Friday, July 18, 2008

A night of culture (and fireworks) at the Hollywood Bowl...

After four months in L.A. it was time for a bit of culture, courtesy of the Hollywood Bowl.
The Hollywood bowl can hold a capacity of almost 18,000
The Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on 17 July 2008
Last night we went to an evening of Tchaikovsky, Lang Lang & Fireworks.  The Los Angeles Philharmonic was being conducted by Long Yu, with special performances by superstar pianist Lang Lang and cellist Ben Hong.  The program included works by Yanjun - Moon Reflected on the 'Erquan' Fountain and Tan Dun's Selections from Crouching Tiger Concerto and Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1 performed by Lang Lang.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on 17 July 2008
The L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl on 17 July 2008
It was a lovely summer evening and our first visit to the Hollywood Bowl, which is one of the World's largest natural amphitheaters and can seat an audience of almost 18,000.
The LA Philharmonic and Cellist Ben Hong at the Hollywood Bowl
The LA Philharmonic and superstar pianist Lang Lang at the Hollywood Bowl
The Hollywood Bowl is on North Highland Avenue in Hollywood and with the size of the crowds can be a real bugger to get to and from and causes all kinds of havoc for rush hour traffic during the performance season.  
The Hollywood Bowl all lit up at night
The concert started at 8pm and we missed about the first fifteen minutes of it due to traffic.  We'd opted to park at Hollywood and Highland and get the shuttle bus to the Bowl ($3 per person for a return ticket), but after rush hour evening traffic even after we'd made it to the bus by 7.45pm, it didn't leave until 8pm (when the concert was starting) as it was the last shuttle there.
Superstar pianist Lang Lang & the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl 17 July 2008
We were obviously hoping to get to the Hollywood Bowl much earlier and I'd even packed a mini-picnic of essential provisions - mini-bottles of Champagne, wine, nibbles and dips.  It's great you're able to take your own food and drink in and we'll be even more prepared next time.  As we didn't have any time before the concert we tried to grab bites to eat during the breaks in the performance, although trying to munch carrots and sugar snap peas quietly when the orchestra is playing is almost impossible.
Fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl
Tchaikovsky,Lang Lang and Fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl on 17 July 2008
Luckily we weren't the cause of the sounds of wine bottles rolling down the Hollywood Bowl seating terraces or like the drunken man who fell head first into the bushes off the side of the steps when the concert was playing. Obviously being very civilized we tried not to laugh too much.
Fireworks over the Hollywood Bowl
Firework spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl
The concert itself was just over two hours long and we had make our goodbyes quickly to our friends as we needed to rush home and make sure our pup, Cooper was OK, as we've not left him for such a long time so far.  We skipped the return shuttle as it wouldn't leave for at least 25 minutes after the end of the concert and walked briskly back to where we left the car.  Luckily, when we got home around 10.50pm, all was well with Cooper.
Firework and music spectacular at the Hollywood BowlFirework and orchestral spectacular at the Hollywood BowlFirework and music spectacular at the Hollywood Bowl
I thought the venue was amazing and it was brilliant to be sitting outside in the Californian night air.  I really enjoyed the concert too and the 'Crouching Tiger Concerto' was my favourite bit of the performance (sorry Lang Lang), as I'm a big fan of 'House of Flying Daggers' type movies and their soundtracks.  The fireworks were great too, but I could have done with a few more (sorry if some of the pictures are fuzzy, but I'm still getting the hang of night time photography)!
Superstar pianist Lang Lang and conductor Long Yu
So I'm looking forward to a return visit to the Hollywood Bowl, and next time I'll be prepared and be able to enjoy it even more...

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