Concert Review: Yanni Shines at Radio City Music Hall

On Saturday, April 9, 2011, world-renowned pianist and composer Yanni performed at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York, as part of his North American tour. His multi-talented orchestra consisted of thirteen members including Alexander Zhiroff on cello, Gabriel Vivas on bass guitar, Mary Simpson on violin, Paraguay-native Victor Espinola on harp, Ming Freeman on keyboards, Yoel Del Sol on percussion, and Charlie Adams on drums. Throughout the evening, Yanni introduced his orchestra members in pairs, as they showcased their mastery on their musical instruments.

Yanni greeted New York in his opening remarks and indicated that “it is nice to be back, especially at Radio City Music Hall,” and noted that “spring is finally here,” after the City had endured such a cold and snowy winter. He further stated that the purpose of this concert was to provide an escape and take his audience away from everyday life and its problems.

His set-list featured fan-favorite compositions such as “Santorini,” the stunning “Within Attraction,” the positive-sounding “End of August” and “Acroyiali,” which Yanni noted is set in a fishing village on a moonlit night; moreover, he performed the haunting, yet beautiful “Voyage” from his newest record Truth of Touch.

Perhaps the most emotional moment of the evening was when Yanni gave a moving performance of “Felitsa,” in which he pays tribute to his mother, a woman that brought him much love and peace in his life.

Particularly impressive about the stage were its vibrant lights and backgrounds, which truly captured the mood and intensity of each song.

Yanni introduced drummer Charlie Adams as his good friend of thirty years, as well as someone who had played with him in a rock and roll band; moreover, the two of them would dream that they would someday perform at a venue such as Radio City Music Hall. Both Yanni and Adams stand as proof that dreams can come true.

To describe Adams further, Yanni used the following quote from the Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump: “he’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” To showcase his support for the New York athletic teams, Adams sported a Yankees T-shirt, as well as Carmelo Anthony’s New York Knicks jersey. Adams’ superb drum solo was one of the evening’s highlights, earning the first standing ovation of the night.

Over the course of the show, the audience vociferously showed their admiration and love for Yanni and he even responded at one point in Modern Greek: “kai ego s’ agapo,” which translates into “I love you too.”

Dressed in elegant black dresses, vocalists Lisa Lavie and Lauren Jelencovich joined Yanni on two back-to-back tunes in which they showcased their mellifluous vocals, and managed to get the crowd to stand up and clap along.

For his encore, he performed “Standing in Motion,” as well as the up-tempo “The Storm,” both of which garnered huge standing ovations. For his New York fans, Yanni remarked “you are an amazing audience! I was hoping to pick you up, but you picked us up ten times as much!”

Yanni concluded his show with an empowering thought, in which he noted that everything that has ever happened in humanity commenced with a single thought; he further stated that he dreams of the day when violence will finally come to a stop, and that everyone in the planet will get to live a life of dignity. “I love you New York,” Yanni said. He went on to perform his third and final encore song “One Man’s Dream,” which he dedicated to all the audience members.

In summation, Yanni was one spectacular performer who was able to command the Radio City Music Hall stage like none other. Backed with an exquisite orchestra, his North American tour is recommended for listeners of all genres of music. Many concertgoers who were unfamiliar with Yanni’s music prior to tonight, will certainly leave the venue as fans of contemporary instrumental music. Although his albums are equally remarkable, it is safe to say that one has not seen Yanni unless they see him live in concert.

To learn whether Yanni will come to a city near you, please visit his official website.