As Ringo turned 70 this week with a performance at Radio City Music Hall in New York, Beatles fans in Los Angeles got to celebrate the Beatles 45th anniversary of their first performance at the Hollywood Bowl.
It was my first official evening for the summer at the world famous Hollywood Bowl where the Fab Four performed in August of 1964 for their first time.
Although there were no signs of Paul or Ringo on the west coast, we did get to enjoy the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Brian Wilkins and leading a variety of performers including Patti Austin who opened up with “I’m Looking Through You.” She followed up with her sweet soft version of “She’s Leaving Home” and delightful renditions of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Penny Lane.”
Musical heartthrob Brian Laufler sang “Something” and “Across the Universe.” Guests in nearby boxes were singing along and enjoying the evening. Tony award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell sang one of his favorites, “Fool on the Hill” and added in “Norwegian Wood.”
After the intermission, R & B singer Bettye LaVette took the stage. If my eyes were closed, I would have thought it was Gladys Knight on stage. I have to say my favorite part of the show was the performance by musical genius Todd Rundgren. Todd opened up with “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and played “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” I had a feeling he’d select one of his favorites. He ended with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and reflected about he had had performed with birthday boy, Ringo Starr. We heard “A Day in the Life” and “Let it Be.” Meanwhile, sitting in my box, I was reminded of memories of Todd Rundgren performing live in Central Park in 1970s which was memorialized in a vinyl album that I still cherish today.
We all expected everyone to join together at the end and had bets on “Hey Jude” for an encore and we weren’t disappointed. Along with Hey Jude the four performed “All You Need is Love.” You won’t get any arguments from me with that title. The crowd was waving their iPhones and BlackBerries as if they were holding a match or a flame to show their appreciation for the performers who honored the memories of The Beatles music all night long.
The Beatles Spectacular will continue on Saturday, July 10th and Sunday, July 11th.