TRAVEL BLOG

September 5, 2018

A Night of Movie Music Magic with John Williams & Steven Spielberg


When it comes to the biggest names in the movie world, John Williams and Steven Spielberg are two of the biggest. John Williams, of course, is the composer of the film soundtracks to blockbusters like E.T., Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jaws, and Schindler’s List.  Steven Spielberg is the man who made all those films as director and producer (his net worth is estimated to be more than $3 billion.) Well, on a balmy September night, we DayTripper Tours passengers were privileged to see both of these giants on stage at the Hollywood Bowl. With the L.A. Philharmonic playing the music and John Williams conducting, we watched film clips on the gigantic screens strategically positioned around the 17,500 seat amphitheater. It was sold out, by the way – no surprise.

Before arriving for the 7:30 performance, we had a couple of hours on our own at the $650 million entertainment, shopping, and dining complex called Hollywood and Highland just a short distance away. I could feel the excitement rising inside the motor coach as driver Ernesto steered us down Hollywood Boulevard. Over 2500 stars were shining up from the sidewalks on either side of the street—the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame—where just about every luminary from the world of entertainment has a star. The most recent one was just unveiled for celebrity judge Simon Cowell from American Idol. Even famous animals have stars including Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, and Mickey Mouse. Mohammad Ali didn’t want anyone walking on his star so it was mounted on a wall at Hollywood and Highland. Other landmarks to explore during our free time included the footprints and handprints in the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I had fun putting my hand in the print left by actress Meryl Streep. Across the street was the storied Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel where the first Academy Awards was held in 1929. So much to see, so little time.

Soon, we re-boarded the bus and headed into the famed Hollywood Hills to see what we knew would be a concert to remember. DayTripper Tours even paid for each of us to have our own seat cushion! The program started with a bang…or maybe I should say with a fanfare, as the well-known Olympic theme music filled the Hollywood Bowl. Clips of the recent Olympic champions were projected on the big screens and we felt like we were there. Lots of concert-goers waved light sabers above their heads. The energy level went up a notch when Steven Spielberg came on stage. One of the highlights was when he showed the opening sequence to one of his Indiana Jones films without music, and then showed it again with the orchestra playing John Williams’ score. What a huge difference! It made us realize how much we take music for granted when it is the music, more than anything else, that makes the emotion come alive in a film. What a magical evening! Thank you DayTripper Tours for taking us and giving us an inside look into the music of Hollywood with two men who have provided the movie memories of a generation!

– Pat Brown
DayTripper Tour Manager
Tour: John Williams Live at Hollywood Bowl
Date: September 2, 2018

 

 

 


This was a DayTripper Tour that I raised my hand for, that I really wanted to lead.  I mean John Williams, “Movie Maestro” conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl!  Are you kidding?!  There aren’t enough opportunities in life to see a living legend doing what they do.  This was going to be one of those times. This DayTripper Tour was so popular that there were 2 busses required.  I was leading Bus B, as in “Best” as I told Pat Brown, who was leading Bus A.  After filling our coach at several San Diego pick-up spots, David, our “coach captain”, headed North.  On the drive, I shared with our passengers some of the life story of Mr. Williams.  From his start playing piano in New York City’s smoky jazz clubs to doing the same in the hallowed recording studios of Los Angeles, John Williams later chose to branch out on his own to compose not only concertos but something that would make him world famous – film soundtracks.  And not just background movie music – basically THE soundtracks of our youth, of our date nights, of our lives.  And tonight, those beautiful memories will come flooding back.

On our drive up we also talked about the history of the iconic Hollywood Bowl.  The names of those who’ve performed on this very stage are the best of the best through American music history – from Al Jolson, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra to the Beatles, Simone & Garfunkel, Pavarotti and Garth Brooks. This will be the perfect music in the perfect venue.

But first, we need to eat dinner!  And explore!  By late afternoon, David steered us right into the heart of Hollywood and gently deposited all of us at the Hollywood & Highland Mall, where we had a couple of hours to leisurely enjoy dinner on our own at any number of choice restaurants.  Some of our passengers chose to cross the street and dine in the pub/restaurant at the historic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  Others strolled all 5 levels of the mall before settling on CPK, Johnny Rocket’s, Whealthy, or one of many other options.  After dinner, I spotted our folks exploring the sidewalk stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame or the TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Mann’s/Grauman’s), the El Capitain where Jimmy Kimmel tapes his late night show, or the Dolby Theater, where the Academy Awards are held each year.  So many fascinating things to see in this Hollywood stopover.

Back on our coach, I was handing out everyone’s concert tickets as we were arriving at the iconic Hollywood Bowl.  First constructed almost 100 years ago, we see the famous acoustic shell backdrop, now with more modern additions of a world class sound system and jumbo LED screens so that every seat feels like the front row.  John Williams, dressed in a white tuxedo, steps on stage to a rousing, standing ovation from the full house which, you could see, touched his heart.  He turns to the orchestra and our night is underway.  The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, at his direction, filled the perfect night with music and goosebump memories from our younger years.

It wasn’t long before Williams tells the crowd that he would like to introduce someone special, a man who has been his “boss” for many years.  Legendary movie director and frequent collaborator with Williams, Steven Spielberg, strolls into the spotlight and wild applause to regale us with stories of how John Williams “saved” Mr. Spielberg’s movies.  The night continued with the jumbo screens showing scenes from their joint efforts – Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET, Schindler’s List, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind and more, all while the orchestra played portions of their film’s most famous soundtracks. There were moments, sometimes during the quieter more plaintive solo instrumentals, that you could feel emotions welling up in the audience.  I know they did for me, as well as many of our passengers, who shared their feelings later back on board our coach as we headed south for home.

Even many of our folks who had been to the Bowl before, shared that this night, this tour, was something special.  I know I felt blessed to be there.  I hope you’ll consider joining us on any of our upcoming DayTripper Tours.  Maybe it will be a new adventure for you or just maybe it will stir some of your best memories.

– Steve Weber
DayTripper Tour Manager
Tour: John Williams Live at Hollywood Bowl
Date: September 2, 2018


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