Category: Hollywood Bowl

Live Review: The Eagles close out their Hollywood Bowl run


On Tuesday night at the Hollywood Bowl, Glenn Frey welcomed Eagles fans to the final show of the band’s three-night stand there with a bit of sly self-deprecation. “We are the ancient ones,” he said. “And this is the Eagles’ assisted-living tour.”

As lines go, it’s a good one, and it drew sympathetic laughs from an audience seemingly packed with well-preserved old-timers from the group’s days on the early-’70s L.A. club scene.

Yet if the joke acknowledged the improbability of the Eagles’ four-decade flight, it didn’t necessarily reflect the reality of the band’s current state: Backed (or perhaps assisted) at the Bowl by a handful of musicians on a variety of instruments, Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit played a three-hour set that emphasized the slickly seductive allure of the Eagles’ music, which presents youth less as a concrete experience than as a state of mind attainable through sex, drugs or any combination thereof.

The Eagles weren’t dispensing hard-won wisdom; they were demonstrating their continued devotion to everything that wisdom typically precludes.

And they were moving far more quickly than senior citizens usually do, zipping through hits such as  “Witchy Woman,” “One of These Nights” and “Lyin’ Eyes” with the effortless facility that’s always defined their sound.

“We did everything fast in 1975,” Frey said before the last of those tunes, explaining that he and Henley had written it over two days about the scene at West Hollywood’s Dan Tana’s. Then he dedicated it to his first wife, whose name he helpfully provided: “Plaintiff.”

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[Updated] Pavement to play the Hollywood Bowl in the fall

We just received a tip that reformed indie rock band Pavement, which performs at Coachella on Saturday night, will perform at the Hollywood Bowl on Thursday, Sept. 30. The band makes its stateside return Thursday night at the Fox Theater in Pomona before heading to the desert.



Tickets go on sale on May 2 at the Hollywood Bowl box office; additional acts will be announced on Monday.


Updated, April 15, 11:26 a.m.: The Daily Swarm is reporting that Sonic Youth and No Age are also on the bill.


-- Randall Roberts

Live review: Paul McCartney's second night at the Hollywood Bowl

Mccartney Paul McCartney went without an opening act Wednesday night at the Hollywood Bowl -- unless you count the former Beatle himself, that is.

Playing the second of two sold-out shows this week -- his first at the historic venue since 1993 -- McCartney waited until he was nearly two hours into his marathon set to introduce a sense of the superhuman, a bit of the mystery and wonder that continues to define the Beatles’ brand a half-century on from their formation.

The shift came with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” which McCartney said he’d never performed on the road until his current tour; on Wednesday he and his four-piece band did it as a spirited ska number (complete with half-time dub breakdown). After that came “Back in the U.S.S.R,” “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “Paperback Writer” and then “A Day in the Life,” each inviting the question that remains impossible to answer despite the depredations of time and countless cover versions: How on earth did regular people write these songs?

Until that point, McCartney was an amiable English guy with a bunch of hits, some more reverentially preserved than others. “Jet” was tart and punchy and “Drive My Car” retained its funky propulsion. But “My Love,” which the singer addressed to “all the lovers in the audience,” was as tired as that dedication, while a dreary rendition of “The Long and Winding Road” sounded like something you’d hear on a PBS telethon. (The sub-Discovery Channel nature footage didn’t help the latter.)

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Paul McCartney returns to Hollywood Bowl on March 30

Paul McCartney will play the Hollywood Bowl on March 30, his first concert at the venue since 1993, as part of his just-announced 2010 Up and Coming tour. As he’s been doing in recent years, the latest tour will be a combination of markets he’s never visited and those he hasn’t played lately.

The tour opens March 28 in Glendale, Ariz., and brings him to Los Angeles two nights later. There has been much speculation on the Internet about a second Bowl show on March 31, but so far only the March 30 date has been confirmed.

On his last tour he performed for David Letterman at the Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Beatles made their U.S. television debut in 1964. He also played several shows at Citi Field in New York, by the former site of the Beatles’ Shea Stadium concerts in 1965 and ’66. The Fab Four also made historic tour stops at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964 and '65.

