On The Download: Opening Night Of The Hollywood Bowl 2010
First Published: June 21, 2010 8:31 PM EDT Credit: WireImage
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- There are some traditions that live up to their reputations, and a summer outdoors concert at the Hollywood Bowl is certainly the epitome of amazing Los Angeles traditions.
Opening night, often occurring close to the longest day of the year, is always one of the highlights of the concert season. Accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the night welcomes the induction of three honorees into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees included pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet, The Carpenters, and disco queen Donna Summer. The night also supported Music Matters, the musical education program of the LA Phil and the Hollywood Bowl.
And what a perfect evening it was. At 8:30 PM, just as the sun was beginning to set, the orchestra began the evening lead by Principal Guest Conductor Thomas Wilkins. In all honesty, for those who know my musical predilections, I was there primarily to hear Ms. Summer. While she did not disappoint, the real treat of the evening was one which I didn’t even see coming.
As music fans know, Karen Carpenter died in 1983 at age 32. Her voice is legendary in the music industry, and her brother Richard went on to contribute his musical talents to the industry for an entire career. Much like music lovers saw Natalie Cole sing alongside her late father in 1992, the Bowl created an evening in which once again Richard seemingly played right alongside his sister, through the use of incredible audio and visual technology. It felt like truly listening to The Carpenters sing live on their tracks again, which included, “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “For All We Know.”
By the time Donna Summer took the stage, the audience was relaxed and ready. Her dramatic entry to the stage to “MacArthur Park” (one of my all-time personal favorites) was legendary. She sailed through a couple of more hits — “On The Radio” and “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” (with a Donna look-alike standing in for Barbra Streisand) — before singing a stunning rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Nature Boy,” and finally, accompanying Richard Carpenter (who came back out) for “Superstar.”
Fittingly, the night ended to “Last Dance,” with fireworks exploding over the evening.
It was, quite simply, the perfect LA summer night. And to think that the Bowl’s season has “only just begun…”
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