For those of you tired of reading about Nine Inch Nails on this site, you can sleep easy tonight knowing that this show at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles was the very last NIN (and non-Bay Area) show for the foreseeable future. And for those of you who are still looking for a fix, check out this link for past reviews of the NIN shows I've seen since starting this site.
As for the show this past Thursday night, it was truly epic.
Expectations were extremely high for this one. Just a week prior, Trent was forced to cancel the Henry Fonda Theater show, and then this concert at the Wiltern which was originally scheduled for 9/5. The concert at the Echoplex on Sunday, 9/6 was originally meant to be the final show of the tour. And at first, it looked as if the Echoplex would remain as the last show. As word spread that the two shows were being canceled, there were little other details available at the time to know if they'd be rescheduled.
A fan, who was obviously upset that he might miss the Henry Fonda theater concert put this video together:
Luckily, both the Fonda and Wiltern were rescheduled. And I was one of the 2200 people who had a pair of tickets for the Wiltern show -- which due to the rescheduling was now the last NIN concert (ever?).
I took a big risk booking a United flight late in the afternoon that if everything went well, would allow me to get to the theater by 8pm. And as I took my seat as we boarded the plane, my heart sank as a maintenance crew member boarded the plane. Thank God however, when a flight attendant informed him that whatever got him down to the plane to begin with had been fixed without his help! 5 minutes later, we were airborne and things were looking good. We touched down at LAX at about 6.45 and I still had to catch a shuttle to the rental car place, and then deal with traffic on the 30 minute drive over to the Wiltern. Again, if there was any hitch with the shuttle or bad traffic, my night could have started off on the wrong foot. But luckily, things were going my way so far.
The drive was easy over to the Wiltern and I drove up two blocks before finding free street parking. Everything was going according to plan.
Now at this point, I still had an extra ticket to get rid of, so I started at the front of a line that had probably about 75-100 people in it who were all hoping tickets were released for sale at the box office. It seemed the majority of people in the front needed pairs of tickets, but a guy about 6-10 people back jumped at the chance to be my 'plus one'. Now that I found someone to take my extra, we headed over to a different line that had about 25-40 people in it and who were all waiting to pick-up their tickets from the nin.com will-call booth.
While we inched our way up towards the front of the line, we spoke with a few others who had traveled from all over the US to get there that night. Besides myself, a guy directly behind us had flown down from Sacramento, CA; and a guy in front of us had bought a plane ticket that same day from Ohio after he was able to buy a ticket online that morning. I didn't ask how much his flight was, but I could guess it was a bundle. It was a pretty cool experience to be surrounded by other nin-nuts like me.
For those of you in the Bay Area, the Wiltern is nearly identical to the Warfield Theater in San Francisco. There's a large standing-room only floor, with a seated balcony. However, the downstairs was being broken into at least two different areas. Certain people were given 'gray' wristbands and others 'blue' wristbands. The gray-colored wristbands got those ticket-holders down into the orchestra pit, right against the stage. The blue wristbands were for the remainder of the floor area.
Upon entering the venue, I had my first celebrity sighting of the night. None other than Ron Jeremy was standing in a line, which I think was providing another wristband for those over 21. For those of you who don't know who Ron Jeremy is, do a google search of his name in the privacy of your own home... The results will definitely be NSFW (not safe for work).
Further into the lobby, a massive crowd of I'm guessing around 150-200 people had surrounded the lone merchandise table. For these last club shows in New York, Chicago and LA, each venue had unique t-shirts and posters that were only available at each of those respective venues. The t-shirts were the ones in extreme limited supply and up until this point, there wasn't a limit to how many any individual could buy. So at each of the previous shows, those limited edition shirts were selling out almost instantly to a handful of people who were then turning them around on ebay for about $250 each. Finally, at the last show of the tour, the band got wise and instituted a strict limit of one t-shirt per person. At the time I arrived, there were still a few shirts available, but I didn't expect they'd still be there by the time I would've gotten to the front of the line so I didn't even bother trying.
I didn't really have any interest in catching the opening band, IO Echo, who was on stage at the time I entered the lobby, so I hung out for a bit chatting and trading NIN stories with some of the people I had just met in the line outside.
About 30 minutes later, IO Echo had finished their set and the stage was being prepared for the main event of the night... Nine Inch Nails!
I made my way onto the floor and found a decent spot with good visibility directly behind the front-of-house sound and light boards. Coincidentally, also there behind the board was a couple that I met before the Sunday night show at the Echoplex. It's definitely a small world, and again, it was pretty cool to be surrounded by die-hard NIN fans.
As we waited for the stage to get ready, my second and last celebrity sighting of the night happened when Tony Hawk decided to hang out behind the sound boards too. From what I could tell, he would stay in that spot throughout the majority of the show. Someone asked him what his favorite NIN album was, and I thought I overheard him say that he liked Pretty Hate Machine and The Fragile. Later on, I noticed him bobbing his head during "Head Like a Hole" but besides that, at least from what I noticed, he kept his cool throughout the show.
