Set List Bonus: Opening Night At The Hollywood Bowl
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Nicole Pajer
Under the light of the supermooon on June 22, the Hollywood Bowl's celebrated orchestra kicked off its 2013 summer season with colossal music icons and a dazzling fireworks show. The evening celebrated the careers of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Patti Austin, and John Legend, all of whom were inducted that night into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.
After guests enjoyed a pre-concert dinner, which raised more than $1 million to benefit the Los Angeles Philharmonic's music education programs, actress Angela Bassett kicked off the evening by introducing esteemed Hollywood Bowl Orchestra principal guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, who led the orchestra in Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite Of Spring." While the orchestra played, a visual art show took over the venue's freshly installed LED screens, adding an air of nostalgia to coincide with the composition's centennial.
Comedian Arsenio Hall, who earlier said that his evening highlight was being able to "occasionally look into Patti Austin's eyes," took the podium to present the accomplished songstress. Austin arrived onstage, glowing in a white off-the-shoulder top and a beaming smile. With the help of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, she dove into the Alan and Marilyn Bergman-penned "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?" She followed with a unique rendition of Bill Withers' "Lean On Me" and showcased her improvisational skills in a jazzy version of Nancy Hamilton's "How High The Moon."
Stevie Wonder took the podium to a standing ovation and introduced Legend as "a young legend with a big heart." Wonder also referred to Legend as his "writing buddy," revealing that he planed to collaborate with the soulful singer in the near future. Sitting behind a Yamaha piano, Legend performed four songs, including "Where Did My Baby Go" and "All Of Me," the latter a new song from his forthcoming album Love In The Future, due Sept. 3.
A highlight for me came when Legend informed the crowd that his "good friend Stevie" would be joining him onstage. Wonder reappeared, harmonica in hand, and added his flair to "Ordinary People." Prior to the show, Legend said he was shocked to be sharing the stage with such a high caliber of performers.
Following a short intermission, "Glee" star Darren Criss made his Hollywood Bowl debut with a lively rendition of Irish rock group the Script's "Hall Of Fame." In addition to the orchestra, Criss was accompanied by the John Burroughs High School Powerhouse Show Choir, who provided backup vocals while simultaneously twirling around the stage in flashy purple dresses and classy suits. Following was a performance by Gustavo Dudamel's Youth Orchestra LA, who performed Stravinsky's "The Firebird."
Peter Fonda took the stage to induct Tyler and Perry into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. A short video showcasing the Aerosmith frontman and lead guitarist's career highlights was played before the pair took the stage. Tyler, clad in sparkly pants, and Perry, wearing a reflective green jacket, brought the crowd to its feet, injecting power into the venue as they began their set with "Love In An Elevator." With a toothy smile, Tyler garnered a laugh from the crowd after asking, "Do you think we have promise?" Tyler then threw his coattails back and took a seat at a white piano for "Dream On." Perry climbed on top of the piano mid-song for his solo as smoke engulfed Tyler as he hit the song's highest note. The orchestra played along as Tyler and Perry continued with "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" and "Cryin'." The finale featured Legend and Austin joining Tyler and Perry for "Walk This Way" as a cloud of fireworks danced across the sky.
It was the perfect way to launch the summer concert season of Southern California's most celebrated venue.
For a list of concerts taking place at the Hollywood Bowl this summer, click here.
(Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles. She has written for a variety of publications, including Billboard, Rolling Stone, Men's Journal, Hemispheres, The Red Bulletin, Emmy.com, the Honda Civic tour, Coachella CAMP, and more. Follow her on Twitter @NicolePajer.)