The sensitive New Age keyboardist, newly detached from longtime companion Linda Evans, has toured himself silly en route to making himself the hottest live act in the United States.
For the first six months of the year, Yanni's whopping 90 stateside concerts raked in a whopping $35.8 million--more than any other performer, according to just-released stats from trade magazine Pollstar.
"This really has been a career year for Yanni in America," says Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni.
George Strait's not doing so poorly himself. The country superstar's self-titled music fest lassoed $32.9 million in only 18 shows through the end of June.
(In case you're wondering why Strait pulled down almost as much in Yanni in only about a fifth of the shows, know that Strait played 50,000-seat stadiums, while Yanni packed 10,000-seat venues.)
Rounding out the top five concert acts: the still-rolling Rolling Stones ($31.8 million in 20 shows); bluesy Eric Clapton ($28.4 million in 38); and popster Elton John ($20.5 million in 27).
Looking ahead to the second half of 1998, Bongiovanni says he expects the Spice Girls, Janet Jackson and the Dave Matthews Band to be the hot-tickets for the summer.
The road dogs of the Dave Matthews Band are already a top 10 live draw, grossing $12.1 million in 24 shows through June. Bongiovanni calls the versatile group a "career act" with a following built through heavy touring.
Other picks to click: the all-grrrl Lilith Fair; a now-rare new rock triple bill headlined by Matchbox 20; and the usual suspects (Garth Brooks, Pearl Jam, etc.)
Overall, the concert scene's top 25 acts grossed $290 million through the first half of the year, down from $307 million for the same time period last year.
Venerable acts reportedly doing sluggish business on the road include Boyz II Men, Stevie Nicks' joint venture with Boz Scaggs, and the odd couple pairing of country's Wyononna and rocker-turned-balladeer-turned-opera guy Michael Bolton.
Meanwhile, in the record bins, the Titanic soundtrack led the way in the sales for the first half of 1998.
The album companion to the world's top-grossing movie moved more than 10 million copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
The Titanic-tinged Celine Dion solo album, Let's Talk About Love (featuring the ubiquitous boat song, "My Heart Will Go On"), made a strong showing with 8 million copies sold, good for No. 2.
The Dion album also claimed the distinction of being the music biz's fastest-selling album to date.
Other collections certified as multi-platinum (2 million-plus units sold) during the first six months of the year: Matchbox 20's Yourself or Someone Like You (3 million); the Spice Girls' Spiceworld (3 million) and semi-country singer Shania Twain's Come on Over (3 million).