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Bedlam: Elvis Costello & The LA Philharmonic @ Hollywood Bowl, 9/5/14

September 9, 2014

I’m pretty sure that the first time I became aware of Elvis Costello was from the movie 200 Cigarettes (which is great, by the way). But I spent the time between then and almost now thinking “not for me”.

It was my third time to the Bowl in a week and a half, after seeing the iconic LA outing of composer John “Maestro to the Movies” Williams conduct the LA Phil through the Jurassic Park, ET, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones theme songs, while patrons waved light sabers in the air (through all of it, mind you). It was interesting; though, as a former violinist in the loosest sense of the term, I thought their performance was fairly lackluster (you call THAT a first chair violin solo?!). Seth McFarlane ‘sang’ a few songs and it was a check in the box for LA Things You Need To Do.

After a Lyft ride that I am currently trying to get the driver fired over; we kissed the ground and then posed with ‘LA’s Finest’ in front of the iconic Hollywood Bowl sign. I thought we might be late given the empty common areas, but it turns out that we were just the only ones who didn’t care to see Ben Folds. Bottle of red wine in hand, we took our seats and awaited the headline show.


My husband is a huge fan of Elvis (both of them, really), and I have learned some songs via him… but I was prepared to get more enjoyment from watching him enjoy the show. I didn’t even know that Costello would be performing with the LA Phil- and after my last experience with them, my expectations were lower upon learning that. However, one song in and I was hooked! From the moment the man in the shiny red straw hat came out on stage, he had me in the palm of his hand, like that other hat-wearing famous lyricist.

The LA Phil sounded amazing behind Costello; I envisioned him whipping them into superb shape for these special shows over the course of the last week. The huge capacity bowl fell silent, except for a few assholes behind us. It was emotional and poignant, captivating with the reimagined versions of his songs. My favorites of the night were “Bedlam”- which was bombastic, and “Almost Blue”- which was a tearjerker. It was the type of show where people gasped at the commencement of the songs, as they were flooded with the memories attached to them.


The show seemed short- 11 songs- but it ended in a sing-along, where my husband was drinking from the bottle of wine at this point and conducting our portion of the crowd. It was the type of show where you didn’t want it to end, and not just because you weren’t looking forward to the hellacious post- show Bowl traffic jam.

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