Finally, as the clock got closer to 9.15 and then 9.20, the fog machine started to spew and at just about 9.25, the droning guitar that starts the song 'Home' started to blare as Robin Finck, Nail's lead guitarist strolled onstage. The beginning of the end had begun... And the crowd went nuts. This is what I expected out of the crowd at the Echoplex just days before. The raw energy was just intense and when Trent took the stage, we all erupted into a frenzy.
Songs that immediately followed didn't differ all that much from previous shows, but the band seemed to feed off the energy from the crowd.
Check out this video of "Somewhat Damaged" which followed the opener, "Home" -- which has a slow build until both the band and crowd erupts. This video was shot from Synthetikz, a nin.com forum member:
Later on in the set, David Bowie's pianist, Mike Garson, joined the band on stage to perform "Just Like You Imagined" off The Fragile album. Although it's hard to say that I actually have a favorite NIN song since there are so many, this one is definitely in the top-5. It's an absolutely beautiful track that combines Garson's gorgeous piano playing with a beating bass and drum line and more of Robin's trademark droning guitar. Continuously building until Trent's pained vocals join the mix. All combined with the harsh electronic white noise that's seamlessly blended into the mix. Here's the video I shot with my Sony Cybershot:
Moving on, Garson continued with the band for another 3 songs before being joined onstage with Gary Numan. The collective now launched into a fantastic version of Gary Numan's 1979 hit single, "Down In the Park". Garson then left the stage and let Numan continue on with the band for versions of Numan's "Metal" and "I Die; You Die".
At this point, the band had played for about an hour and a half, and little did any of us know that they weren't even close to finishing yet! Gary left the stage and the core band launched into a few of their more recent tunes before turning the clock back to 1991 with a rendition of the Pigface classic (co-written by Reznor), "Suck". Here's the video I shot of "Suck":
To give you an idea of the intensity of the crowd, check out this clip of "Head Like a Hole" below. I'm telling you, the place was rocking! Simply incredible!
The band took a break after "Head Like a Hole" and by that point, I wouldn't have been surprised if they ended it there. But within minutes, Trent came back out onstage, this time joined by a new guest, who I couldn't immediately tell who it was. The duo broke into "Me, I'm Not" with Trent on keyboards and the mystery guest on what looked to be a turntable or small DJ-rig... It turns out that it was Atticus Ross, who is Trent's right-hand man when he's holed up in the recording studio since the late 1990's. To my knowledge, this was the first time he's ever taken the stage live with Trent or the band, so it was a pretty cool sight to behold.
You'll see from my next video, that Dave Navarro (of Jane's Addiction) came out to join the duo next on "The Warning" -- you'll also see that my camera has a tough time with red light. Dave is on the left, Trent center stage, and Atticus is still in front of his small rig on the center-right.
Navarro continued for a couple more songs before being replaced, this time by the Dillinger Escape Plan -- and these guys were there to create mayhem. Running, jumping, throwing light stands, mic stands, kick drums, just about anything they could get a hold of. One of the guys even launched his body into the Ilan's drumset -- as he was playing it! They were absolutely nuts. Here's my video of "Mr. Self Destruct" which doesn't really start until after the first minute of footage:
The Dillinger Escape Plan continued with the high-octane "Wish" before leaving the stage back to the core-NIN members for two classic covers by Joy Division, "Atmosphere" and "Dead Souls".
As the night continued to march forward, I knew we were getting close to the end when Trent took a minute to thank the band, the fans, and the crew. In fact, he forgot to thank the crew and stopped the next song, "The Day the World Went Away" (TDWWA), not once, but twice to thank the front of house crew -- which were the guys at the sound/light boards right in front of me, and the crew backstage as well. Check out the video which starts out pretty funny -- my memory card filled up, so I wasn't able to get the whole song:
TDWWA led into the similarly quiet "Hurt" which of course was turned into a 'Top 40' hit when Johnny Cash covered it right before his death a few years ago. And finally, and I do mean finally, NIN closed out the set and night with "In This Twilight". Although I was a *little* surprised that they didn't play "Closer" at all through the night, I couldn't have been happier to have been a part of this show. Again, although a bit cliche, it was an epic night.
Here's the complete setlist that I pulled from the nin.com forums. I've linked the names of the songs to my videos on YouTube, and also linked to (Synthetikz's) videos that he captured in HD. As you can see, he got most of the show from right towards the front of the venue.
