Yanni talks of traveling far and wide on his current tour
Halfway through his world tour supporting the CD/DVD " Yanni: Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico," the Greek musician interchangeably described the jaunt as "a joy" and "difficult."
"On this particular tour, we went in more different countries and more exotic countries than any other tour in my whole life," Yanni said during a recent teleconference.
"In early '90s, I went to Southeast Asia and Australia. And I felt that was really exotic. But now, I mean, we just -- in a matter of a month or less or around that area -- we've been through all of South America, Mexico of course. But we turned around, and all of a sudden, now we're in Beijing. We were playing cities in China, doing a really large tour in China. We're playing in South Korea and then we're going to Thailand. Amazing experiences there because we were there when the floods were there. So I was on the frontline filling the sandbags myself. Amazing experiences."
He also traveled to Singapore, Oman, Dubai and Moscow, all of which opened his mind.
"It changes you," Yanni said. "It brings such a hope. It brings the best out of you because you have to be on your best behavior. You have to be intelligent. You have to be ready for any possibility. You have to make sure that everyone you're traveling with is safe....
"I've got to tell you something: We were treated like kings in every one of the countries I mentioned. We never felt [unsafe] or in danger. They loved having us there."
While Yanni was in China, he was honored with the adoption of a baby panda. He said the Chinese people only observe this type of honor for countries -- not for individuals or personalities. They chose him, however, and he, in turn, adopted a female and named her Santorini.
"Santorini is a very appropriate name," Yanni said. "It's the most beautiful Greek island. But 'irini' means peace. So it stands for peace -- for the panda of peace."
"Yanni: Live at Del Morro, Puerto Rico" is due in stores April 17. The collection captured Yanni's two sold-out shows last December, which marked the first performances at the historic UNESCO heritage site. It had been Yanni's 20-year dream to perform at the 16th century venue.
"Every time I was there, the Puerto Rican people say, 'When are you going to play El Morro? Come on. You can play El Morro. It's beautiful. It's beautiful,'" he said.
"Well, we just decided to do it last year. It took a year into planning anyway. But I get there; guess what's going on? It's raining every day for 25 days in a row. Yes, it's funny now, but it wasn't funny then. The rain is our biggest enemy, followed by winds. And now we're on a cliff on a beautiful -- I mean Puerto Rico is a gorgeous island -- and it's big. And people don't realize how big this island is. Anyway, but the place, the location is fantastic and beautiful as it was because it's has this castle overlooking the ocean. I mean you're right there on a cliff. It's just awesome looking."
Shows were scheduled for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Rain forced the cancelation of the concert three quarters of the way through the show on Friday. It was the first time that happened in his 30-year career.
"And that really hurt," Yanni said. "It hurt us. You know, the audience is fantastic. The audience didn't want their money back. The next night, Saturday, we got very lucky. It was the only day it didn't rain. So we were able to capture the concert" for the DVD over the remainder of the weekend.
North American fans will be able to see his performances beginning April 17. Touring North America, he said, can be just as inspirational as other parts of the world.
"One of the nicest things about my career has been that it has allowed me the opportunity to travel all over the world and go into places where most people wouldn't be able to get in," he said.
"I had come in contact with so many cultures. And it's been going on for quite a lot of years. So that changes a human being. It opens your mind. The lessons are myriad when you come in contact with so many cultures. That in turn changes you as a human being. And when you change me, then you change my arts."
17, 18 - West Palm Beach, FL - Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
20, 21 - Miami, FL - Adrienne Arsht Center-Knight Concert Hall
22 - Naples, FL - Philharmonic Center for the Arts
24 - Melbourne, FL - King Center for the Performing Arts
25 - Sarasota, FL - Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
26 - Clearwater, FL - Ruth Eckerd Hall
28 - Louisville, KY - The Louisville Palace
29 - St. Louis, MO - Fox Theatre
30 - Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
2, 3, - Chicago, IL - The Chicago Theatre
4 - Prior Lake, MN - Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
5 - Moline, IL - I Wireless Center
7 - Grand Rapids, MI - DeVos Performance Hall
8 - Columbus, OH - Palace Theatre
9 - Pittsburgh, PA - The Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
11 - Memphis, TN - The Orpheum Theatre
12 - Nashville, TN - TPAC-Andrew Jackson Hall
13, 14 - Atlanta, GA - Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre
16 - Cincinnati, OH - Aronoff Center for the Arts - Proctor and Gamble Hall
17 - Cleveland, OH - State Theatre
18 - Buffalo, NY - Shea's Performing Arts Center
19 - Providence, RI - Providence Performing Arts Center
30 - Savannah, GA - Johnny Mercer Theatre
31 - Chattanooga, TN - Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium
1 - Augusta, GA - The Bell Auditorium
2 - Raleigh, NC - Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts
4 - Roanoke, VA - Roanoke Performing Arts Theatre
5 - Norfolk, VA - Chrysler Hall
6 - Richmond, VA - Carpenter Theatre
8 - Vienna, VA - Filene Center
9 - Wantagh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
10 - Boston, MA - Bank of America Pavilion
12 - Saratoga Springs, NY - Saratoga Performing Arts Center
13 - Canandaigua, NY - Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center
15 - Windsor, Ontario - The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor
16, 17 - Toronto, Ontario - Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
19 - Montreal, Quebec - Bell Centre
20 - Quebec City, Quebec - Agora de Quebec
22 - Hamilton, Ontario - Hamilton Place Theatre
23 - London, Ontario - John Labatt Centre
24 - Ottawa, Ontario - National Arts Centre
26 - Lancaster, PA - American Music Theatre
27 - Easton, PA - State Theatre
29 - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
30 - Philadelphia, PA - Academy of Music
1 - Philadelphia, PA - Academy of Music
12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Abravanel Hall
13 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre
14 - Albuquerque, NM - Popjoy Hall
15 - Phoenix, AZ - Comerica Theatre
17 - Bakersfield, CA - Rabobank Theater
18 - Costa Mesa, CA - Segerstrom Center for the Arts
20 - Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theatre L.A. Live
21 - Santa Barbara, CA - Santa Barbara Bowl
22 - San Diego, CA - Humphreys Concerts by the Bay
24 - San Jose, CA - San Jose Civic
25 - Fresno, CA - William Saroyan Theatre
27 - Las Vegas, NV - Thomas and Mack Center
28 - San Francisco, CA - Nob Hill Masonic Center
29 - Sacramento, CA - Community Center Theater
31 - Eugene, OR - The Cuthbert Amphitheater
1 - Boise, ID - Velma V. Morrison Center for the Performing Arts
3 - Portland, OR - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
4 - Seattle, WA - The Paramount Theatre
5 - Vancouver, British Columbia - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
7 - Edmonton, Alberta - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
8 - Calgary, Alberta - Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
10 - Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - TCU Place
11 - Regina, Saskatchewan - Conexus Arts Centre
12 - Winnipeg, Manitoba - Centennial Concert Hall
14 - Kansas City, MO - The Midland by AMC
15 - Oklahoma City, OK - OKC Civic Center Music Hall
17 - Austin, TX - Bass Concert Hall
18 - Grand Prairie, TX - Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
19 - Houston, TX - Jones Hall for the Performing Arts