The Weeknd brings his powerful vocals to the stage. (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)
Hoover High School

We Can Survive leaves the Hollywood Bowl speechless

CBS Radio brought together seven artists, alongside one special surprise for the third annual, sold out, We Can Survive concert, presented by Chrysler, at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday night.

The notable line-up featured the hottest artists on the charts: 5 Seconds of Summer, Demi Lovato, Nick Jonas, Sam Smith, Maroon 5, Calvin Harris and The Weeknd. For every ticket sold, $2 benefited Young Survival Coalition, the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before doors opened to the public, a VIP pre-show soundcheck experience with 5 Seconds of Summer for select Citi cardmembers was held. The pop-punk band first answered a few questions with 97.1 AMP Radio’s Booker. Fans couldn’t hold their excitement when members Michael, Ashton, Luke and Calum were just a few feet away from them.

When asked about how each of them chose which songs to put on their second album “Sounds Good, Feels Good” bassist Calum Hood described the difficulty, “Each member has a personal attachment to a song they create, so it takes effort.”

5 Seconds of Summer perform during the VIP pre-show presented by Citi
5 Seconds of Summer perform during the VIP pre-show presented by Citi. (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)

Ecstatic fans surrounded the pit to watch in awe the band perform three songs, which started off with power anthem “Hey Everybody,” then followed “Jet Black Heart,” and “Disconnected.”

When doors opened to the public, a video message was projected advising attendees to stay through the end because there would be a surprise performance by a prominent artist.

The official show began with 5 Seconds of Summer, their setlist included songs from both their first and newly second album. Each member rocked out with never missing a beat. The group got all the teens up on their feet including some parents when they closed with the hit “She Looks So Perfect.”

Following right after was pop superstar Demi Lovato. Her powerhouse vocals pierced through the entire Hollywood Bowl. Lovato opened her set with “Confident” fresh off her fifth studio album. Rocking the stage left to right, all eyes were on her. She then announced her next song to perform, “For You”  which would make its U.S. performance debut. Hitting each shattering high note with such ease, Lovato brought the memories of summer back with her closing song and record-breaking single “Cool for the Summer.”

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Demi Lovato performs “For You.” (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)

One Disney star to the next, preceding Lovato was teen heartthrob, former boyband member, Nick Jonas. His steamy performance illustrated clearly he is now on a new pathway in music. Jonas’ R&B meets pop music vibe created a dance floor in each section. Starting off with “Chains,” his stage presence and dance skills made many eyes open to discover what talent Jonas was hiding all this time. There was no hesitation in singing along with him as he strapped on his guitar to close his five song set with chart-topper “Jealous.”

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Nick Jonas brings his moves and vocals to the stage.

The last U.S. performance before he returns to create the follow-up of his renowned debut album, four-time Grammy winner, Sam Smith, changed the mood of the evening with his soft melodies and sweet vocals. Smith thanked the crowd for making this performance possible that helps such an “incredible cause.” Hearts were melted with songs “I’m Not the Only One” and “Like I Can.” Then the piano keys of “Stay With Me” eased in the background, which then Smith asked the crowd to singalong to his incredible heartbreak record.

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Sam Smith takes everyone’s breath away with “I’m Not the Only One.” (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)

The longest performance of the night went to the well-deserved hometown band Maroon 5. Frontman Adam Levine sang most of the band’s radio hits, ranging from 2014 track “Animals,” followed by “Stereo Hearts” to the band’s first single from 2002 “This Love.” Levine showcased his eclectic dance moves throughout each song. Everyone on their feet, no matter the age, Maroon 5 unified the crowd.

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Adam Levine passionately sings “Animals.” (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)

Electronic dance music DJ, Calvin Harris, made sure and succeeded not to let go of the momentum created by the previous five artists. Lights went up when the song “Feel So Close” began, as the bass dropped confetti bursted with the smoke machines going off in unison. Harris jumped around with pure joy as the audience moved to the beat of his hits. The party never stopped, four more songs followed closing his set with heart pumping dance track “Blame.”

Then the moment arrived. One of the most talked about artists of this year hit the stage. The crowd roared as they saw his silhouette featuring his unique hairstyle, he is The Weeknd. He began with the track “High for This,” which smoothly, immediately transitioned into “Can’t Feel My Face.” His tender voice performed his popular tracks from the newly released album “Beauty Behind the Madness.” Seven songs later, the lights, his voice, and the pyrotechnics perfectly mended into a great finale act prior to the surprise.

The Weeknd brings his powerful vocals to the stage
The Weeknd brings his powerful vocals to the stage. (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)

Then the long-awaited moment arrived. As the lights went down, and the stage began to rotate, the anticipating surprise began. The backtrack to her song, “B**tch Better Have My Money,” engulfed the Bowl. Sunglasses, yellow floral top, long black jacket was what worldwide superstar, Rihanna, wore as she embarked the stage. Screams were heard all around, jaws were dropped. Rihanna was a great final piece to this incredible puzzle created by CBS Radio. She introduced one of her most memorable songs of the night as, “the one song where old Rihanna fans will remember,” and that’s when “Umbrella” began. Rihanna closed the night with “Diamonds” which coincided with the Bowl’s expected fireworks.

Rihanna surprises the crowd at We Can Survive
Rihanna surprises the crowd at We Can Survive. (Image courtesy of Melody Shahsavarani)

The third annual We Can Survive concert left a great mark for every attendee at The Hollywood Bowl. Each artist brought their all Saturday night and were honored to be a part of such an unforgettable event.