The article also includes several excellent photos of the show.http://www.hearsay.cc/blog/?p=1599Chloe, Leslie, Ender and Nathan battle it out as Yanni turns to talent scout on Voices tour
Some artists find the most success when giving their career a complete makeover, and in the case of Yanni, he’s literally shifted from a late night PBS punch line (Yawni anyone?) to a Simon Cowell-styled talent scout of sorts. Along with the makeover comes the cutting of his lengthy locks, the shaving of that signature mustache and signing a record deal with Disney, also the home to Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers and plenty of today’s teen poppers.
And these days, the new age stalwart turned piano popper is finding a somewhat unexpected audience outside of the graying generation thanks to a recent talent search that plucked four fresh-faced signers out of obscurity and gave them a national platform on the Yanni Voices CD (produced by Jennifer Lopez/Mariah Carey mastermind Ric Wake), followed by an arena tour.
At the acoustically inviting Sears Centre just outside Chicago on Friday night, Yanni’s tickling of the ivories may been heavily featured on the jumbo trons, but his much younger collaborators really turned some heads. Twenty-somethings Nathan Pacheco, Ender Thomas, Leslie Mills and Chloe (yes, she’s already branding herself as a star with no last name) rotated singing alongside the famed band leader and a full-fledged orchestra, flexing their pipes with remarkable ranges and unique ethnic styles.
While it would be easy to stereotype what to expect based on Yanni’s elevator-worthy history, there were plenty of rousing ovations to indicate the opposite. Take for instance Leslie’s lushly orchestrated ballad “Before the Night Ends” or the Celtic-stylings of her “Our Days” duet with Chloe, both of which radiated with each performers’ crystalline pipes and dynamic stage presence. The latter newcomer also had no trouble switching to soulful realms come the sultry “Kill Me With Your Love,” demonstrating the most versatility of the entertainers.
As for the fellas, the Venezuelan-born Ender found cross cultural appeal by evoking Latin-heartthrob Enrique Iglesias throughout “Ritual De Amor (Desire),” while Nathan later showed off a near operatic side come “Amare Di Nuovo (Adagio in C Minor).” In addition to the solo segments, the foursome also mixed and matched duet segments, most notably Chloe & Nathan’s romantic reading of “In the Mirror” and Chloe & Leslie’s battle of the divas throughout “Our Days.”
By the end of the two and a half hour evening, it was like watching the season finale of “American Idol” and casting a vote for which vocalist would likely go the furthest with their solo careers (Chloe getting this particular critic’s ballot). Though a wordless encore by Yanni shifted the focus back towards sophisticated solo stylings, the four voices deserve the most credit for interjecting new life into his career.