Tickets for the Bowl concert go on sale Sunday (Feb. 28). Details on additional dates and locations are to be announced soon.

--Randy Lewis

Eagles landing at the Hollywood Bowl


Still on the road in support of their phenomenally successful 2007 release "Long Road Out of Eden," the Eagles will play their first-ever shows at the Hollywood Bowl in April. Returning to the Southland for the first time since playing the Stagecoach Festival in 2008, the veteran rockers are set for three dates at the Bowl -- April 16, 17 and 20.

Tickets to the general public will go on sale Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster. Look for presales for American Express cardholders on Monday, and big spenders can monitor for information on VIP packages. 

-- A Pop & Hiss public service announcement 

Photo: The Eagles at Stagecoach. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Natalie Cole at the Bowl: 'Healthy and whole and 100%'


You got the feeling Wednesday night that Natalie Cole couldn’t have been happier to be pulling into the Hollywood Bowl nearly two months late for her gig.

“I never thought I’d be standing here healthy, whole and 100% again,” the 59-year-old singer told the crowd, which cheered her return to the concert stage following a kidney transplant in May that prompted the postponement of her scheduled July 15 concert.

Her recovery -- guest gospel singer Kurt Carr called her “a walking miracle” when his 10-member choir joined her near the show’s end -- made for a warmly emotional backdrop to a performance dominated by music drawn from the Great American Songbook. She tapped that trove anew last fall in “Still Unforgettable,” the successor to her multiple-Grammy-winning 1991 collection, “Unforgettable With Love.”

Backed by a big band plus the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted with snap by “Still Unforgettable” co-producer Gail Deadrick, Cole, looking dazzling in a strapless purple gown, reclaimed her birthright in tastefully arranged, masterfully sung pop standards such as “The Man That Got Away,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home” and “Smile.”

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Live review: Faith Hill at the Hollywood Bowl

“Dawg! When you hit that high note -- 'That’s the the way that love’s sup-POSE-ed to be' -- THAT was the Faith we’ve come to know and love throughout this competition. That was hot -- you ARE the next American Idol!!”

Oh, that’s right -- Faith Hill got the jump on "American Idol" long ago. Yet it was tough Friday not to keep watching from the wings during the opening of her two-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl expecting Randy Jackson or Paula Abdul to pop out and give her a standing ovation.

She’s everything “AI” contestants strive to be: outwardly humble, vocally unrestrained, temperamentally not too hot, not too cold. Hill’s the diva for people who don’t like divas, so even-keeled there’s never a hint of the kind of distracting quirk that can come with a Whitney, Celine, Madonna or even a Kelly.

On Friday, that meant despite the added forces of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra behind her six-piece band and three backup singers, there was a striking shortage of musical electricity during the 65 minutes she was onstage.

Not a shortage of volume or sonic density given close to 100 musicians were there with her. But Hill’s music studiously avoids any sort of dynamic tension or thematic ambiguity that might give listeners a second thought. Or at times even a first one.

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Live: Incubus at Hollywood Bowl

The band gives L.A. fans a taste of all of its sounds: loud, soft, funky, spacey, inspired and not-so-much.


Some rock bands are of two minds (or more), struggling with competing impulses and uneven results, sometimes loud, soft, inspired or not. Incubus is like that, a cosmic jam band ready for either an endless funk-metal groove or a sudden eruption of melody and forward momentum.

When the pieces come together, Incubus is explosive and inspired, matching the melodic gifts of singer Brandon Boyd with the focused riffs and beats of the band. It's helped them build an impressive number of radio hits (collected on the just-released "Monuments and Melodies"), but also has fallen curiously short elsewhere.

At the band's 100-minute hometown performance at the Hollywood Bowl on Monday, fans heard all of it: the soaring pop hooks, the churning guitar of Mike Einziger, the stuttering DJ effects, the weakness for plodding funk and the growing distance between the band's best and least satisfying work. The new, two-disc best-of collection makes a strong enough case for the Incubus sound, gathering hits and rarities originally influenced by the heavy funk of Primus and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Initially aligned with the '90s "new metal" movement, Incubus was always less rage-fueled than peace-loving. Lyrics of inner struggle outnumbered any on anger management, far less about the nookie than the hippie dream. There were no grand mission social statements on the level of Pearl Jam, but at the Bowl, Boyd wore a T-shirt reading "Make believe, not war" as the images of street protests, riot police, mushroom clouds and a winged Adolf Hitler flashed behind him during a stirring "Megalomaniac."


