"At least tonight, it's just you and me and honestly, that's everything I need…"
I've known these artists since 2011 but I've only got to "fangirl" over them early this year. Sam Tsui looked like my former crush and I only knew him for his version of "Jar of Hearts" and "Just a Dream" (with Christina Grimmie). Kurt Schneider…, well, he's Kurt Schneider. He's not really that high profile person so I barely know him.
Until early this year a lot of my friends shared a video of the cover of "Counting Stars" by Alex Goot, Chrissy Constanza, and Kurt. I don't even know them back then and I haven't even heard the original song! But then I gave up and watched it and found everything; from the prod, music and direction; cool. Then here's the Let it Go/Let her Go mash-up of Sam Tsui which I also found very cleverly done. These vids on replay, a friend of mine pointed out Kurt to be her crush and told me that he's so great in instruments and has that adorable personality. Wondered, I stream over Kurt's channel during my free times and that's where the rabbit hole started.
Sam Tsui and Kurt Schneider were schoolmates and graduates of Yale University, who love music so much they started making music videos around 2009. Sam has that incredible vocal range that suits ballads and pop very well, while Kurt ,although has that mellow voice, he doesn't sing much but does the production, recording, direction, arrangement and acoustics. He's known for playing various instruments known to mankind (haha!). Well, that's very basic intro if you're not a fangirl of these two. But in my own terms, these tandem make me discover originals from their covers and find the latter very well done. They also make originals, which are also greatly (and mostly) written by Kurt and performed by Sam. As of now I love Kurt's one-take shots of Bruno Mars medley and Maroon 5 medley while I can't stop singing Sam Tsui's mashups, Summer Pop Medley, Michael Jackson medley, and originals: Make it Up, Shadow, Grey Area and Don't Want an Ending.
Now, I knew why my friend liked Kurt! And I do love him too!
Just this summer I promised that if ever they would schedule a concert here in the Philippines, I would surely go and watch these two perform. And behold, just few weeks after that realization of mine, they announced that they will have a two-night show here in June! The ticket prices were fine, even though we only have few weeks to save up. I got really excited and we all planned to watch.
I also included it to my birthday wish list! Well, look who greeted me! So adorable Kurt! :3
Even though I wasn't contacted to cover their press con, I am one of those people who's interested more about Kurt's stories and experiences behind the camera and on the song sheets. I'm the kind of person who appreciates the art in the production and hopes to give proper credit to them. On the other hand, I also want to ask Sam about his choice of songs and future developments on the genre. As of now I'm liking how their choice of songs fits the singer's range and personality. However, if you're not just fan but also a critic, you might find this very safe sometimes. Fortunately, they do mash-ups and medleys which are fresh and fun so, that's kudos!But what I've heard from the press release, they said that "In the end of the day, we are just kids who love music", which I really find inspiring and humble. Only few artists give sincere love to their fans and as a fan, I do appreciate how they reach out.
So really, what's the reason not to watch SamKurtMNL?
Well for us, studies! Haha! And we lack funds. In fact I just had my ticket by June 24 sponsored by my friend Irish, because she can't go. Well, I assured that she will be avenged… so I documented the concert well!
I attended the June 26 concert. And that was a rainy day and there was heavy traffic that made me arrive around 9pm! I thought I was already late for the concert but fortunately the concert just started around ten minutes later.
Front act! Rita de Guzman!
She sang If I Ain't Got You, her version of All of Me and her original song from her album. I just watch her act but didn't know that she could sing well too!
After she sang, I think it's safe to say that we' were all in deep breath. Well, for me and my seatmates that night, we were so nervous our hearts were pounding and we nearly jumped out of our seats...
Oh I just love how this man smiles. :3
Then Sam Tsui came out singing "Make It Up"! So upbeat!
I love the combination of a handsome face plus energetic personality of Sam.
He's just overwhelming.
Plus the adorable Kurt, just perfect buddies!!
After that, Sam sang his mash-up of Timber/Counting Stars! I say they really have a good line-up of songs because these fired up the energy of the audience. They also sang lots of originals like Sam's new EP, Wildfire (which is also a song on loop), Shadow, Grey Area, Next Best Thing (which is now out on YouTube!! Check it out! ) and few more that you have to watch out!
Sam singing Shadow
For those who keep on commenting on YouTube that this guy's voice on vids are autotuned, WELL THIS CONCERT PROVED YOU WRONG.
He just have that amazing voice and stage performance level!
Also the band is a real band. Yep. All instruments playing!
Hello Jason Pitts on electric guitar!
And Joel Manduke on drums!
I was seated in GOLD left area so we (fans around the GOLD area) gets too excited whenever Sam faces our side!
Loved this SAM lights. I actually loved the lighting that night. Especially this while he's performing his Let it Go/Let her Go mash-up!
They also gave away wristbands! And finally that's Kurt on the mic!!
Kurt's so full of sense of humour. If you see how he posts #whatsamdoesntknow pics on Instagram haha!
He's heading for us!! AHHH! Sadly I didn't grab that one.
Kurt: *slings the wristband*
Sam: That's the proper way of throwing it!
While Sam's in the backstage for costume change, Kurt's taking videos of the crazy audience!!!
Now Rita's back to have duet with Sam on "Bring Me The Night"
One of my fave shots of Kurt!
The whole band!
It's a Make It Up shirt!!!
Sam: "We should make it special"
Lucky who got that signed shirt!
They also say that in the end of every concert, they perform an acoustic version of "Don't Want An Ending". Here they are going in front of the stage closer to the fans... well... closer to me! I was so close only just the barricade away from them that's why I got this close-up pictures!
They really look so handsome up close!!
"We'll be home tomorrow, about a thousand miles too far away,
say you won't forget and I'll be okay"
That song is just wonderful. It's a goodbye said in a very subtle but sweet way and with a promise of coming back.
I think after the concert I'm always singing this and thinking about how much heartfelt every words of it.
At this point we already know that the shows coming to an end so I really treasured every moment of it.
Kurt going back to the keyboard! They have one last song to play!
Look at those Sam's eyes. They promise they'll come back to the Philippines! Yay!
For the last song, he sang "Wherever You Are"!
Sam kept his energy 'til the end!!!
Kurt with his last play on the keyboard! The energy was still so immense!
It was very apparent that these guys enjoyed performing here in Manila. This was just a relatively small crowd but the fans are behaved but crazy! Everybody surely enjoyed the show!
The SamKurtMNL concert made me appreciate much of the exceptional artistry of Kurt and Sam and how these people love music and pursue their dreams. This concert didn't just gave me a night of eargasmic experience but also inspired me. I think that's what the fans see in them, they're more than mere performers, Sam and Kurt are inspiration for all.
Kurt and Sam arriving for the VIP Meet and Greet I obviously didn't have a VIP tix so I didn't get to meet them. But hopefully, next time they'll visit the Philippines I would be able to have a chat with them! Love these guys! Hope you won't change much and would still be caring towards your fans. Because these fans-we-love you for who you are and how you guys respond to us. Always reach out for the stars but keep your feet on the ground. Keep up the good music, Kurt and Sam!
My gift for Irish! Even though she wasn't able to watch, she's been avenged!
See you guys! 'Til next!