Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hollywood Bowl: John Williams

John Williams is in my opinion one of our top musical geniuses. His work as a composer and conductor has spanned 60 years creating the musical scores for some huge culturally significant movies including Star Wars, Jaws, Superman, Indiana Jones, E.T., Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Harry Potter. Having won more awards than any other musical composer to say John Williams is a living legend would be an understatement.

Usually in a concert I generally get a moment, the one that makes the hairs on the back of your arm raise up, the one that transcends you from a seat listening to music to a whole other realm. John Williams, overachiever that he is, gave me three moments. The first was the opening piece.


The opening piece was a tribute to all his work. Masterfully intertwined John Williams used his brilliance to mesh about 30 scores of music from his most famous movies into one flowing piece of music. Halfway through my mouth dropped open where it stayed until the song was over. How he managed to get the songs to flow so well into the next was beyond my comprehension and I felt gifted to have heard it.


Mr. Rogue was glad to get out of the house, have some wine and eat the yummy food I packed (including a divine red velvet cupcake). Of course we had a bit of a ‘discussion’ about what to pack the food in. And when I say ‘discussion’ I really mean that my little heart was broken. I wanted to bring the beautiful picnic basket I bought for just such occasions as this concert but Mr. Rogue wasn’t interested in repeating his last episode of trying to navigate a large wicker basket through the packed crowded Hollywood Bowl. After deciding to capitulate I ended up packing our food into two smaller canvas bags that could easily be slung over our his shoulder. If I have learned anything being married I have learned the hard lesson of when to pick my battles. The picnic basket will just have to be retired from the Hollywood Bowl and be used exclusively instead for parks and beaches.

When I invited Mrs. Bulldog a few months ago to join us to see this concert she jumped at the chance to come. She is one of those rare LALA Land finds, an actual Californian that was born and raised here. Most of the people I meet are transplants like myself. What struck me as odd was that this Californian had never been to the Hollywood Bowl. What a great first show to see here!


Of course since I was dragging my ball and chain with me she brought hers too. Mr. Bulldog happens to love John Williams and was super excited to come also. He is super knowledgeable about the city and had been to the Bowl numerous times before. On the VERY long car ride to and from the concert I managed to pick his brain about POINTS; as in credit card points. But that is a discussion for a whole other post.


The second skin tingling moment was in the middle of the concert. Generally the Hollywood Bowl does not have the large screens above the stage. I have only been one other time where they were up. Last year we went to see the showing of Living Planet by the Discovery Channel. The TV screens were used to show the selected videos while the scores were played by the LA Phil Harmonic. This time the screens showcased various movie that John Williams work has supported as the LA Phil played John Williams music. At one point he stopped the show and walked us through a clip of young Indiana Jones without music. Instead he talked us through the activities of the movie and explained a little bit of the process of how he creates a score for a specific scene. After his discussion they ran the clip again, this time accompanied with the score. Although he only brushed the surface I am sure of his work process it was interesting to see a little behind the scenes of his work. I love to learn new things!


Mr. Rogue noticed when we entered the bowl that the crowd seemed younger than usual. I am sure that had to do with the scores played for Star Wars, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones. The last moment was the end of the concert, one of the last songs played of course was the Star Wars music. A few notes in and the crowd went wild and then it happened… hundreds of light sabers were lit! People started waving them to the music and again the hairs raised. My inner nerd rejoiced and then was a tiny bit miffed that I didn’t have a light saber to wield.


Next time John there will be one more Star Wars loving crazy waving their plastic baton of light I promise!

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