September 20, 2012

An Evening with The Piano Guys

Last night I had the opportunity
to see The Piano Guys perform at the
Red Butte Gardens amphitheater in Salt Lake City.
A friend of mine had an extra ticket to the sold-out show
and invited me along. (Lucky me!  And thank you, Frenz!)
The concert was filmed for a PBS special to be shown
locally this December and in January, nation-wide.
It was a fabulous experience!
Before I fill you in on our adventures,
I have to introduce you to this talented group,
for those of you who haven't discovered
their awesomeness for yourself.

The Piano Guys consist of 5 people.

The performers:
Jon Schmidt~
amazingly talented composer & pianist
He gets extra points for being a redhead.
(You can't tell in this sepia tone pic, though.)

Steven Sharp Nelson~
kick-butt cellist and guy with perma-grin.
The guys behind-the-scenes:

Al Van Der Beek~
 Music/Studio Guy who
sports cool shades & hats

Paul Anderson~

Tel Stewart~
The Piano Guys have been gaining popularity outside
the local crowds thanks to their fantastic YouTube videos.
They made their first nation-wide appearance on
the Katie Couric show. Check out a clip on their website HERE.
The Piano Guys take popular radio hits or
well-known songs, turn them into instrumentals and blend
them with bits of classical music.  It's brilliant!!!
Not only is the music beautiful,
but the videos are high quality products. 
Some are serious, some are funny...
but they're all entertaining!
Go check out their
YouTube page HERE.
 Seriously- you're going to love them!!!

So anyway, back to the concert.

The Red Butte Amphitheater
was the perfect setting, with gorgeous
foliage and a distant backdrop of the mountains.
Frenz and I found a great spot to park our chairs
on the grass, the crowd was friendly and
enthusiastic, and the weather was perfect!

The crowd getting ready for the show:

Jon and Steve doin' their thang:
All 5 of The Piano Guys doing THIS number:
Glow sticks & cell phones:
There were SO many neat surprises that they
had in store for us (which I won't spoil- you'll have to
watch the PBS special!) but Alex Boye singing "Paradise/Peponi"
was a-freakin'-mazing!!!  See the music vid HERE.  Watch it now!
(I know I'm sounding really bossy but I promise you'll like it!)
Alex Boye is such a great performer!  I came home and watched
dozens of YouTube videos featuring his singing/dancing and love them! 
 He has earned himself another fan to add to the list.
This was BY FAR the best Jon Schmidt concert
I've ever been to. In the past, I've preferred the more
personal, small-town shows he has done... but this performance
still FELT intimate. Plus, the sound and lighting were phenomenal!

When props were being set up or taken down,
Jon and Steve would crack jokes, tell us stories, play
little on-the-side tunes for us... it was great!

We, the audience, had a special behind-the-scene look at everything.
Sometimes they would do songs a second time, if they felt it wasn't quite right.
We saw the camera tricks in action and props/people that will magically appear
on screen when it's edited later. We heard Jon & Steve talk to "Shelley," the
mysterious director lady behind the scenes who gave
them orders through earpieces.
PBS camera guys:

Jon cracking a joke:

I think Steven Sharp Nelson (the cello guy)
is a cutie-patootie.  He looks so happy all the time
and his fun personality seems contagious.
Plus he can PLAY those cellos!!!
He has many of them, each with their own names.
I liked Thor, his all-metal cello.

It has been SO exciting to see
Jon Schmidt's popularity grow. He has
been well-known in Utah for a long time,
but it wasn't until he teamed up with
The Piano Guys that our best-kept secret
has been spreading across the world.
So thank you, Piano Guys and You Tube!

I have been a Jon Schmidt fan for 15 years,
ever since my piano teacher introduced me to his music.
Since that time, I have purchased all of his albums,
have seen him in concert 7 times, spoken with him in person
a few times and  had a dorky picture taken with him.

My piano teacher knew Jon personally,
so when he had dinner at her house one night,
she invited me and my husband too!

Sure, that was like 10 years ago and Jon
wouldn't remember who I am (nor do I expect him to)
but it was neat to meet my music hero and see for myself
what a humble, genuinely nice guy
he is in real life.

He was visiting our small town that night to do a free concert
for the youth in our area. Someone said, "It's so nice of you to take
 the time to do this."  He replied, "I believe that the Lord gives all of
us talents, and that it should be our duty and privilege to share them
with others."  That comment really struck me. I thought, Am I giving
of my time and talents with others around me?  That's a good
question to ask ourselves!

A vid I made of all the pictures:
(Click the YouTube button above to see bigger.)


phylly3 said...

Yes, you certainly ARE giving of your time and talents my dear Nat!

DEZMOND said...

they seem delightful!

MylèneB. said...

You're so lucky ! I dream I could see them oneday!!! Thanks for sharing !

Traxy said...

You and Frenz get to hang out in real life? 'K, I'm officially jealous now!

Thanks for the tip about the group - will have to check them out. :)