Hollywood Bowl: A Mini Staycation in L.A. With Chris Botti and Jewel…

Image of the Hollywood Bowl acoustic concert shell at dusk with the hills and Hollywood sign in the background.

Bowled over at the Hollywood Bowl

Bowl me over and over and over again.

I forgot how much I was missing by shunning the Hollywood Bowl for years due to easily solvable frustrations.

In my rockin’ past, I had made the journey often for my acts who performed at the Bowl, enduring the parking and traffic.

Sunday night, I put on my big girl party pants and took on the infamous California highways for a Sunday Sunset Concert.

I preplanned parking because much of the Bowl parking is stacked and it can be frustrating trying to exit the venue.

I found church parking on Highland which is a speedy in and out and the $15 parking fee goes directly to support the progressive Methodist church.

Image of the picnic area at the Hollywood Bowl with concertgoers seated in chartreuse-colored chairs around small tables in dappled golden sunlight.
Picnic Areas

The walk up Highland to the Bowl is an easy 10 minutes although the Bowl is an uphill climb so wear shoes that are made for walking.

The Hollywood Bowl set up has been successfully updated.

The last time I was there a huge pop star had a publicist friend of mine fired because he crossed his line of vision during a sound check…he was 50 rows away from the stage…he could have been walking through The “Copacabana” in NYC that’s how far away he was from the Bowl stage!

Image of the Hollywood Bowl entrance grounds with people standing under shade trees and the box office in the background.
Hollywood Bowl Grounds

The grounds are gorgeous and inviting with numerous seating areas for all the folks who schlep wheelies filled to the brim with food and beverages.

Image of the Hollywood Bowl Marketplace with open-shelf wine cooler to the left and display of wine bottles in the foreground. In the background an employee is checking out some shop patrons while another employee assists a man in the pre-order pickup area.
Hollywood Bowl Marketplace

There is an impressive Marketplace that sells reasonably priced, appealing food and lovely wines at very fair prices. You can also preorder prepared meals.

Image of the Plaza Marketplace coffee menu above a shelves containing coffee urns, cups, and fixings.

The second level has a plethora of food stands, selling pizza, barbecue, popcorn, desserts, tacos and bahn mi sandwiches.

Image of a bartender behind the counter at the Hollywood Bowl Wine Bar. On the bar is a wood board featuring a selection of charcuterie, two glasses of chilled white wine, and the filled plates of two diners.
Wine Bar

AOC has a fabulous wine bar with a comprehensive menu offering snacks, appetizers and delectable entrees.

Image is of the Hollywood Bowl escalator, which is flat and operates as a moving walkway. It has a clear canopy over top and several concertgoers are standing in conversation as they ride.
Bowl Escalator

There are escalators and elevators if you are not up to the climb.

The band shell was built in 1929 by Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son.

It was replaced in 2003 to improve the acoustical sound which today is superb.

Image is a zoom of the famous Hollywood sign in the dusky light of the hills behind the Hollywood Bowl.

The shell is set against the backdrop of the Hollywood Hills and the famous Hollywood sign.

The “bowl” refers to the shape of the concave hillside the amphitheater is carved into.

The Hollywood Bowl is owned by LA County and is the home of the superb Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Our seats were dead center several sections back for $53. Multiple video screens afford up close visuals from anywhere in the Bowl.

Image is of performer Jewel singing on one of the large outdoor viewing screens. Concertgoers are seated below.

The bill featured Jewel, the multi-platinum, songwriting folk/pop/country storyteller who was engaging and charming.

I forget how beautiful her voice is.

She performed her hits (Intuition, Hands, Who Will Save your Soul, Foolish Games, You Were Meant For Me) as well as classics including, Summertime and, Over The Rainbow.

The show was headlined by trumpeter, Chris Botti, the smooth, impressive multiple Grammy-winning contemporary jazz/pop trumpeter known for his lush melodies and improvisations.

Image is of several performers downstage in the center of the Hollywood Bowl shell with the orchestra seated upstage. The shell is lit with vibrant orangy-red and fuschia lights.
Hollywood Bowl

His band was outstanding, accompanied by renown jazz pianist, Eldar with guest appearances by accomplished violinist, Caroline Campbell, vocalist, Sy Smith, whose improvisational riffs between her and Botti were hot-wired, imitating the sound of Botti’s trumpet, as well as tenor, Jonathan Johnson.

It was exciting for a change of pace to attend an evening of jazz, classical and contemporary influenced music.

This genre had its’ fair share of screamers, pot heads, preppy flask guzzlers and dancers so it is not confined to rock concerts.

We dodged after Botti’s encore of the classic, My Funny Valentine, and were home in 40 minutes.

No matter the show, go to the Hollywood Bowl for a truly amazing evening.

The atmosphere and experience will definitely “bowl” you over.

Image is of several performers downstage in the center of the Hollywood Bowl shell with the orchestra seated upstage. The shell is lit with deep blue light and white spotlights on the performers.

Hollywood Bowl 2301 North Highland Avenue Hollywood, California. 2017 season runs June-September.

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