Top 10 Concerts of All Time at the Hollywood Bowl
If you're a music lover, you've probably spent time at the Hollywood Bowl. From its opening in 1922 to today, it has become one of the most iconic venues for live music in the United States. And it's no wonder why: with its gorgeous setting and history, this natural amphitheater is perfect for concerts—and especially large-scale events like festivals. It has seen performances by everyone from The Beatles to Beyoncé to Jimi Hendrix to Led Zeppelin. Whether you're an avid music fan or just looking for something new to do in Los Angeles, here are ten of our favorite performances that have taken place at one of America's most beloved venues.
George Gershwin and Paul Whiteman, 1922
In 1922, this band was comprised of 10 pieces and played two weeks at the Hollywood Bowl. It was the first time a symphony orchestra played in the venue, which is pretty cool considering it’s still going strong today. If Gershwin showed up today with his music, he would probably be shocked at how modern it sounds when compared to other popular artists from that time period!
Bob Dylan, 2004
This concert was a historic event, as it marked the first time Bob Dylan performed at the Hollywood Bowl. He was backed by a band that included Mark Knopfler, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. It was an intimate performance with several thousand people in attendance; one of those lucky fans that night described it as "the most amazing show I've ever seen."
The Beatles, 1964
On August 23, 1964, The Beatles performed to a sold-out crowd of 15,000 fans at the Hollywood Bowl. They played their first US concert here and their last US concert here as well. During this time, they were making appearances on American television shows such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “Shindig!” as well as doing a lot of press in New York City.
While The Beatles were in Los Angeles, they met with Elvis Presley. This meeting was arranged by Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker. They also made an appearance on “The Hollywood Palace” television show on August 25th.
Frank Sinatra and the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, 1940
The first pop star to perform at the Hollywood Bowl, Frank Sinatra helped usher in a new era. In June of 1943, he headlined with a 34-piece orchestra directed by Axel Stordahl. The concert was part of California's celebration of its 50th anniversary as a state, and it would go down as one of the most important events in both history and music history.
Pink Floyd, 1975
You'll get a lot of mileage out of this concert if you're a Pink Floyd fan. The 1975 performance is one of the best in their catalog, and it's especially notable because it was recorded with a quadraphonic sound system—one of the first concerts to do so. The recording was released as a live album in 1975; however, it didn’t do very well commercially until its re-release in 2011 when it reached #1 on Billboard's Top Rock Albums chart.
Whitney Houston, 1995
As the most popular and successful female singer of the 20th century, Whitney Houston made it to the Hollywood Bowl in 1995. At this concert, she sang her biggest hits like "I Will Always Love You," "The Greatest Love of All," and "I'm Every Woman." She also surprised fans by performing a special rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" with an orchestra backing her up.
True Colors Tour (Cyndi Lauper, The B-52s and Erasure), 2007
The concert was held on June 7, 2007. The show featured Cyndi Lauper and The B-52s as well as Erasure. It was a benefit for Human Rights Campaign and the True Colors Fund.
Led Zeppelin, 1972
Led Zeppelin played at the Hollywood Bowl in 1972 during their trip to Los Angeles. The concert was a benefit for the Knebworth Festival and featured performances from bands like Emerson Lake & Palmer, Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. The show was such a big success that around 60,000 people attended it over three nights (the largest crowd ever for a concert at the Hollywood Bowl). This performance is considered one of the best concerts ever given by Led Zeppelin.
Prince opened his concert with “Let's Go Crazy” and played a total of four songs, including covers of Bob Marley's “No Woman, No Cry” and the Beatles' “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The show was a benefit for the Nelson Mandela Foundation, which was celebrating its 25th anniversary in Los Angeles.
Prince did not have an opening act at this concert, but he did have some stage time to spare: he invited audience members onstage to dance during his performance.
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