Over the past weekend, Greek-American musician and New Age hater Yanni played a pair of concerts in Egypt at the site of the ancient pyramids and Sphinx in Giza, on the fraying outskirts of Cairo. The 60-year old, accompanied by a 45-member orchestra and incredibly elaborate fireworks display, received a standing ovation and spoke to an American astronaut mid-concert — as one does.
Yanni seemed to treat the performance as something of a love letter to Egypt, repeatedly telling his audience, “Long live Egypt,” and describing the shows as “a message of peace and love from Egypt to the world.” Not sure when or how Yanni was bestowed the authority to speak on behalf of the country of 89 million, but concertgoers didn’t seem to mind at all.
The concert was just the latest Yanni event at a historic site. In the past, he’s played at the Taj Mahal, China’s Forbidden city, Russia’s Kremlin, Tunisia’s Roman Theatre of Carthage, and many others.
But the setting wasn’t the crazy part. The crazy part was way cooler than that. At one point, TV screens set up next to the stage introduced a special, out-of-this-world friend of Yanni’s to the audience. It was U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly, who is currently orbiting the Earth on a one-year mission aboard the International Space Station. Apparently the two men are actually buddies and Scott Kelly takes the whole, being an ambassador to Earth from space thing extremely seriously.
None of us should be surprised in a couple decades when — no, not if, definitely when — Yanni ends up being the first musician to play a concert from the surface of Mars.
(Meanwhile, if you catch yourself on an Egypt Air flight…)