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Story and photos by Andy ArgyrakisWith sold out performances at such landmarks as the Acropolis in Greece, the Taj Mahal in India and the Forbidden City in China, Yanni's reach as a pianist and composer is truly worldwide. The multi-faceted performer's often been placed in the new age genre, despite personally preferring the term "contemporary instrumental," though regardless of what to call it, all sides of his classically-inspired repertoire were on display at a snuggly packed Sears Centre.
Along with a 13 person backing band/mini-orchestra, Yanni presented selections spanning his thirty year career, including presentations from the brand new Touch of Truth, which marks his first entirely instrumental album in eight years after featuring guest singers on 2009's Yanni Voices experiment. Clearly, his fans are more fascinated with the massive wall of sound that the latest tour produced, which showcased the Greek-born entertainer's dexterity on the ivories, along with his supporting players' highly refined but at times fiery gusto.
The veteran presented twenty tunes throughout the night, highlighting his personal heritage throughout "Santorini," demonstrating his appeal in Olympic and athletic circles with the competitive "Keys to Imagination" and turning towards breezy new age tides during "Voyage." The crescendo-filled "The Rain Must Fall" made an even more memorable impact, demonstrating the entire ensemble's ability to jam together with surprising aggression most readily reserved for a proper rock n' roll show.
In fact, the two hour evening let loose a few other surprises that suggested Yanni shouldn't be written off as a snore just because some of his wordless works found their way into elevator rotation. "Desire" oozed with middle eastern romanticism, "Standing in Motion" charged with brisk pairings of piano, strings and percussion, while "One Man's Dream" was sweetly wound around symphonic grandeur. Add in indigenous instrumentation from just about every nationality imaginable played by an equally diverse cast, and it's easy to understand why Yanni still amasses international appeal three decades into his journey.
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