Monday, May 27, 2013

The Piano Guys in Portland

A couple of months ago I found out that the Piano Guys were coming to Portland.   When I finally found the tickets online I had to stop and think for a bit.  They were pretty expensive.  Who was going to go???  Well me for sure.  And Russ.  It could have been a date.  But three of our kids are taking piano lessons right now, and I knew that seeing the Piano Guys would probably be good inspiration.  In the end I bit the bullet (several bullet$ actually) and bought tickets for everyone.  I put the date on the calendar and thought that it would surely be a long time before May 22nd rolled around.

Not so.  Just like everything else (except for Cindy Lynn’s baby) the big day was here before we knew it.

Last Wednesday night we ditched the regular activities at church, put on our nice clothes, and headed out into the rain for Portland.  The concert was in a 85 year old theater that started as a vaudeville theater many years ago.  We parked on the street several blocks away (apparently when vaudeville was big people weren’t so interested in parking??) and walked through the rain to the theater.  (Walking through the rain is a very Portland thing to do.)


(Josh & Jared were hoping we’d let them drive to Portland like this,
with the seats down.  They were sorely disappointed.)

When I bought tickets I had to decide which seats to pick for the 6 of us.  What a decision!  Most of the middle of the theater was already full, but we could have had seats on either side or on the balcony sides.  I finally (remembering our excellent seats for Wicked & The Lion King at the front of the balcony) decided on the balcony.  But then there was another decision.  Did we want to be able to see Jon Schmidt’s face or his hands??   I finally asked Alisyn because I just couldn’t decide.  She voted for his hands, and so I bought those tickets.  Front 2 balcony rows on the piano side.  Here was the view from my seat.  (In case you’re wondering, the Aladdin Theater has 600 seats.  DPAC has almost 2500.  The energy because of the small size was amazing.)


One thing that was really interesting to me from the first moment I sat down and looked around was how many smart phones there were.  From up above I could see lots & lots of little screens.  (And the big soundboard.)


[When Russ & I were watching the end of Survivor this season the host commented that tv-watching isn’t the same solitary experience it used to be.  Now, he explained, people watch tv and tweet or post to facebook about what they’re watching as they’re watching it.  I wondered if there was any tweeting or facebooking going on there in the theater. (I know Jared posted a picture to facebook right before the concert started.)  One thing that was for sure was that there were lots of people using their smart phones to take pictures and record at different points during the concert.  It is a whole new world, isn’t it!]

The concert was AMAZING!  And WONDERFUL!!  And so ENTERTAINING!!!  And now I have a little bit of a crush on Steve Nelson, because he was just so dang cute and funny, in addition to being able to play the cello beautifully.  I was talking to someone else from our ward and she said that she worried about how good the concert could be without their great videos and locations and being on top of a cliff and stuff like that.  Well we shouldn’t have worried.  I don’t know when I’ve last laughed that hard—they were truly so funny.  And the music was beautiful.  And we could see Jon Schmidt’s hands perfectly


Speaking of Jon Schmidt, a funny story for you.  Once, probably about 2 years ago,  Cindy Lynn was in the hospital for a few weeks for antibiotics.  She was talking to her nurse about how she played the violin, and the nurse (who was probably around my age) said that she had once played the violin, but that she had given it up.  Cindy Lynn said oh it was sad to hear that, and the nurse explained that her sister had been so musical that she had contemplated going to Julliard, and that her brother was also a really good pianist.  Cindy Lynn must not have looked convinced that that was a good enough reason to stop playing the violin, because then the nurse added, “Do you know who Jon Schmidt is?  Because he’s my brother.” 


Anyway, we had a great time watching Jon’s hands.  He really is amazing.  This video isn’t great, but you can see the awesome angle we had.  (They didn’t have their video showing on all of the songs—just this one and one or two others.)


One of the best moments of the concert for me where the “Love Story meets Viva la Vida” because everyone in the audience was singing the “oh-oh-oh-oh” choruses for the Viva la Vida part—that was such energy!  The other was Pachelbel's Canon, which had to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.  They ended on a high note with their fun rendition of “That’s What Makes You Beautiful” which I think is even more fun in real life than on youtube.

After a huge standing ovation they came back and did a double encore of “Bring Him Home” and something else that I’ve momentarily forgotten. 

What an excellent evening!



  1. Wow!!! Miles and I have watched these clips over and over (and over) this morning. He's a fan. :)

  2. I'll just pat myself on the back for giving you that recommendation!!! Pachelbel was one of my favorites too. These two have managed to make EVERYONE want to play the cello though!!! As to the Bring Him Home - still brings tears to my eyes!

    So glad you all enjoyed it!