Roxanne and I were able to attend the 2Cellos concert at the Moda Center, Theater of the Clouds last Thursday. I had not seen them live before but I’ve watched their videos. For those unfamiliar with the Croatian duo they are comprised of classically trained Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. They are definitely of a more contemporary vein with much more to do with Pop and Rock than Bach. Their videos on YouTube have garnered over 600 million views.
The evening began with an opener: pianist, singer, songwriter Jon Mclaughlin (not to be confused with famous guitarist John Mclaughlin). The young man’s talent was first cabin – a great musician, vocalist and soul stirring songwriter. He was also a very good communicator and was able to readily connect with the audience between the songs. He admitted that.”You’ve never heard of me and didn’t expect to see me here” but then proceeded to win the crowd over.
2 Cellos began their program with several beautiful atmospheric and melodic pieces. They both play Yamaha electric cellos live and though they had an uncanny acoustic tone they were unafraid to exploit these electric instruments with a variety of reverb and delay effects more commonly used with electric guitars. These effects were their tools and not intended to make up for any lack of serious talent. I imagine that they would be comfortable with any major orchestra in Europe or America by the aplomb they displayed Thursday night. At one point about a third of the way through the program a drum platform and drummer stealthily appeared on the stage and the now trio launched into a number of rockers by AC/DC, Van Halen, The Rolling Stones and Nirvana. At a couple points the band (you couldn’t possibly call them a chamber group) encouraged the audience to join in singing and even encouraged them to dance if so moved. One of the cellists strapped on his cello and proceeded to dance and duckwalk across the stage. Some classical music lovers might not have been endeared to the performance but I enjoyed it. I believe that contemporary music artists who employ bowed instruments (ELO, 2Cellos,The Piano Guys, Lindsey Sterling, Pentatonix, etc.) expand the reach of strings and reach young people who otherwise might not be interested in a musical education. This may lead to an interest in learning classical music which is a very good thing.