Thursday, May 28, 2009

Yanni – Target Center – Minneapolis, MN

Go ahead and mock (you know you will), but I’m a Yanni fan. When he announced he was coming to Minneapolis, I was pretty excited. My dad is also a big fan, so I figured he’d be coming up from Illinois to go to this with me. We’ve gone to see Yanni three other times (yes, continue the mocking). We ARE that lame, but we’re a combo team. My dad is also a card carrying member of the Yanni fan club, so he’s got access to crazy deals. Which is why I got a phone call from my father telling me we got front row seats to the Minneapolis show. I asked, “front row balcony?” and he assured me, “front row front row.” W.U.R.D.

It would have ruled had we been able to eat at Fogo do Chao like I had hoped, but we didn’t want to miss anything, so we got to the show early. We walked right past the merch booths which were selling t-shirts for $40 and hoodies fo $65. Wow. Pricey. So we just headed to our seats. We even got ushered down to our seats in the front row. Class act, the Target Center.

I could go into tons of detail about the show, but I’ll try to keep it to a minimum and not critique each song. This tour Yanni wanted to bring in lots of vocals, so he found four really awesome singers to write lyrics for some of his songs and some to perform some stuff that Yanni had written. There was blonde guy that looked like me (according to dad and a couple of people sitting near me) who was an amazing singer and was Mr. Sex Guy. The other guy is more clean cut and white bread, but apparently is a janitor in his real life, but he got picked up by Yanni because he’s incredible. There was a smoking hot brunette who could sing the crap out of some Italian songs and could dance and just look smoking hot in slinky dresses. Did I mention she was smoking hot? Then there was the token Hollywood-beautiful blonde girl with the very mainstream-popular voice – she could only sing in English and could really dance all that well, but she was pretty-ish.

The songs that Yanni had written before vocals were brilliant as usual. I don’t even know what the names of all the songs were, but Yanni played for three hours with an intermission. The newer songs written with vocals were a little more watered down and less focused on musical talent, which was a let down. And the songs which the blonde girl sang in English were my least favorite. I’ll concede she can sing, but when the songs are in English, there was a hokey quality to them.

Not only were we sitting 10 feet from Yanni, but the sound quality was perfect, and the lights were perfect, and the music was perfect. Yanni prances around like he’s flamboyantly gay, but clearly he’s not (since he was sticking it to Linda Evans for years).

The solos for each of the instruments were phenomenal. An Armenian violinist who was incredible – he could make the violin sound like it wasn’t a violin and had a folksy style. There was an Asian violinist who was technically superior to any violinist I’ve ever seen, but didn’t have as much feeling as the Armenian guy. The cellist was brilliant and looked like he was having fun, threw in a couple of things that he didn’t put in on the DVD, so you can tell he was milking the crowd, but not in a tacky way. The trumpet player was simply phenomenal – no other comments needed. The harpist seriously brought some flair to the harp that I’m guessing most of the crowd had never seen – amazingly talented and creative and even rocked the harp on his shoulder metal-style. The drummer is a robot and has never messed up in his entire life – just a perfect performance and looks effortless. A classical guitarist from Brazil threw down some serious licks and sang backups on a couple songs with some serious skills. But the guy that stole the show for me was the bass player (not filler in this case – ha ha ha). He did some incredible things the entire show but was overlooked because so many other people were soloing. The guy did a quick bass solo that blew people away. This guy needs a raise.

The only downside was sitting that close, we couldn’t see what they were showing on the screen that they lowered in front of the stage periodically. But I don’t think it was important anyway – just filler and ambience. There was a huge screen behind everything so you could see everything, not that we couldn’t already see everything from the FRONT ROW.

I’ll go see Yanni again (and again). It’s quality music (this coming from a musician) and it’s definitely a “show”. Now stop mocking, jerks.

Top 5 things about the Yanni concert
1. Font row seats
2. Amazing soloists
3. Smokin hot brunette
4. My dad cheering and screaming for more songs at a concert is HI-LARIOUS! I thought I was at a Hannah Montana concert for a second there...
5. I didn’t get hit with Yanni sweat

Bottom 5 things
1. Couldn’t see the screen they put in front of the band
2. Yanni cut his hair and shaved his signature mustache
3. There was a Vegas-style dance-on-the-piano number that could have been left out
4. Blonde girl songs in English didn’t thrill me
5. All my friends will make fun of me for months about this show (just like the other three)…

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