Review: The Piano Guys never fail to surprise

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 April, 2015, 2:24pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 April, 2015, 5:06pm


The Piano Guys


Reviewed April 19

As reflected in their live performance in Hong Kong last night, The Piano Guys never fail to surprise – at one point, Jon Schmidt played the piano with the help of his right foot.

With such goofiness on stage, the overall mood of the show was lively, light-hearted, and full of fun – one can always hear the audience cracking up from Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson’s one-liners. The music was beautifully uplifting and it was a joy to see the duo fully engaged and absorbed by the music they are creating, eyes closed and bodies swaying to the rhythm.

Most of the songs performed last night were the more popular ones on their Youtube channel such as Let It Go Vivaldi’s Winter, a tune most will know from the Disney movie Frozen, and A Thousand Years, from the Twilight movie soundtrack. They also performed U2’s With or Without You, in which Nelson showed off the use of his loop pedal, a technology that allows him to create different layers of sound with his electric cello. (He named his cello Bruce Lee because it was made in Hong Kong).

One of the night’s highlights came before the intermission, in which Al van der Beek, who usually does the background vocals, joined Schmidt and Nelson on stage to sing an original song called Father’s Eyes. As fathers with sixteen children between them, the four members of The Piano Guys wrote the song in celebration of fatherhood, dedicating it to all dads in the world. Van der Beek’s vocal range was amazing and he hit notes perfectly.

Another highlight was at the end of the show, when the four piano guys performed their signature version of What Makes You Beautiful, with a single piano. Although the details of how they worked the piano to the fullest could not be seen clearly from the live feed cameras, it was a great thrill seeing the four of them collaborate seamlessly to create different beats and sounds – all with one instrument. The whole auditorium was clapping and singing along. Suffice to say, the night’s performance ended on a high note.