Friday, August 30, 2013

John Williams conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl

Way back on April 1st I invited a bunch of friends to join Theresa and I at the Hollywood Bowl to watch John Williams: Maestro of the Movies conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Theresa and I have been coming to see John Williams perform at the Hollywood Bowl since 2005, so it's our 8th time seeing him! It's pretty much an annual tradition for us.
Seven of our friends decided to join us and when tickets went on sale at the beginning of May, I was quick to buy them.

Fast forward to the end of August. It was finally time!
Theresa and I left our house, grabbed dinner to eat at the Bowl, and jumped on the LA freeways. Surprisingly the freeways were much less crowded at 6pm than we were expecting and we made great time.
We always use the parking right beside the Bowl for $17. The only downside is that it's stacked and if the cars beside you take their time after the concert, you're stuck until they move. Today though we had the best luck ever! We're at the very front of the row and there's an exit 20 feet away. 

Hooray for John Williams!

Using the tunnel under the street to get to the entrance, I can't remember a time we've come when we haven't heard this gentleman playing Star Wars music on his saxophone. 

Taking the escalator up to the cheap seats.

On the way and by completely random chance, we ran into Jacob, who took the bus instead of fighting with traffic. One of the necessities of watching a concert at the Hollywood Bowl is seat cushions. Sitting on a hard wooden bench for 2.5 hours isn't fun.

We always make sure we have enough cushions. One to sit on and a 2nd to rest your back against. 

That's 18 cushions and I need help carrying them!

The Bowl is starting to fill up.

From our seats, you can just make out the Hollywood sign.

Jonathan and Lacey are joining us and Lacey's sister Karen and her husband Justin came all the way down from Northern California to see John Williams perform.

One of the best parts of the bowl is bringing in your own food! Some people cheap out (like Theresa and me tonight) and just get fast food. We had Chipotle! Some of the more adventurous bring a whole spread of fruits, cheese, meats, and veggies. 

Justin made a delicious bruschetta.

Just getting a couple group shots before the concert.

We've got Karen, Justin, Lacey, Jonathan, Farman, Stephanie, me, and Jacob.

One thing that doesn't translate so well to the camera is how ridiculously hot it was. T checked and it was 90 degrees at 8pm! There wasn't a breath of wind either. Surrounded by 11,000 other concert goers it was sweltering. To keep the pregnant Theresa cool, I fanned her with a seat cushion.

At 8pm John Williams came out on stage. It's always awesome to hear the Star Spangled Banner played in a stadium with thousands of people standing at attention and singing along to the National Anthem.

It's great to see John Williams conducting at 81 years old! He's always so fun to listen to, and he's full of lots of great stories.

To start off the night, we heard "Hooray for Hollywood" along with clips from lots of classic movies. Once someone posts a video, I'll include it here.

Our very special guest narrator tonight is Julie Andrews! First we watched a clip of her perform singing "Whistling Away the Dark" in the 1970 movie Darling Lili, which was directed by her soon to be husband Blake Edwards.

And then the Julie Andrews herself came out on stage. She told us stories of herself and her work with Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini, and I think everyone in our group was impressed with how well spoken and proper she was.

We heard pieces from Henry Mancini including Peter Gunn, Hatari, and Charade.
Following that we watched some great clips from the Pink Panther movies. I'll include the video clip once I find it.

Next we heard "The Days of Wine and Roses", excerpts from the movie Victor / Victoria, then watched clips from Breakfast at Tiffany's and heard "Moon River".
After that, it was time for intermission. The Pink Panther came out to escort Julie Andrews off stage.

Intermission is always the perfect time for dessert. We munched on M&M cookies, pound cake, and other delicious treats.

After intermission, we finally got to hear some pieces written by John Williams.
"Flight to Neverland" from Hook played while we watched great clips involving flight play on the screens. It started with dog fights and plane races in classic older movies, then moved on to Peter Pan, Buzz Lightyear, and Wall-e flying. It ended with shots of the Delorean from Back to the Future, X-wings from Star Wars, and finally the USS Enterprise jumping to warp. It was really fun to see and when I find the video, I'll include it.

One of my favorite movies and the music from it is just fantastic, Indiana Jones!
John Williams told us they've made 4 Indiana Jones movies, and they're threatening to make more!
We started with the opening sequence to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Next we listened to "Marion's Theme" and then saw a great video of our favorite scenes from the Indiana Jones movies to the theme of the "Raiders March." And even better the fourth movie wasn't included at all!

To finish the night, John Williams played music from Star Wars! He told us that next year, he's planning on playing music from Star Wars VII and that got a huge cheer from the audience!

First we listened to "Clash of the Lightsabers" and it's always awesome to see all the lightsabers come on throughout the audience.

John Williams showed us how he comes up with the music.

Next we listened to "Parade of the Ewoks" and the "Main Title" to A New Hope. That was the end to what was listed on the program, and John Williams took his bow and walked off stage. He's been doing this for all the eight years we've been coming here, so we knew he'd be back to conduct a few more songs.
First we heard "Yoda's Theme".
It wouldn't be John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl without hearing the Imperial March! I love how the stage lighting turns blood red. 

After walking out for a 2nd time, John Williams came back out to center stage then held up a finger saying "Just one more." To finish the night, we listened to the theme from E.T. and at the end a rainbow appeared above the stage. Afterward, John motioned that it was time for bed then walked off to a huge standing ovation. 

It was another great night listening to John Williams. We'll keep doing this as long as John Williams keeps coming to the Hollywood Bowl!
Now it's time to shuffle with the rest of the cattle to get back to the car.

It's a great start to a Labor Day weekend and there's more to come!

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