Even within that single song, the band's competing musical impulses formed an uneasy balance, seeming to drift amid static and effects only to explode with immediate clarity through the shouted hooks of Boyd: "You're not Jesus / Yeah, you're no . . . Elvis / Special, as you know yourself, maniac / Step down!"

Incubus is dependent on those soaring vocals. Without them, the SoCal band can slip into swirls of sound without focus. That was evident in the night's opening song, a shapeless working of "Privilege," a song from 1999 that doesn't appear on the new retrospective, but got the concert to a sludgy, puzzling start. Soon, Incubus returned to its strengths, as the brooding, existential "Nice to Know You" rode along several satisfying vocal highs and lows, from a warm Daryl Hall-like croon to the roar of a vocal melody across some of Einziger's toughest riffs.

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David Campbell and Beck: father yields to the son*


David Campbell had a unique vantage point for observing the first sprouting of the musical vision of a certain modern rock hero: his son, Beck.

“When he was first starting to get interested in music, I think he was around 11 or 12,” said Campbell, who’ll be conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra on Sunday behind Ray LaMontagne at the Hollywood Bowl, one of four concerts for which he’s created the orchestral arrangements to accompany a variety of pop and rock performers.

“Earlier than that he was mainly writing -- stories and poems -- so I thought he was going to be a writer,” said Campbell, who was busy at that time in the early ‘80s scoring string, horn and full orchestra arrangements for a wide array of recording artists. “He was hanging around the studio a little bit at the time, and one day I thought I’d take some time and show him some stuff about what I was doing.

“Somewhere about five minutes into it, he stopped and says, ‘That’s really cool -- but what if you did it this way?’ I forget what it was, but he said something really cool and it took me by surprise, and I had the thought, ‘Wow,  I should shut up and just ask him what he thinks.’

“That’s kind of set the pattern for our collaborations ever since, because he has such a unique perspective on creating anything, really: music, drawings, conceptual stuff,” said Campbell, who has contributed musically to nearly all of Beck’s albums.

“So that’s basically how it rolls. When we work together, the first thing I want to know is, What does he think? And then I fill in.”

Related: Death Cab, Fogerty and the Phil? David Campbell gets it.

--Randy Lewis

Photo: Stefano Paltera / For The Times

*Update: An earlier version of this story said Campbell would be conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic on Sunday with Ray Lamontagne.

Live review: Death Cab for Cutie at the Hollywood Bowl

The Seattle group adapted its indie rock to the expansive Bowl, and the L.A. Philharmonic joined in on some of its songs, but still the performance sounded dull.


In "The New Year," the third song of Death Cab for Cutie's Sunday night concert at the Hollywood Bowl, frontman Ben Gibbard did what he does better than many of his indie-rock peers, sketching a detailed scene of emotional tension with only a handful of lyrics.

"So everybody put your best suit or dress on / let's make believe that we are wealthy for just this once," Gibbard sang, describing a group of twentysomethings coming to terms with the everyday disappointments of post-collegiate life. "Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn as 30 dialogues bleed into one."

An hour later, as the Los Angeles Philharmonic backed Death Cab during its final tune, "Transatlanticism," Gibbard didn't need words to help us imagine the pyrotechnics.

They were exploding directly over his head.

A Seattle quartet that began releasing albums more than a decade ago, Death Cab has taken an old-fashioned route to mainstream success; for younger bands of the fast-moving MySpace era, its ideas about creative consistency and dogged road work must seem as quaint as the pen and paper inside Dad's briefcase.

"This one's from our first record, which is now 11 years old, and therefore an oldie," Gibbard confessed with a laugh before the group eased into "President of What?," a typically wistful cut from 1998's "Something About Airplanes."
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