1. Home (Synthetikz)
2. Somewhat Damaged (Synthetikz)
3. The Collector (Synthetikz)
4. Discipline (Synthetikz)
5. March of The Pigs (Synthetikz)
6. Something I Can Never Have (Synthetikz)
7. The Frail (Synthetikz)
8. The Wretched (Synthetikz)
9. Ruiner (Synthetikz)
10. Head Down (Synthetikz)
11. Burn (Synthetikz)
12. Just Like You Imagined (w Mike Garson) (Synthetikz)
13. La Mer (w Mike Garson) (Synthetikz)
14. Eraser (w Mike Garson) (Synthetikz)
15. The Becoming (Still) (w Mike Garson) (Synthetikz)
16. Down In The Park (w Gary Numan & Mike Garson intro) (Synthetikz)
17. Metal (w Gary Numan) (Synthetikz)
18. I Die: You Die (w Gary Numan) (Synthetikz)
19. 1,000,000 (Synthetikz)
20. Letting You (Synthetikz)
21. Survivalism (Synthetikz)
22. Suck (Synthetikz)
23. Down In It (Synthetikz)
24. The Hand That Feeds (Synthetikz)
25. Head Like A Hole (Synthetikz)
26. Me, I'm Not (w Atticus Ross) (Synthetikz)
27. The Warning (w Atticus Ross & Dave Navarro) (Synthetikz)
28. Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now) (w Dave Navarro) (Synthetikz)
29. Gave Up (w Dave Navarro) (Synthetikz)
30. Mr. Self Destruct (w The Dillinger Escape Plan) (Synthetikz)
31. Wish (w The Dillinger Escape Plan) (Synthetikz)
32. Atmosphere (cover - Joy Division)
33. Dead Souls (cover - Joy Division)
34. The Good Soldier (Synthetikz)
35. The Day The World Went Away (Synthetikz)
36. Hurt (Synthetikz)
37. In This Twilight (Synthetikz)
A few weeks ago, this was one of the toughest tickets to come by. The September 6th show at the Echoplex club in Los Angeles, a club that only holds between 450-600 people, was meant to be the very last Nine Inch Nails concert for the foreseeable future due to Trent Reznor's previously announced plans to take a long break from touring. This from a guy who has spent the better part of the last 20 years either on the road around the world or holed up in a recording studio religiously tweaking every disparate bleep and scream that he could generate through his mountain of music gear. By this point, I don't blame the guy one bit. Presumably, he's seen friends and family settle down, start families and do all the things 'normal' people do while he's toiled away -- all to the benefit of us! He's put his life on hold to focus on the music that's hopefully meant so much to him, and that's also affected his fans possibly so much more. Lucky for me though, I've been fortunate enough to catch NIN play about 20 times over the past 15 or so years. For a few reviews of their more recent shows, click here.
Anyway, back to the Echoplex gig... Unfortunately, I wasn't able to buy tickets for this show when they went on sale. I got tickets to the show scheduled the night before at the Wiltern Theater -- a venue that holds about 2200 people -- but no dice for the Echoplex. And if you read my previous review of the LA Philharmonic concert, you would have already known that Trent came down with the flu a few days before the Wiltern show and was forced to cancel and reschedule the show. Suddenly, the Echoplex show was no longer the last Nine Inch Nails show ever. And as luck would have it, I suddenly found myself holding a ticket to the 'new' very last show! I just needed to arrange my travel plans and get back down to LA from the Bay Area!
Not to get off-topic, but forget about the Federal stimulus proposals and California budget crisis that have each been focused on so much over the past several months in the news, the state of California should issue a personal note of thanks for Trent unintentionally coming down with the flu and rescheduling his shows. The NIN forums are filled with fans making additional arrangements so they can either extend their LA-stay or travel back to LA for the two shows that were canceled and rescheduled (ie. the Henry Fonda and Wiltern Theaters on 9/8 and 9/10, respectively.) Obviously, I fall into that camp as well. That's not meant to come across as a complaint either. Sure, it's a little inconvenient, but luckily, my personal and professional situation at the moment allows for the travel flexibility. And considering I've been listening to NIN since the 1991 Lollapalooza tour and remember staying up late to watch and hope for 'Down In It' to be played on Dave Kendall's 120 Minutes on MTV, there wasn't any chance I was going to pass this up! For those of you who don't remember 120 Minutes either, the show was on at something like Midnight to 2am on Sunday nights. It was cool in that it played videos from all the alternative bands at the time when hair-metal was the only thing shown during the day alongside Boyz II Men and New Kids On the Block videos. The thing that sucked about it, was that the show would play one, or maybe two, industrial videos during the entire 2-hour block. So at the time, you'd be lucky to catch a NIN video, or Front 242, or KMFDM, or Ministry... But generally only one of the above during any given show. And this was pre-internet days, so you couldn't pull up YouTube for your fix either. I'm rambling again, sorry...
The Echoplex, where was I?
