Just after the first of the year, the people with One2One Network (a word-of-mouth marketing network) offered to let me to review the new CD, Yanni Voices. The idea behind the CD was that Yanni had reinterpreted some of his classic songs by bringing in four young, amazingly talented singers and allowing them the write lyrics to his music. I accepted the review more out of curiosity than anything; I had always thought of Yanni as “new age,” and definitely not my style of music. How was this new project going to change my mind?
Well, it didn’t exactly change my mind. It BLEW my mind. The four artists – Nathan Pacheco, Ender Thomas, Leslie Mills, and Chloe – all have different strengths as singers and all bring something powerful and passionate to Yanni’s music. I fell in love with the Yanni Voices CD.
Two weeks ago I found out that One2One Network had two tickets for me & my husband to see the Yanni Voices Live in Concert in Houston. YES!
We arrived at the Toyota Center in Houston, picked up our tickets *and* our VIP “meet and greet” passes. Our seats were amazing! My husband and I got there early and had fun watching people file into their seats. I couldn’t help it – I had to laugh at the many people who walked to their seats, dressed to the nines, carrying huge trays of soda, popcorn, and nachos. All the concession stands were open, and I was totally amused on the contrast of formal wear vs. casual food. In fact, the contrast applied to the people there, as well. My husband commented on the many, many different nationalities present. There were also young and old, full suits and baseball caps and shorts. We were a very diverse crowd.
The stage was designed in an unusual fashion; it was square and compact, with an opaque ceiling-to-floor curtain on all four sides. The concert started with a mix of music and videos projected onto the curtain. I understood the intention to be having the audience experience the music not only audibly, but visually as well, and that was alright. The curtain came down and the proper concert started, but they did use the curtain at several other points during the night. My husband and I agreed that five more minutes of the curtain, and we would have been slightly annoyed – but that’s not what I REALLY want to tell you.
What I REALLY want to tell you is that the concert was un.be.liev.able. I lost count of how many times I used phrases like, “crazy!,” “amazing!,” “such talent!” In fact, I had to apologize to my husband at one point for talking so much; I could hardly contain my amazement and enthusiasm. All of the vocalists were so gifted. And Yanni was clever and charming. His orchestra must have some of the greatest talent in the world. Several times during the course of the night he highlighted different members of his orchestra, and often they would have little “battles” on stage (like the two dueling violinists – wow!). I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone play instruments like these orchestra members did.
You are going to think I am an incredible sap, but a few times during the night I thought I was going to cry. Not necessarily because of any one song, but just because of the power and the passion onstage. I don’t know how they did it, but every one of the vocalists, every one of the orchestra members, and especially Yanni himself, pulled the entire audience into their world that night. The energy from the stage was electric; I told my husband that you would have thought they were playing Madison Square Garden or something. They gave us their best – they gave us absolutely everything, and it was stunning. My heart was so full.
I heard some people around us saying how they almost didn’t come to the concert that night. There were apparently many “classic Yanni” fans who came to see just him, and were reluctant to try to understand this new Voices project with Nathan, Ender, Leslie, and Chloe. By intermission, even the long-time fans were convinced of the brilliance of this group. I thought it was great at the end of the night how Yanni came out for an encore and played some of his early work – those long-time fans screamed and cheered with great appreciation.
After the show, we were pulled aside with a small group of people for a special meet and greet with the vocalists (side note: my husband was bummed that he wouldn’t get to meet the trumpet player – that guy rocked the house!). Sitting in a room with maybe twenty other people, I was tickled when one of the organizers came in and specifically asked, “Do we have anyone with One2One Network here?” We got to meet them first! Just us! And by “just us,” I mean myself and one other Houston blogger who I was very happy to meet – Alba of Independentmami. We met the vocalists as they were coming off the elevator, and despite just coming off stage from a long night, they were so warm and kind and happy to see us.
At the end of the night, I told my husband that I think anyone who appreciates music at all would enjoy this concert. Yanni Voices Live in Concert still has upcoming shows all throughout California, as well as one in Las Vegas and one in Phoenix. Some of those shows even have $10 tickets available! To see a fabulous video of highlights from the concert (as well as video introductions to each of the vocalists), visit this page on Yanni.com.
Many, MANY thanks to One2One Network for introducing us to Yanni Voices, and for sending us to the concert!