Canadian pianist in record-breaking concert

PARIS: Canadian pianist Gonzales launched a bid on Sunday to break the world record for the longest-ever solo concert during a grueling 27-hour performance.

Gonzales took the stage at midnight at a small theatre in Paris' trendy Montmartre and was determined to stay there until the curtain drops at 3:00 am Monday (0100 GMT).

"He's doing fantastically well," said Frank Chambers, an official from the Guiness Book of World Records who was overseeing the record-breaking attempt.

"This is not just an endurance test, but an artistic performance."

On Sunday, after nearly 12 hours at the keyboard, Gonzales was showing some signs of fatigue but the music kept flowing from his upright piano, placed next to a large digital clock tracking his marathon.

Dressed in blue-and-white striped pyjamas, the 37-year-old musician drank coffee and juice, nibbled on Kit Kat chocolate and even enjoyed a shave after playing at his keyboard all night.

When the scruffy-haired musician pretended to doze off after his rendition of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", the audience stood up and cheered him on, providing him with a segue to "Eye of the Tiger."

After 12 hours of playing, Gonzales celebrated with Michael Jackson's "Beat It" as a stage hand brought in a fresh cup of coffee.

For the 27-hour near-continuous concert, Gonzales chose 300 musical pieces from Gershwin's "Summertime" to Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

Under Guinness rules, he is allowed a 15-minute break after each three-hour set and he can only pause for 30 seconds in between songs.

If all goes as planned, Gonzales will outshine India's Prasanna Gudi who made history by playing raga for 26 hours and 12 minutes in December.

Born Jason Beck in Montreal, Gonzales lives in Paris and co-produced Feist's 2007 hit album "The Reminder". His sixth album "Soft Power" was released last year.

"I have been preparing with experts who have helped me adapt my sleep patterns and food requirements and I also have an acupuncturist for my hands," Gonzales told AFP last week.

Fans were able to follow his attempt on .