Hollywood Bowl 2009

Entertainment, Events — By on May 26, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Leonard Slatkin and the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform pieces by Tower, Tchaikovsky, and Sibelius

Reflections of a Perfect Night at the Hollywood Bowl

By Kristen Addix

The evening of August 6th, 2009 was one of those perfect Southern California nights to enjoy at The Hollywood Bowl. When the music began I noticed that something was missing? What was missing? Noise… The Bowl audience was actually paying attention and quiet. This gift lasted through out all three pieces that were performed that evening. You could have heard a pin drop.The conductor Leonard Slatkin introduced Joan Tower’s new piece, Made in America, commissioned by the Ford Foundation in 2004. The music created a tapestry that transported the listener to new places and vistas of America. Joan Tower wove in America the Beautiful. Passages floated into the music, the piccolo playing the light refrain  “for purple mountain majesty” leaving a sweet memory of the original. I had goose bumps typing these words; just remembering the music by Joan Tower is an inspiration.

Leonidas Kavakos was unable to appear as he was still recovering from surgery.  Nikolaj Znaider graciously agreed to appear on short notice. The performance was Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35. Nikolaj Znaider filled in at the last minute for this performance and wasn’t hindered at all. His performance was exciting and stellar. His performance was wondrous as the melody unfolded, enveloping the audience. Nikolaj Znaider made the music fun to perform and effortless to play. His care and joy breathed life into Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35.

The evening concluded with Sibelius Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 43. Leonard Slatkin explained in the beginning of the evening why Sibelius was so deep and somber. Sibelius came from a country that can only sing “Night and Day” two times per year. The performance by the Los Angeles Philharmonic was spectacular. Each movement of this work built on the last one, making the music transformational and brilliant. The audience was waiting for each note to take flight and, as in the beginning of the evening as well as in the end of the last notes to be performed, the audience was quiet and transfixed. Our spirits had been lifted and filled with great music. As I walked out of the Hollywood Bowl that evening, I looked out over the city lights of Los Angeles twinkling, realizing just how far a journey the music of the Los Angeles Philharmonic had taken me.

Aretha Franklin was in exceptional voice at the Hollywood Bowl, June 26th. Photo by Mathew Imaging.

The Hollywood Bowl 2009

By Buddy Sampson

This year 2009, has been a wonderful year of exciting and compelling shows at the Hollywood Bowl. The Scoop LA has been there for a number of the shows and we’ve witnessed some outstanding concerts and performances.

Our first show at The Bowl in 2009 was the KCRW World Festival on Saturday, June 21st. Raphael Saadiq opened the show, performing Aquarius, Let The Sunshine In, Love That Girl and Big Easy among other songs. He had a pleasant set to open the show. Femi Kuti & The Positive Force headlined the show and were excellent. Kuti played a variety of instruments and sang and made the audience feel as if they were watching a show in a park. It was a great job. But the night belonged to Santigold, powered by sensational singer and performer Santi White. White was nothing short of amazing. Her set was fresh, new, innovative and captivating. Santigold stole the show on this warm and balmy night.

The next show we were lucky to attend was preceded by the death of Michael Jackson on June 25th, 2009, The Aretha Franklin show on June 26th. The audience was understandably in a somber mood, distraught over the loss of one of the biggest stars of our time. It wasn’t lost on Aretha Franklin, who devoted a moment of silence in her set to the fallen superstar. We had the opportunity to greet the Reverend Jesse Jackson backstage, who seemed very focused on getting to speak to Franklin before her performance. Franklin, on this warm summer night was absolutely spectacular and came out on stage with her vocal guns blazing. Singer Gina Yankopulos, who accompanied us to the event, had been singing her songs for years and was positively delighted to see one of her musical idols in person. So was the entire Bowl audience. The Queen of Soul performed many of the songs that make her a living musical legend, “Baby, I Love You,” “Think,” “Respect” and “Chain of Fools,” before a brief intermission, which featured Brazilian dancers. After the break, she bought Halle Berry to the stage, who did a curtsy, acknowledging The Queen of Soul’s greatness. Franklin proceeded to sing more of her classic songs, including “I Never Loved A Man,” “Don’t Play That Song,” “Today I Sing The Blues,” and “It Ain’t No Way.” She closed her remarkable set with “Freeway.” Franklin was in amazing voice and performed her songs as if she were singing them for the first time. She is still one of the best voices of our time and simply an American treasure.

July 3rd featured a stunning performance by John Fogerty to commemorate July 4th. After the Los Angeles Philharmonic graced the stage with songs by some of the great American composers (including Bernstein, Copland and Williams) and a short tribute to Michael Jackson, Fogerty’s band took the stage. His amazing set was sheer perfection. He was so great, he could give seminars on the elements on how to captivate an audience. His voice was flawless and his mike technique was just magical to watch. His guitar playing was excellent. If you want to see a performer at the top of his game, you need to see Fogerty in action. He is a true marvel. Later in the set, he performed a tearjerker of a song, “Broken Down Cowboy” with the LA Philharmonic. It was beautiful. Many in the audience would have liked him to close his set with an upbeat song, but we felt his choice to end his set with the somber tune was poignant and stirring. If you want to see a true authentic artist perform, without the trappings of effects and technology, you must see John Fogerty. He is artistry in motion. The set ended with fireworks, but the true fireworks were in Fogerty’s outstanding set.

The July 5th show at The Bowl featured The New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara and Death Cab for Cutie. The New Pornographers opened the show and they had a garage type sound reminiscent of the sounds of the 60’s. Tegan and Sara’s set was cute and fun. We just wish their songs were longer. In between songs, the banter to the audience was quite entertaining. At one point, Tegan said that she was “sick by being in front of the 17,000 plus audience that attended” and made jokes about a couple of songs that were dedicated to their mother. Their best song was a great tune called “Out of My Mind.” They had a fantastic set. Death Cab for Cutie was great. Many times during the set, however, it was difficult to hear the lead singer, Benjamin Gibbard. When you could hear him, he was fantastic. He did a song with the LA Philharmonic that was just beautiful.

We also attended a classical show featuring the music of Prokofiev. The spectacular performance featured amazing string passages and a brilliant piano concerto. The night ended with fireworks.

The Hollywood Bowl in 2009 featured some fantastic upcoming concerts, including Patti LaBelle, Buddy Guy, An Evening with Liza Minelli, a fantastic concert showcasing Faith Hill and many other amazing concerts. For information on the current season, visit www.hollywoodbowl.com for more information. It is the place to be this summer for fantastic evenings under the stars.


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