Nearly four years ago, New Age composer and musician Yanni, who performs at the Gorge on Sunday, visualized going back to his native Greece to perform in front of thousands at the Acropolis in Athens.
The concert was to serve two purposes: help launch his burgeoning career to an international level and fulfill his dream of performing in front of a hometown audience.
Eighteen months before the concert, the Tacoma resident began planning the event. The whole production would cost him $2 million. He hired a six-piece band as well as the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Shardad Rohani.
Because the concert would be recorded for a possible album and taped for television broadcast, some 200 lighting and sound technicians and cameramen were required.
On Sept. 25, 1993, the elaborate production of “Yanni: Live at the Acropolis” was successfully staged before a capacity crowd. Then came the hard part: marketing the 90-minute video to TV networks.
None would air it. Cable turned it down, too. Even PBS was leery but eventually did pick the program up.
“Yanni needed national exposure and a way to get on PBS,” Steve Rogers, president of Tampa PBS affiliate WEDU, told the Tampa Tribune and Times. “PBS stations need a hit.”
“Live at the Acropolis” turned out to be that hit. So much so that the program was released in video, compact disc and audio cassette media last year. Copies have sold in the millions, making Yanni an international superstar.
His 10 albums, including “In My Time,” “Dare to Dream” and “Reflections of Passion,” have sold 12 million copies.
After listening to his music, it’s easy to see why his fans range in age from 6 to 70 years old. Yanni has a gift for connecting emotionally. He makes people feel something.
In a second, Yanni can go from lifting the spirits of thousands with his upbeat and inspiring, Mediterranean-styled orchestrations to turning smiles to tears with somber, reflective melodies.
Another wonderful attribute about his music is that it captures the attention of even the most blase of music fans and forces them to drop whatever they’re doing for a moment.
Anyone who has ever flipped through the TV channels and accidentally stumbled across one of the umpteen showings of showings of “Live at the Acropolis” on PBS will attest to this.
Yanni’s tour mirrors that of “Live at the Acropolis.”
It features Yanni, a full band and a 45-piece symphony orchestra.
The Gorge may not be as breathtaking as Athens but will still provide a majestic backdrop for Yanni’s distinctive orchestrations.
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Yanni Location and time: The Gorge, Sunday, 8 p.m. Tickets: $31 (the $52 and $41.50 tickets are sold out), available only through Ticketmaster