All Songs Ranked: Yanni Live at the Acropolis

My next 25th anniversary celebration review is one of the guiltiest guilty pleasures I’ve ever had. Even though I was listening to strictly Seattle grunge and some old school hip hop at this point in my life, there was one live album that I found constantly in my CD player. Yanni Live at the Acropolis was a royal spectacle. Performed over three nights at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in ancient Athens, this “don’t-call-it-new-age” show was a solid potpourri of genres, basically revolutionizing classical, synth pop, jam rock, and even some metal into one big mix of awesome. I couldn’t imagine this album without the backing of Shardad Rohani and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.

I’m going to attempt to rank these songs to the best of my ability. As per usual, I am sticking with the original recordings, and not including any bonus material. (As an aside, my favorite track, Marching Season, did NOT make the album cut, but whatever, I’m over it.)

10) Nostalgia – A bit repetitive but still very pretty. Admittedly, this is the one track I will skip more often than not. The only reason this song is ranked last is because, when all songs are ranked, something has to go somewhere.

9) One Man’s Dream – By far the shortest song on the album, this piano piece backed up by the orchestra is simple in comparison to many of the other tracks on this album, but still lends to some beautiful music.

8) Acroyali / Standing in Motion – This epic track is a spiritual sister of Keys to Imagination, and it’s cinematic nature lends itself to being used in many sports related programming at the time. It is a bit long at times for what it is though.

7) Swept Away – Very energetic song that is easy to dance to. Great song to show off the percussionists, but also seems to run a bit long for what it is.

6. Santorini – This classic Yanni tune kicks off the show powerfully. If anyone asks you what Yanni sounds like, this track is pretty much a perfectly accurate description of the entire style.

5) Reflections of Passion – A very uplifting, peaceful tune to close the album on. Although I’ve never been a huge fan of using bending in keyboard songs, it works well with the tone of this song.

4) Until the Last Moment – This song is brutally sad, as the orchestra backs up a fascinating piano piece.

3) Within Attraction – The orchestra takes a break during this band-only piece as conductor Sharhad Rohani adds a duet with the lady in red, Karen Briggs. Each member of the band shows off their skills on this one, and the violin duet at the end of the song is incredible.

2) Keys to Imagination – This cinematic track comes off like a hero having saved the day at the end of a modern Western film before blending into an 80’s style synth rock song (in my favorite time signature, 7/4), and then blending into classical before becoming middle-eastern, and then ending with a bang. It’s kind of all over the place (in a good way), and it’s amazing.

1) The Rain Must Fall – Once again, the orchestra takes a break again for the musical gauntlet that is this track. This song might perhaps have featured my first real favorite bass solo, and the one song off this album I can listen to pretty much anytime, in any mood.

OVERALL – Close to musical perfection in just about every way. All of my criticisms for this album are absolutely nit-picky comments just to prove I listened to it. It is no accident I began taking in interest in playing music myself thanks to this album. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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