John Williams returned to the Hollywood Bowl to grace his fans with yet another magnificent performance from Sept. 2-4. This marks Williams’ 38th year conducting music at the bowl.
Almost 50,000 people attended the 3-night concert series. Nearly all of 18,000 seats were filled on the evening of Sept. 4. with more than half of the venue’s attendees having a lightsaber in hand.
David Newman, son of famous composer Alfred Newman, opened the night with a short pre-show.
Newman warmed up the audience with montages from iconic Paramount Picture films that were accompanied by Alan Silvestri’s scores from “Forrest Gump”.
Other works that were performed were from movie scores such as “Sabrina”, “Sunset Boulevard” and “The Godfather”.
Williams strolled onto the stage as if it were merely a walk in the park. The excitement and anticipation of the audience was obvious as everyone cheered loudly.
Accompanied by the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, he conducted many of his known suites throughout the night. Scenes were displayed in a montage on the big screen for everyone to follow along.
His first performance began with “Flight to Neverland” from “Hook”, followed by a piece from his latest work on “The BFG”.
Prior to entertaining the crowd with some of his work on the most recent installment in the “Star Wars” series, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the conductor explained that he initially planned to turn down the opportunity until he met Daisy Ridley, who portrayed the character of Rey.
Admitting he formed a slight crush on the actress, Williams decided no one other than him should create music for her.
The night wouldn’t be complete without some of the writer’s most famous work in the original trilogy. Williams gave the audience a little insight on his theme “Princess Leia” and why it has such a romantic atmosphere.
“I saw these two lovely people and assumed they were going to be lovers now or later. George had nothing to correct me so I wrote what I thought was a love scene,” Williams explained. “It has kind of an almost, torrid climax at the end of it. Not suitable for what I found out two years later – brother and sister.”
The composer had to rewrite the song later for the series, but he played the original for everyone. He noted that he was under “a shroud of ignorance” at the time, causing the audience to laugh.
Every lightsaber was up in the air and waving to the beat of Darth Vader’s most notable march in Williams’ “The Throne Room / Finale” from “Star Wars: A New Hope“.
The lights bouncing across the audience created a visual of pure magic, which Williams noted he only witnessed at The Hollywood Bowl.
A live feed of the audience made it on the big screen during the performance.
Returning to the stage after a brief exit, Williams told of his visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in April, which had the crowd cheering in anticipations.
With the roar of the audience growing louder and louder, the conductor led the orchestra into his score from the first installment from the “Harry Potter” movie series.
Williams concluded the evening full of wonderful music with a couple of his other famous works from “Superman” and “E.T: The Extra Terrestrial”.
Williams returned to the stage on last time, but this time he was accompanied by Newman. The two famous composers bowed and thanked the crowd for allowing them to share the experience with them.