This review was published on the AU review on 19/05/2014 and can be viewed here.
Having last toured here with Sir Elton John on his last two Australian tours, Croats Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, widely known as 2Cellos, returned to our shows to perform their very own shows. Tonight was Melbourne’s only chance to witness their genre bending string bowing.
Last time they performed here, the lads played with such ferocity Hauser kept breaking his strings. This time round, Sulic’s were broken before the duo hit the stage. Each of their bows were getting thinner and thinner by the minute. Shreds of each bow were handed out to the fans seated in the front row. It was amazing that their cellos – one black, one white – could produce such a profound sound considering they were near invisible, with no body of the instrument, just the neck, the pegs and a thin outline of the electric instrument.
Despite entering the stage an hour later than was initially planned, the audience members, which apparently was widely made up of the Melbourne Croatian community, didn’t seem to care they had to wait this extra time to see what was to be a mesmering show. The Croats were treated to a traditional Croat tune during the encore with Hauser stepping in with the vocals; the only song either of the lads sang tonight. Kicking off the show, the lads went for a slow start opening with U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name”, “With or Without You” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”. A couple more slow tunes were thrown in, with Sulic saying that he hopes the audience doesn’t fall asleep. As the night went on the songs got more intense and rock-ier, the strumming faster and the crowd more excited.
Making the Aussie crowd proud, the duo played, not one, not two, not three, but four AC/DC covers! An electrifying “Thunderstruck” saw their drummer Dusan Kranjc brought to the stage, turning the show into a rock concert. Henceforth, the crowd were encouraged to stand up, clap along, cheer and even invited to sing along to Rolling Stones “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. Earlier in the night, Hauser instructed us that it was not a typical classical concert and we could do as we please.
“You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Back In Black” were thrown in and “Highway to Hell”, was more energetic than the cover performed by Bruce Springsteen at AAMI Park in February this year, guest starring Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder. The lads threw in a ton of witty comments and jokes when talking with the crowd, and Hauser’s tone, at times, was a little creepy. They even joked that they had never played in Australia before. Before launching into Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature”, Hauser told the crowd they were going to play a Jackson track, ‘no not the one you’re thinking’, referring to their sensational cover of “Smooth Criminal”, which the guys’ performed on an episode of Glee. The official clip for the track has garnered, at the time of writing this review, over 4 million views on YouTube and was thrown into the set later on in the night.
Unlike violinist and conductor ‘The Flying Dutchman’ André Rieu, who is known for celebrating the traditional classical music with his own orchestras, Stjepan and Sulic transform the originals by other artists from a wide range of genres to inject a fresh and new feel to the songs they cover. With some, their version is livelier than the original. Sulic and Hauser studied at different music schools in England, and have both been playing the cello since childhood. Collaborations with well-known artists include pairings with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elton John, Queens of the Stone Age and George Michael. Awards have been won and classical music has also been performed at classical venues along the way around the world.
In the words of Elton John, ‘Go and see them live, because it really is astonishing! I can’t remember seeing anything as exciting as them since I saw Jimi Hendrix live back in the 60s…’ Personally, I agree with John. These guys are definitely worth a viewing with their sensationally quick bowing, precision and sometimes guitar style playing of their cellos jumping from classical, to rock, to pop, to R&B, to disco and club tunes with fervour and ease in the one show. Fans were treated to a post show signing, however were not allowed to have their photographs taken with the lads.
(NOTE: All videos featured were taken by me)