre evening. I understand an artist going for intimacy but when you freely admit at the beginning that nothing is planned and you’re going to take guidance from the audience... eek. Audience Q&As frequently make me uncomfortable and this was no different. This wasn’t so much a Q&A as it was incredibly passionate fans praising their icon in increasingly sentimental ways. Although I thought the guy who asked him to shut up and play was rude he also wasn’t wrong.

I’d love to see Yanni in a real concert with a full orchestra. This was just a strange mess.

Updated On: 5/31/19 at 10:48 AM
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PatrickDC
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Pure Yanni#8
Posted: 5/31/19 at 12:52pm

From the BWW review just posted: 

At one point [Yanni] just sat at the piano and wondered aloud, "What can I play you next?" After numerous shouts of suggestions, he turned to the crowd and quipped, "That was a rhetorical question, by the way."

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Mister Matt
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Pure Yanni#9
Posted: 5/31/19 at 1:49pm

I was a big Yanni fan in the 80s (Keys to Imagination stills evokes fond nostalgia for me), but this sounds like an EPIC FAIL in every way.  It seems so bizarre that those involved let it get that far with seemingly no game plan.  Yikes.

"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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Kalimba
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Pure Yanni#10
Posted: 5/31/19 at 2:35pm

I feel like I needed to take a shower just from the "Pure Yanni" title alone.