John Williams night at The Hollywood Bowl generally occurs on Labor Day weekend. I hadn't realized it, but it was also this weekend last year. We went on Saturday this year and it was great fun, as usual. The first half of the show was actually comprised of Williams conducting movie music from "The Golden Age of Hollywood," including Now, Voyager and Psycho. He saved his own compositions for after the intermission and did not disappoint. We heard selections from Jurassic Park, Memoirs of a Geisha, Indiana Jones, E.T., Superman, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Hook, more Star Wars. We even got the entire, extended version of the theme from the NBC Nightly News. As was to be expected, there were several light sabers that lit up during any Star Wars piece. I think there was a record number this year as I don't recall seeing so many in years past. During "Vader's Theme," there was even a chase up and down the venue between someone with a blue one and someone with a red one. The cheap seats, way at the top, lend themselves to a great view of all of this frivolity. I wouldn't want it any other way.
Sunday night's show was fantastic too. John Mauceri, sadly in his last couple of weeks as the Director of The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, counted down the Top 25 Greatest Movie Musicals according to the American Film Institute. Clips from each film played on the multiple screens around the Bowl, while the orchestra played accompanying music. I was really hoping that my favorite, The Sound of Music, would be named #1, but I was wrong. I think it was robbed, but at least it placed in the Top 5. There were no light sabers at Movie Night, but we were seated with a much more unruly group of people. Apparently, when some folks bought the least expensive seats in the house, they also received a license to talk loudly and guffaw obnoxiously throughout the show. Funny, I paid my $5 and I only received a bench seat assignment and no other special privileges.