On the old side, but still.
Terrible, just terrible.
The easiest thing that tips you off that this is not a live performance is the closed piano. A piano of that size can easily project in a performance hall, provided that the top is open.
Second, the limited views of his hands. We see Taemin’s hands twice up close, and even then, they are not shots from above. If you watch any concert pianist’s videos, you will always be able to see their hands from above, and if concert hall videocameras can do that, I refuse to say that fancy South Korean cameras are not tricked out enough for those high angles. Moreover, S.M. is a company that would want to show every strength that their performers have– for example, their parading of Super Junior M’s Henry and his violin, which I find increasingly horrifying and kitschy nowadays. Call me old-fashioned, but I would rather have Henry sequestered in New England Conservatory playing first violin in Shostakovich quartets than playing corny arrangements of Jason Mraz. Henry has got serious skillz, and just to have them showcased before an audience that will only remember it for a fleeting second and move onto the next anomaly and cute freak, breaks a vein in my stone-cold body.
In the end, to just have these two sketchy shots of Taemin’s hands after a lot of artistic (BS) shots of Taemin with a revolving camera, screams to me that something is not totally right.
Third, I am not completely convinced that his body movements are fitting the piece, minimal as it is. Like any cheesy pianist, I have played “River Flows Into You”, and I know the parts that he is playing, and what beat his body should be feeling, and sometimes watching his body and his arms especially feels off even though the piano track itself is so steady. Suspicious.
At 1.34s, where he starts playing the piano for 8ight, we see two sheets of music, the left one full of complicated notes and the other sheet with simple chords. The left page looks rather impressive, no? Yet, Taemin is only playing chords, you can tell because he is just jolting to the beat and his right hand and arm are not moving at all, which you can see in passing at 1.42s.
I die a little bit every time I read comments underneath the video that Taemin is so good at piano, he is an angel, he inspires me to play the piano. Goodness gracious, this is not who inspires you to play the piano, this is who inspires you to play the piano!
I do not mean any ill-will towards Taemin, but everyone has a right to know that this is not the touching live performance that is portrayed to be, as S.M. has modeled it to be. Taemin also did not play the entire piece, i.e. he never touched the especially hairy technical parts. His piano-playing is passing and mechanical, but sometimes I weep for the generation that thinks of him as a veritable example of a good pianist.
Sometimes I weep for the generation that thinks of classical music for the elderly, for the generation in which the piano only becomes relevant when a pretty boy plays it, and for the generation that trusts the image that S.M. puts forth.