April 15, 2014
An Epic Test match. Sachin Tendulkar at his best. My friend and me, in our school days, paid through the nose from our pocket money to watch the last day of the game. Sachin cruises. And then......in a flash, India lost. Pakistan won on Indian soil. The crowd was stunned. Silence. And then the crowd did something, almost unthinkable! No. No bottles were thrown like it happened at Eden Gardens, Kolkatta. No booing like it happened at Wankade, Mumbai when the then Indian captain was given out. Chennai stood up and gave Pakistan a (standing) ovation. Pakistani players looked stunned, but happy. Chennai earned its name as the best cricketing audience in the world.
Almost 17 years later. Yesterday, Yanni was stunned. Piano concerts are supposed to be quiet. Music. Applause. Music. Applause. Speech. Applause. Music. Applause. Yeah, right. Not in Chennai.
Yanni, Yanni, Yanni, Yanni went the crowd. Yanni was speechless. Chennai crowd went ballistic. They echoed, clapped with the drum beats and stopped short of getting on stage and playing an instrument.
The photos showed him with a black tee, but I have known Yanni to wear white. And he wore white. He came with a toned down band. His usual 3500 piece orchestra wasn't there. OK, Not 3500, but the usual massive one. It was a simple 6 piece orchestra. In his traditional style, he shared space and gave equal credit to each of his musicians who played stunning solos. He bade goodbye. Chennai didn't have enough and so he came back. "Chennai doesn't wanna go home?" he asked. He danced, swayed, made the crowd dance, sway, laugh, cry and beg for his 'Nostalgia' song that he played last, before he came back and played my favourite, One Man's Dream before winding for the night.
"I have played across the world, but from the bottom of my heart, not a single place has given me an applause like this. No where has the audience been better. I want to come back next year. And the next. And the year after," he said.
Though this has got nothing to do with eating out, cooking, travel or fun, there was no way, I could not write this after having Chennai as the first name of my blog! That night, I had ticked off something from my bucket list. I didn't think Yanni was going to come back to India, let alone Chennai. Yanni loved Chennai and Chennai loved Yanni. It was day, I was proud to be a Chennaite. Or maybe, the Fun part that is on my blog header needed something like this to get started.