Entertainment » Music

The Star Wars Concert Series @ The Hollywood Bowl

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Aug 10, 2018
A still from "Star Wars: A New Hope."
A still from "Star Wars: A New Hope."  

It's taken decades, but the Hollywood Bowl has finally done what I've been waiting for them to do for years: project the legendary film "Star Wars" on the Hollywood Bowl screen and play the soundtrack with a live orchestra.

But that's not all! Not only are they showing the original "Star Wars: A New Hope," but the sequel "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" as well!

Ever since John Williams conducted the final reel of his iconic "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" score live to the film a few years ago, the Hollywood Bowl realized they had a goldmine in front of them. Show popular films with famous scores and play them live to the film. From "E.T" to "Singing in the Rain" to multiple "Harry Potter" films (and "Jaws" a few weeks ago), these nights are some of the most anticipated of the Bowl season. So it was a thrill to see that two of the best "Star Wars" movies had made it onto the schedule.

Conducted by composer David Newman (some 100 scores, most recently "Girls Trip"), the Los Angeles Philharmonic perfectly played every note of the film's scores to absolute perfection. Crystal clear, it was next to impossible to tell that you weren't actually hearing the film's original track. From time to time you almost had to remind yourself to look to the orchestra to see them performing their butts off to mimic the original recording. It is certainly a testament to the exquisite performers and their leader Newman that they are able to pull off something so intricate in such a precise way.

If that wasn't a thrill enough, imagine the collective bond of 17 thousand people all coming together to share in the nostalgic experience of one of the most beloved movies of all time. Lightsabers were swung every time some bit of heroic daring-do occurred or a lightsaber was lit for swordplay. When the "Imperial March" was heard, the sabers marched through the air like Stormtroopers heading off to battle.

Frequently the audience cheered for favorite characters like Han and Yoda, or fan-favorite actors like the late Carrie Fisher. People recited iconic lines and laughed at various inside jokes like Luke's classic whine about going to Tosche Station pick up some power converters. Everyone was dressed in their "Star Wars" best from t-shirts and shoes, to Leia buns and Chewbacca onesies; these were true fans.

Here's hoping that next year the Bowl will continue the Saga with "Return of the Jedi," and "The Force Awakens." And maybe when the Skywalker saga is finally over, close out the series with "The Last Jedi" and the to-be-named Episode 9. Until then, the Force is definitely with us.

"The Star Wars Concert Series" concludes with "Star Wars: A New Hope" on August 10 and "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" August 11 at the Hollywood Bowl, 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. For upcoming events at the Bowl visit www.hollywoodbowl.com.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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