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from the Taj Mahal (India) & The Forbidden City (China)

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Documentary | Music

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2 December 1997 (USA)  »

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My Most Frequently-Played Disc Over The Years
1 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There is no concert I have watched more than this one since I first bought the VHS tape and then acquired the DVD when that came out. After many, many viewings of it, I now often just watch the first seven presentations which gives me a fabulous 50 minutes of music. All of it is outstanding but that first 50 minutes are the best.

The music is a little bit more diverse than on Yanni's first concert DVD: "At The Acropolis." Both concerts have a lot of similarities such as great music that gets better and better with each viewing and listening; extremely talented musicians who demonstrate their skills with dynamic solos; a band back by a symphony orchestra; impressive and beautiful historical background sits - this concert featuring India's Taj Mahal and China's Forbidden City, and stunning color added to the concerts. Here, we see a great mix of purples, yellows, blues, pinks, etc. The concert stages - particularly in China - are bathed in these colors.

For most of my many, many viewings of this I would have the opening song, "Deliverance," and the title tune, "Tribute," are my two favorites.

Although many of Yanni's band members from the first concert were not with his group any longer by the time they did this one, they have been replaced by people are even more talented in many cases. It's hard to find a more talented musician that Pedro Eusteache, who plays a number of wind instruments and excels, of course, in all of them. I'm also in awe of new keyboard player Ming Freeman.

Thankfully, my favorite is still here: violinist Karen Briggs. She's as animated and talented as ever and, along with Eustache, is the feature musician in the band. When the two of them alternate solos, playing off each other in "Renegade," it's about as entertaining a few minutes as you'll ever find on an orchestral stage.

Vann Johnson joins regular vocalist Alfreda Gerald and is featured on a song where she sounds kind of like a combination of Donna Summer and Whitney Huston. Gerald, meanwhile, and an Australian aborigine are featured in the wild nine-minute concert finale, "Niki Nana (We Are One)." That is a great feel-good number to end this memorable concert DVD.

Ten years after first seeing and hearing this for the first time, I can still safely say music doesn't get much better than this.


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