Yanni in Concert, Quebec City

Yanni in Concert, Quebec City

by Jason Enlow

I own two Yanni CDs: Reflections of Passion from 1990 and Dare to dream from 1992. I pretty much knew what to expect on June 20, 2012 when I went to see Yanni and his orchestra perform at Le Grand théâtre de Québec; a relaxing evening of adult contemporary new age piano music. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

YanniQuebecCity2012Yanni’s orchestra took to the stage; strings, brass, percussion, vocalists….there were 14 artists in all. Then Yanni jogged onstage to his grand piano in front. His enthusiasm was apparent and contagious throughout the two and half hour non-stop concert.  “I liked his energy,” said Chelsea Baker, winner of a pair of tickets from www.lifeinquebec.com. Chelsea also said that back in university she used to study to the Yanni’s music, and we heard some of those familiar songs. But we were also swept away with other pieces; much more vibrant and too exciting to be conducive to learning. One minute the flawless playing of the orchestra would be ebbing and flowing to Yanni’s Greek inspired piano playing and then, without warning, a tempest of thick beats and fat, low bass synth would wash over us. It was rock, classical, fusion, world, new age…it was music that refused to be defined.

“Bonsoir Quebec,” said Yanni to the cheering all ages audience after the third song. “I like this intimate theatre; everyone is so close. It’s like sitting in a living room with friends having a party.” The crowd loved that and it really did summarize the intimacy that had quickly descended upon us. It was an evening that highlighted the virtuosity of each individual artist with many surprising solos. The orchestra was made up of musicians whose origins were as varied as Yanni’s music itself. Even from my row H seat I could see the satisfaction each artist derived from successfully pulling off an almost impossible display of talent. Violinist Mary Simpson never once stopped smiling as she played a solo that was so intense that it shredded her bow strings. There were standing ovations throughout the show for various players, something I have never seen before.

Another surprise came when Charlie Adams, Yanni’s long time drummer, stood up from behind his kit sporting a Nordiques hockey jersey. The audience went wild. Yanni explained that “he’s been doing this to me all over the world. Every night he wears a different shirt and I told him that if he ever wears the wrong one, he’s dead!” That cracked everyone up. When it was time for Yanni to go, he draped the Quebec flag over his shoulders as he left the stage. Of course he received a standing ovation, but then another unusual event took place, the audience began chanting. If you’d like to see for yourself you can watch a short video showing the amazing reaction of the crowd at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e02-LqcVZmU.

Yanni ran back out saying “You don’t want to go home? Neither do we!” Then they launched into “The Storm” which got everyone out of their seats. “What and awesome audience you are!” said Yanni. “You are very loud, we like that a lot. You can all dance, everybody got up and you can keep a beat. You’re the best in the world!” He finished off the concert with “One Man’s Dream” and a message that to people everywhere that there is nothing we can’t do when we all come together. It truly was a magical evening.

Categories: Arts & Culture, News

About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.