Celebrity
Liberace’s live show from 1969 proves what a legendary pianist he was
Liberace had some serious boogie-woogie piano chops, and performances like this one show why he lives on as one of the greats on piano!
Johndel Callora
02.01.21

Plenty of people around the world have heard of the famous pianist, Liberace.

Despite his skills on the keys, he was the kind of pianist people mostly remember because his flamboyant sense of style and the way he could bring a smile to the audience’s face.

Without a doubt, he was a showman who had famously kitschy taste.

wikipedia.org
Source:
wikipedia.org

Liberace, or Władziu Valentino Liberace, was an American pianist and TV personality who became famous because of his stage presence as an entertainer.

Aside from that, Liberace was described as a child prodigy since he spent most of his younger years playing piano. He was able to fill major venues with people as they come to watch him on the stage, and he was also the first one to revolutionize the idea of broadcasting his shows on TV for the sake of musical entertainment.

Even so, his reputation is worth re-evaluating—because his classic piano performances are still amazing today!

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

In one of the episodes in Liberace’s own TV show in 1969, The Liberace Show, he prepared a performance to entertain his audience in Vegas.

After a quick introduction, he started to re-introduce a particular musical genre that was famous from when he was a teenager: the Boogie Woogie.

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

Liberace starts his performance by playing bass keys with his left hand and putting in some melodic riffs with his right.

Shortly after, an instrumental band behind him added some flavor to the mix as well. Liberace paced the eight-to-the-bar sequence of his boogie-woogie with ease while enjoying the upbeat rhythm of the instruments.

Liberace was known as “Mr. Showmanship” for a reason!

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

As an entertainer, Liberace never forgot to keep the crowd involved in his live shows.

With the crowd’s contagious energy, Liberace encouraged everyone to join in on a call-and-response as he built energy throughout the piece. More yells kept coming as Liberace loops the song all over again, making sure everyone is included.

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

The audience really livens up the show, all with Liberace’s piano leading them forward!

It’s just amazing how he interacts with his audience—he makes them laugh while his deft hands dance across the piano the entire time.

Still, you have to wait until you hear him play the song in double time.

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

After he was done with the 8/8 time signature boogie-woogie, he starts into the same song—this time at double speed.

Liberace puts his hands back on the keys and starts playing a series of insanely fast riffs with his nimble fingers. He struck the keys in absolute precision as the instruments caught up with his tempo.

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

Finally, he calls the curtains down by playing one last closing riff.

When it’s all over, he gets up and takes a bow in front of the camera while the audience’s applause rains down on him.

YouTube Screenshot
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YouTube Screenshot

When it comes to Liberace’s place in musical history, critics have often recognized his skills as being just as good as classical pianists.

Still, some have described his artistic sense as kitschy since he focused his talents on “parlor” entertainment rather than putting himself on the serious-side of concert pianism. Even so, he is still deemed as one of the greatest entertainers and piano performers of the 20th century and that’s how we’ll remember him!

Check out his perfect live performance in the clip below:

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By Johndel Callora
hi@sbly.com
Johndel Callora is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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