It was a perfect spring evening, as the sun set and the full pink moon rose over the hills of the historic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA. Fans filled the seats to see local Los Angeles singer-songwriter and musician extraordinaire Matt Simons and the phenomenal Croatian instrumentalists 2CELLOS.
Simons and his immensely talented band set the night up with an uplifting set of original songs.
He showed off his alluring piano skills and haunting lyrics with “After the Landslide”, while showcasing his storytelling ability with “Summer With You” and “Open Up”. Simons then sweetly dedicated the next song, “We Can Do Better”, to his wife in the crowd.
Simons introduced his wildly gifted drummer Rodney Flood and fabulous guitarist Chris Ayre, whom he thanked for traveling across the country with him. He also excitedly shared that Ayre’s wife was in the crowd, laughing and saying, “We got babysitters tonight!” Simons and Ayre then proceeded to blow the crowd away with an exquisitely harmonized cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”, highlighting Ayre’s superb guitar skills.
Before closing the set, Simons thanked the 2CELLOS’ team for the opportunity to open for them and warned the crowd, “They will melt your face off!” Simons’ final song just happened to be my favorite, “Catch and Release”. Check out Matt Simons’ fourth album Identity Crisis dropping on May 9th!
The 2CELLOS, composed of duo Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, came onstage under a full moon with red and white star-like constellations flying around a black backdrop screen. There couldn’t be a more perfect venue for them! They played an astonishing 19-song set, followed by a six-song encore, kicking the night off with “Benedictus” by Karl Jenkins, followed by U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name”.
Hauser welcomed the crowd in his sexy, sultry voice and joked about how this was their first and last show at the Hollywood Bowl. The pair passionately and fervidly played an array of genres, from Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” to Sinatra’s “Theme From New York New York” to Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” to Imagine Dragons‘ “Demons”. Hauser often encouraged fans to sing along and joked that they didn’t know the words, even jumping down into the crowd with lit-up devil horns to interact with fans for AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell”.
Šulić’s haunting and passionate playing was highlighted in every song, beautifully taking the lead in all the right places.
They dedicated U2’s “With or Without You” to the ladies in the audience; Hauser shared that it was his favorite song, “Oh yeah, so beautiful, so intimate, very romantic.”
When the sensational duo played “Human Nature” by Michael Jackson, the crowd could be heard singing “why, why…”, with Hauser joking back to the group “why not?”. A drum kit was rolled onstage during their mind-blowing cover of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”, with pyrotechnics and a fantastic light show on the video screen behind. Then, the most insane drum solo ensued. Dusan Kranjc wailed away effortlessly, grinning ear-to-ear. Hauser rolled around on the ground playing, while Šulić strummed furiously.
The crowd carried the lyrics during The Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”, before 2CELLOS wrapped up the set with “Back in Black” and “Sweet Child of Mine”. With fans on their feet screaming for more, the duo (plus drummer) came out for an incredible six more songs. Included in the encore were “Livin’ on a Prayer”, “William Tell Overture”, Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” and “Wake Me Up” by Avicii. As “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails played, a video montage of the story of Hauser and Šulić played, closing out the night with a beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.
If you couldn’t catch Matt Simons and the 2CELLOS’ final tour in the U.S., be sure to grab your ticket to Europe and see them before it’s too late!