It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Bowl. Two or three years, I think. For those of you who don’t live in SoCal, it is the perfect place to go see a concert of any sort–everything sounds good there. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, it is blessed with history, beauty, and an aura of otherworldliness. It’s like you leave the freeways, pollution, crime, and superficiality of California behind and land in this green theater filled with music and magic.
Pretty, isn’t it?
I’ve seen Yo-Yo Ma there. I’ve seen Sting, Fleetwood Mac, and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers there (twice for the last one). I like to sit in the cheap seats (those benches in the foreground of the image; you can rent a cushion for seventy-five cents if you don’t bring your own). It sounds just as good, and I’ve long since lost the need to be right next to the speakers. You can bring your own food and wine, and dine under the stars. That’s really great if you take advantage of Park & Ride, which gives you time to sober up before you get home–and ensures you don’t have to deal with the nightmare of parking at the Bowl itself. (Park & Ride is this fabulous system in which you park at a pre-determined meeting spot near your home, and ride a bus up to the Bowl. It saves time, only costs a little extra, and you might even make friends on the way.)
One of my fondest memories is going to see The Who in 2002, their first show after the death of John Entwhistle. It was also right after my aunt had died, so I was feeling really melancholy. I went with the BFF, who called me spur of the moment to go. We just felt the need to be there, to honor the memory of one of our musical idols. It was a breathtaking and cathartic experience.
I found out later that one of my mom’s (and aunt’s) cousins and his wife were at the show, too, probably feeling a lot of the same things I was. The whole audience was transported. I know I couldn’t have been the only one brought to tears by their rendition of “Love Reign O’er Me” that night (wish I could’ve found a clip of that).
The Hollywood Bowl just released its 2013 schedule, and I want to try to hit a couple shows there this year. The ABBA show might be fun, but I’ll bet everyone will want to see that. It’s just so much damn fun to be out in the open air, surrounded by trees and music and joy. We could all use a little more joy in our lives.