Sunday, September 01, 2013

John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl


Getting ready for Star Wars at the Hollywood Bowl

We went to the Hollywood Bowl, last night, to see John Williams, conductor and award-winning composer of countless movie scores, including Jaws, Schindler’s List, E.T., the “Harry Potter” series, Superman, and, of course, Star Wars. I wasn’t surprised when a father and son—both dressed as Han Solo—walked in behind us; but I was a tad concerned when I saw them carrying lightsabers. “Yikes! I hope they don’t sit in front us,” I thought to myself.

Then, when I went to the restroom, I noticed lightsabers being sold at the Bowl concession stand. I rushed back to tell Tim.

“They’re selling lightsabers at the Bowl store!” I exclaimed.

The man seated next to me asked if we’d ever been to a John Williams concert before.

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“Well, just wait,” he laughed knowingly. That's when I realized lots of people were carrying lightsabers, including a rather normal-looking woman sitting in front of us. What was going on?

The first half of the concert was dedicated to Henry Mancini, the brilliant composer who wrote songs for many of Blake Edwards' films (e.g., Pink Panther, Breakfast at Tiffany's, etc.). Edwards’ wife, Julie Andrews—whom the audience adored—narrated, providing colorful anecdotes about the two men and their long-standing relationship. Williams ended the first half with "Moon River," one of Mancini's greatest movie songs.

After intermission, Williams turned the orchestra’s attention to his own music. They played a couple of non-descript pieces from unidentified movies, before focusing on Indiana Jones. The audience cheered enthusiastically. But obviously most were there just for Star Wars. As soon as the first notes of their anthem erupted, hundreds, if not thousands, of lightsabers were ignited and held high, swaying silently to the music. It truly was something wonderful to behold. The man sitting next to me smiled, as if to say, “I told you so!” I was in geek heaven.

Personally, I’ve never been as emotionally invested in Star Wars as I am, say, in the music of Star Trek. (I’ve been known to burst into tears at the mere suggestion of the original Star Trek theme). But, damn, those lightsabers were way cool. We Trekkies have nothing to compare!

video
Yes, that’s me gleefully tittering near the end of Tim’s video. 
Be sure to view it full-screen to get the full effect.

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