In a generation of music where audio editing and Auto-Tune takes precedence, it is at times hard for the average listener to gauge whether a band can recreate the same quality of sound “live” at a concert. Fortunately, in the case of The Piano Guys, there isn’t any doubt of their prowess.


The Piano Guys were back in Singapore for the second time at The Star Theatre on 13 to 14 April, since their last appearance in September 2013. The four-man band consists of two main performers in pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, while Al Van Der Beek joined later as a vocalist with Paul Anderson, the man responsible for producing the epic videography behind their world-renowned music videos. No really, check them out for yourself.

If the prodigious videos still don’t convince you, here are 5 more reasons why you have to catch the quartet live.


  1. Jon’s Talents Go Way Beyond Playing the Piano

A self-proclaimed victim of the “Dancer’s Tourette’s Syndrome”, Jon dances exceptionally well for someone turning 50 next year. He broke into dance at least 3 to 4 times in the 2-hour sitting – when Steve gave him a rhythm, when the crowd clapped to the beats, and even while he simultaneously played the piano.

Also, imagine lying flat on your back and playing the piano immaculately in that position. That’s how talented the father of five is. Did we mention he could use his feet to do the same?


(Screenshot from ThePianoGuys YouTube video – Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends – ThePianoGuys (Wonder of The World 1 of 7) )

  1. You’ll Hear Sounds You Never Knew A Cello Could Make

Yep. If you haven’t previously heard of The Piano Guys, you must be wondering why on earth a cellist has been accepted into a band with such an instrumentally-specific name. The answer lies in the fact that the band’s name was formed from a piano store franchise’s website titled, created by producer Paul Anderson himself back in 2004.

When Jon and Steve uploaded their viral “Love Story Meets Viva La Vida” composition onto YouTube in 2007, Paul approached them to try and convince the duo to create more of such covers to promote The Piano Guys brand, in the hopes people would buy more pianos after being inspired by the videos.

To this day, Steven still receives perplexed looks when he tells people the name of the band he is in, but that doesn’t take away the sheer musical talent he possesses with the cello. He currently owns 21 of them, each with its own unique sound, personality and name. He calls his steel cello ‘Thor’, his Italian cello ‘Ma-cello’, and his Chinese cello counterpart ‘Bruce Lee’. In addition to their quirky monikers, they have the capacity to make sounds scarily similar to that of animals like cows and whales. You don’t want to miss Steven playing “Guess The Mammal” game with the audience.


  1. The Cello Loop Pedal Sequence is Surreal

If you don’t know what a loop pedal is, check out this Ed Sheeran video where he goes ham with a guitar. Picture that, but with a cello backed up with flawless piano tunes and pre-recorded sounds of nature. This writer fell into such a surreal state that he began to think about all of his life choices in the midst of it all.

That’s what encompasses great music. It wasn’t only this sequence; every single piece performed didn’t simply touch our heart – it grabbed it. The passion displayed by the musicians was clearly evident in their facial expressions and the way their body swayed to every beat.


  1. They Keep Up to Date With Their Songs

No worries, all ye youthful ones. They don’t just play oldies or the standard classical style that usually goes with the nature of the instruments; they integrate pop music into it as well, quite a bit of it in fact. Their setlist that night included reinterpretations of recent hits like Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”, One Republic’s “Secrets”, and even ended off with One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful.


  1. It’s An Amazing Experience Visually, Too

There were well-hidden cameras all around the theatre capturing every bit of The Piano Guys’ magic, displaying them on to the big screen for the benefit of those sitting too far back. Fans definitely appreciated the perfect transitions and panning of shots in the dimly lit arena.

And when that wasn’t happening, their visually stunning music videos were projected instead. The animated characters kept fans well engaged with their witty humour and attempts at identifying with the locals. For one, Steven described Jon’s attempt at a tap dance “a weird combination of Michael Jackson dancing with Phua Chu Kang”… Ouch.

As Jon marvelled, it is some sort of a miracle that two middle-aged men playing classical instruments online can gain worldwide recognition in a matter of years. But entertainment and musical enjoyment holds no boundaries, and oh boy did we enjoy this concert.




Tell us what you think of The Piano Guys in the Comments below!

Photos courtesy of LAMC Productions