Swingin’ at the Bowl

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post asking what were the sounds you only hear during the summer? If you’re in Los Angeles, I heard one of them last night: concert music and fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl. More specifically, the sounds of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Hollywood Bowl.

Let me explain the bowl for those unfamiliar: what you have is a large natural amphitheatre that seats loads and loads of people (just under 18,000), out under the stars. Seats range from pricey private boxes to the nosebleed benches. The sound is wonderful. You bring a picnic dinner, enjoy the food, and then enjoy the show.

The program last night started with the Hollywood Bowl orchestra, conducted by Michael Krajewski. The program for the evening was “Jump, Jive, and Swing!”, and their music consisted of just that:

  • Bugle Call Rag (Jack Pettis)
  • South Rampart Street Parade (Ray Bauduc, Bob Haggart)
  • ”Essential Ellington” (a medly of Duke Ellington swing music)
  • April in Paris (Vernon Duke, done in the Count Basie style)
  • One O’Clock Jump (Count Basie)
  • In The Mood (Joseph Garland)

For a number of these songs, a local swing dance group, the Hollywood Hornets, joined the band on the stage.

After intermission, it was time for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The last time we saw BBVD was at CSUN, in an enclosed auditorium. The music was great, but it was LOUD! The bowl was a much better venue, volume-wise (especially as we were in T1, one tier below the nosebleed seats). They did their usual great program. I didn’t write all the songs, but it included many of their big hits and our favorites: Minnie the Moocher, Save My Soul, You & Me & The Bottle Makes 3 Tonight (Baby), Go Daddy-O, Jumpin’ Jack, I Wanna Be Like You, King Of Swing, Zig Zaggity Woop Woop, and Mr. Pinstripe Suit. They do a wonderful show that can’t help but leaving you feeling good. The Hollywood Hornets provided some dancing on the stage.

The program closed with the Hollywood Orchestra doing “Sing! Sing! Sing!” by Louis Prima… with fireworks timed to the music. After this, all the artists came out to join BBVD in So Long, Farewell, Goodbye (music samples).

It was a wonderful show, although with the park-and-ride busses to and from the bowl, it was a late, late evening.

Next up on the concert calendar is likely “Tom Paxton” at McCabes on December 2nd, although I need to move some Pasadena Playhouse tickets first. In terms of theatre, next up is “Avenue Q” at the Ahmanson on 9/15 @ 2:00pm; “Matter of Honor” at the Pasadena Playhouse on 9/22 @ 8:00pm; and “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” at REP East on 10/6 @ 8:00pm