Thursday, April 24, 2014

Yanni - Live in Bangalore

The one thing I promised myself is a concert a year. I missed one last year because no group worth its salt came by. When I heard PV speak about Yanni coming up in our workshop at Stratapps my ears cocked up. Yanni at the Acropolis was fresh in my mind, I can see the cassette cover in my mind's eye, hear Santorini, Aria and other numbers. I liked what I heard of Yanni, the music had good energy and I wished I had gone to the Taj to see his performance. Well Bangalore is not a bad second either, though its almost 15 years later. So I booked my ticket for the show on the 18th of April, got a CD full of Yanni numbers and zoomed off in the faithful car with the family, Shobha and Anjali coming with their own agendas - of meeting friends and other activities.

The concerts have now moved out of Palace grounds and into the Hebbal area. Each ground these days looks like those vague cricket grounds we used to go to play matches when we were young, uneven, far. But this time the venue was a convention centre, White Orchid, near Manyata Tech Centre. This is within walking distance from Nish and Rajesh's home.

On concert day I dropped in early to pick up my ticket and check out the place. It looked rather small and I was wondering how they'd cope with the crowd. The program had been low key in its advertisement and not many people knew of it yet. The show was to start at 8 and I made my way there by 7, stood in one of the queues, met the young and happy Atish Singh, an architect, and we both struck up a conversation and a partnership. Inside, the hall was a disappointment. There were columns that came in the way of the people who did not get in early which was not shown in the plan and which was unfair because all you had to look at was at the screens. It looked like about 10000 people were packed in and once again, packed is the word, with hardly any space for people to walk by, chairs crammed in as they used to be in private buses. The place looked like a fire hazard to me, with its small exits, large crowd and no space to move or manoeuvre. Some rumour floated about that AR Rahman was amongst us and everyone stood up, wonder why. We could see nothing.
Yanni from between columns (he's to the left, in between the columns)

Yanni and his musicians came and played all the best numbers from 815 pm to 11 pm and I enjoyed the music and the musicians expertise thoroughly. The acoustics were bad and it did sound almost like listening to him at a system at home. But stop whining and let's listen to Santorini, The Rain Must Fall, Keys to Imagination, Aria, Felista, Butterfly dance, Nightbird, Nostalgia, Forbidden dreams, One Man's Dream. Once he started playing, all was forgiven. I was transported into all the times when I heard Yanni play, all my private memories of tranquility, of peace, of hope and it was nice to be there again revisiting old friends from two decades gone by. That is what music does to me, brushes up and brings forth memories until they come alive.
Yanni on the screen, but the stage was far better

The crowd had families and a large number of sixty pluses. Many parent-son/daughter pairs. No signs of smoke or any unruliness, all clean and spick and span. I loved what Yanni said at the end. He said he spoke to an astronaut and he said 'From up there I could not find any boundaries between countries. It all looked like one place, one people.'. Yanni said sincerely that he hoped for a world like that without boundaries, where we are all brothers and sisters. Ah, but we all hope for that world too.

Yanni has played at monuments such as the Acropolis (his Live at the Acropolis is the second best selling video in the world), Taj Mahal, Forbidden City, Burj Khalifa, Kremlin, El Morro castle, Byblos. He has produced albums that were in the Billboard categories, received Grammy nominations, played in 20 countries for over 2 million people. He looks young and happy, the reason why he chose music over psychology in which he graduated, and believes in the one world and one people philosophy. Interestingly Yanni apparently also set a Greek record  in swimming when he was 14. Pursue your dream, find a way and you will achieve it, seems to be the story of his life.

Enjoyed the show, walked the distance home. After getting stuck in the melee at the Guns and Roses concert, I decided to travel by auto. Home in half an hour. Content. To listen to more of Yanni in the car now.

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