Yanni - Live (2006)
Yanni Live! The Concert Event CD
Yanni Live! is an orgiastic synthstravaganza of sanitized mediocrity. If you're a fan of World music and artists such as Afro Celt Sound System, you might think that the diverse cultural backgrounds of Yanni's musical ensemble might appeal. But you'd be wrong. In fact, if you're a fan of music, period, avoid this CD at all costs.
Like a musical version of Angelina Jolie, Yanni has adopted musicians from all over the world; an Australian didgeridoo player, a Paraguayan harpist, a Japanese violinist, and a veritable cornucopia of international players make up his background musicians. In an effort to present as many of the world's cultures and musical genres in one group as possible, Yanni has mashed together the absolute worst aspects of each type of music to create a pastiche of sound that is about as interesting as a Hallmark greeting card and as appetizing as a slice of processed cheese.
This homogenous wall of slickly produced music is like a soundtrack for a film no one wants to see; the sort of film where people run toward each other, arms outstretched, under a Technicolour sunset, on a sandy beach in some awful vacation town full of people having mid life crises. The sort of film where women sob uncontrollably, which inevitably leads to sensual love making sessions all candle-lit and shit with crap music accentuating the tedious bumping of various middle aged ugly bits. You know, that sort of cliche film that your mother loses her mind for and forces you to sit through after she's had a few.
Each track is on Yanni Live! is nearly indistinguishable from the next. Some songs crescendo into a short vocal bit from a guest musician. Some songs feature didgeridoo. Some songs go on and on forever and blend into the background of your life like aural wallpaper. Other songs do exactly the same thing only with a slightly different tempo. Whatever grittiness or natural ambience you might expect to find on a live album has been stripped away in an effort to over-produce what is already a slick to the point of oily production.
Yanni Live! The Concert Event DVD
Fuck Laser Floyd! You haven't seen lasers until you've seen Yanni's lasers, scalpel edged green lines of brilliance that accentuate the thickness of his mustache and the sexiness of his pouchy trousers.
The multi-tiered stage that is set obstensibly in some sort of Athenian ruin houses a string section, vocalists, percussionists, and at the forefront of the stage, a bank of spot-lit synthesizers that display the main attraction; Yanni. With effete hand gestures and sexified hair flicks Yanni conducts his massive background ensemble through a technically impressive run of songs that sound almost, but not quite, musically interesting.
In my head, Raffi and Yanni were the same person, long haired pervs with big mustaches. I'm still not sure what the difference is between them. I think Raffi wears brightly coloured sweaters as opposed to Yanni's more alluring gray three quarter sleeved baggy woolen number. Or is it that Yanni resembles not so much an international musical sensation as he does an aging, shifty, second rate magician who could at any moment break into a bit with doves and sawed-in-half ladies in skimpy show girl outfits except that would at least be momentarily interesting which would make it very different from the live performance showcased on this DVD.
Playing to an apparently tranquilized yet appreciative massive audience, Yanni's ridiculously over the top stage set inspires in one a sense not so much of grandeur as of gross. There is something repulsive about the sheer enthusiasm and seeming gratitude of his backing musicians, and something icky about Yanni's finger snapping, hip pumping, head bobbing dance behind his keyboard. The entire production is so ludicrously excessive and yet devoid of any soul or interest that the contrast between the two causes a temporal rift in the space-time continuum and sucks all vigour and zest for life into the vaccuum created by the space where the music should but entirely fails to be. There is definitely some sort of sound created by the twenty odd people on stage but what exactly that sound is remains a cosmic mystery. This is the aural equivalent of a wait in a dentist's office for minor surgery.
This is not a concert performance that will have you on the edge of your seat, captivated by the energy and enthusiasm of the performers. This is more like watching a fish tank while you're high on painkillers.
Technically the DVD is well produced, the sound is crisp and the cinematography is clean and sharp. There are some glimpses of backstage action and rehearsals, and the menu is easy to navigate. But these features are not nearly entertaining enough to warrant watching Yanni Live!
- Roxanna Bennett
Posted by wino at Friday, November 17, 2006