2CELLOS Score Tour Was Like A Wordless AC/DC Concert In St. Louis

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2CELLOS The Score Tour played the Fox Theatre 1/29/18.

Let’s do an experiment: when you’re finished reading this sentence, close your eyes, clear your mind, and then think of a cello….hear it playing in your mind…and then open your eyes and continue reading, because otherwise you’ll miss the point of all of this. (I’ll just take a quick nap while you listen to that lovely cello playing in your head….zzz…ready?) OK, now what song did you think of when I said to think of a cello? Was it “The Swan” from Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns? Perhaps Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 or a cello concerto by Elgar or Dvorak?

There are no wrong answers, and those are some of the best examples of classical cello you’ll ever hear. I’m sure Croatian cellists Stjepan Hauser and Luka Šulić are very familiar with those historic compositions. They’re also extremely knowledgeable about the music of AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Michael Jackson. If you have a chance to see these modern masters melt your face as 2CELLOS, get your tickets early and check your stuffy orchestral expectations at the door! 

When I first saw 2CELLOS a couple of years live at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, I was amazed. These charming and handsome fellows were soft spoken, witty but shy, but clearly masters of their instruments and none too shy about breaking the conventional mindset of where a cello fits in the musical spectrum. Few rock star wannabes would say, “Dude, our band sounds too much like U2 and Pearl Jam…we need a cello!” Stjepan and Luka seemed to say, “Dude, we have cellos, and we don’t even need a band.” Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case on January 29th, when they returned to the Fox Theatre to promote their fourth album, Score. This album features the boys’ interpretations of some of their favorite film and television scores. I was most impressed with “Love Theme – The Godfather,” “Theme—Rain Man,” and “Medley—Game of Thrones.” People always overlook the brilliance of the Rain Man soundtrack, so I was particularly delighted in its inclusion in their set. As I said before, however, it was strange to see the talented twosome joined by a keyboardist and a whole string section, from viola to bass! I guess it was to better capture that big, lush, dynamic sound quality of the fully orchestrated originals. The extra musicians were excellent, but it seemed a bit unnecessary when the two cello maestros are already more than enough. After a sweeping take on “Now We Are Free” from Gladiator, Luka playfully inquired, “So, would you like to get things going a little faster now?” The enthusiastic crowd that filled the Fox on that blustery winter evening had been waiting for this part, and an enthusiastic roar signaled 2CELLOWS that it was indeed time to crank things all the way up.

The blistering second portion of the show, featuring more pop and rock favorites like Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and one of my favorite 2CELLOS staples, a fantastic mash-up of “The William Tell Overture” and Iron Maiden’s “The  Trooper,” had me jamming in my seat. St. Louis and 2CELLOS are great combination, because my city and our favorite Croatians are all big fans of AC/DC. Stjepan and Luka rocked out on a mini AC/DC concert that would have only been surpassed if Brian Johnson (with a healed voice) and Angus Young had joined them on stage. Luka donned this apparatus that I assume is commonplace in marching bands, and hung his cello from it, allowing him to indulge in a bit of Angus appreciation himself by strutting around stage while Stjepan held down the rhythm. If only he’d worn a classic Australian schoolboy outfit! Drummer Dusan Kranjc , whom I believe was with them when they came to town a couple years ago as well, provided solid rock percussion, as well as more finesse drumming during the Score portion of the show. They finished the evening with a more subdued but no less enjoyable take on U2’s “With or Without U.”  

2CELLOS achieved fame by putting themselves on Youtube and letting the world know, “Hey, you’ve never seen cellists like us! We will shred our bows all night to keep the party rocking!” The band achieves reverent fan support by constantly reinterpreting hard rock and pop staples, sometimes blending them with classic orchestral pieces to underline the timelessness of great music. See them in person if their tour stops anywhere near you, and you’ll be hooked on the head-banging screams of cello decadence too, and even Grandpa might be caught tapping his cane on the floor and whispering, “Thunderstruck!”

I’m going to squeeze in an editorial rant now, so if you were only interested in the 2CELLOS part, it was wonderful, see them at your earliest opportunity, and thanks for reading! If I could make just one small request, however…nobody likes a Carol. You know who Carol is. The midlife crisis lady who hasn’t updated her hairstyle since Pat Benatar hit her with her best shot in the 1980s. She’s the one with tickets four to six rows from the stage, dead center, and is the only person in the entire venue who is standing and waving her arms in the air like an interpretive dancer with fibromyalgia. She’s blocking the view of the next 20 rows behind her, obscuring every picture of the handsome musicians that ladies half way back to the lobby attempt to take. She’s blocking the view of the two younger kids seated in front of me, at which age I’d have been begging and pleading with my folks to stay home because, “Cellos? Ugh! C’mon mom, how much more uncool can you be?” Now they’re intrigued, and maybe inspired enough to say, “Mom, Dad, you are the coolest parents alive! Can we sign up for cello lessons when we get home?” But no, Carol’s booze-fueled self gratification comes at the expense of everyone else who paid to see the show and possibly the very musical future of these poor children. If everyone else was standing—and at times every one was, my grizzled, Yoda-like self included—then great, stand up, dance like Elaine from Seinfeld and once again prove that Eddie Murphy was 100% correct about white people years ago in his RAW show. The kids might have a shot of finding a spot to see around you, and the fans behind your Doctor Strange-like gestures might find a better angle to get a clear picture. But when everyone else is sitting, be respectful and do the same. Don’t be a Carol. Nobody likes a Carol.  Sit your butt down. Do it for the children. I wonder if 2CELLOS have a cover of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” I could use here. With my luck, that’s Carol’s favorite song and she’d pop up like the proverbial weasel again.

For more on the 2CELLOS Score Tour, visit http://www.2cellos.com/tour. And for more great shows coming to the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, visit www.FabulousFox.com.  

4.5 / 5.0