So because I was already in LA for the now canceled Wiltern show, I decided to take a leap of faith and swing by the Echoplex on the afternoon of the show. I kept my expectations low that I would be lucky enough to get a ticket, and indeed I did! By 3.30 or 4pm in the afternoon, there was already a line of at least a few hundred people outside the venue. And it may be hard to describe here, but there are actually two entrances to the Echo/Echoplex. The upstairs 'The Echo' has an entrance on Sunset and is more of a dance club, whereas the entrance downstairs on Glendale ave is to the Echoplex concert venue/club. The line of people were stretched out on Glendale ave, and what I found is that the VIP/Guestlist entrance was up on the Sunset entrance... And when I arrived, there were only a handful of people at this entrance, so I figured my chances of somehow getting in the door were exponentially higher outside this door instead of fighting the crowds down below.
So I waited with a few other pretty cool people, none of which had tickets either, but we were all hoping for a miracle. As the clock got closer to when the doors were supposed to open, more people started to show up to the Sunset entrance. Rumors from down below mentioned that extra tickets were going to be released for sale sometime soon -- at the box office, which was conveniently located at the entrance I had been parked at.
As it turns out, the bouncers organized the others who were without tickets from down below and led them upstairs to form a single file line now at exactly where i was standing. Chaos ensued, one bouncer told me to stay where I was and another was saying that I should go back to the end of the line. Within a matter of seconds, I realized that the crowd had been given wristbands downstairs and I didn't have one, so I decided to head back towards the end of the line and try and blend in with the others. As again luck would have it, a group of 3 behind me were in a frenzy over what they were going to do. It turns out that one of them had a pair of tickets, but she couldn't stay for the show and had to drive back to Sacramento (about 6 hours away) that night to get to work. The other pair of friends were going to try and buy tickets at the box office, or go drinking if they couldn't get in. To make things easier for them, I offered to take her +1 ticket off her hands -- and she accepted! I'm not exactly even sure I understand how this all transpired, but all I knew is that I suddenly had a realistic chance to get into the show. The problem was then that we were in the wrong line. We needed to be back down in the Glendale ave line that was meant for ticket holders...
The two of us, jumped out of the line on Sunset and headed down to Glendale ave and got into the back of a line that was still a couple hundred deep, but was starting to move as people were starting to stream inside.
About 15 minutes later, we made it to the front of the line where she handed over her ID and BAM!!, the tickets were handed over and I had my way in the door.
The club itself is designed in a way where the entrance has you come from behind the right side of the stage and into an opening directly in front of the stage that would comfortably fit about 200 or so people. About 20 feet back from the stage, the ceiling drops from about 30' high, to about 9' high and the room extends further back towards a bar along the back wall of the venue -- maybe another 50-60 feet back from the 'front' room. For those who ventured back into this 'back' room, they couldn't have had the best sound or view considering there were numerous columns, a low ceiling and worst of all, the stage only seemed to be raised by about a foot or two from the floor. Considering the options, I chose to stay towards the back of the 'front' room and over towards the side, near a column and the merch table which was only a few feet behind me.
The opening band (HEALTH) was rocking out with their noise-rock tunes as I settled in next to the column, and to my surprise, standing right beside me was none other than Robin Finck, the guitarist for NIN. He was hanging out catching the show before having to take off to prepare for the main event that was coming up within a matter of minutes.
HEALTH (all-caps is how they spell their name) absolutely kicked ass. I can only describe them as a combination of NIN and Radiohead with more electronic chirps and noise added into the mix. The sheer energy coming from the band as they bounced all over the stage made me tired just watching them. If I wasn't already catching the Thursday night NIN show in LA, I'd definitely head to SF to see these guys play at the Bottom of the Hill. To my SF readers, don't miss these guys tomorrow night! For everyone else, be sure to check out their tour schedule as they're just kicking off what looks to be a national tour! Shortly after Robin left to head backstage, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, the NIN bassist, walked right behind me. I turned and said 'you rock' as he gave me a big smile and said a sincere thanks before heading backstage as well.
Shortly thereafter, HEALTH wrapped up their set and the roadies came out to quickly clear the stage for the NIN equipment. As we waited, a group of cameramen started to stake out claims throughout the venue. One guy chose to take his life in his hands by parking himself right in the middle of the pit, just about 10 feet away from the dead center of the stage. Another happened to set-up shop right next to me. And after a few minutes, we struck up a conversation about his impressive camera, which I believe was a Sony HVRZ5U -- certainly orders of magnitude better than my whimpy Sony Cybershot! It turns out that for the Echoplex show, there were no less than 11 professional HD cameras recording the show. Stay tuned for what I'm assuming will be one of Trent and Rob Sheridan's next projects -- either putting together a live DVD compilation of the last 'Wave Goodbye' shows from NYC, Chicago and LA; or releasing all the raw HD footage online for the fans to piece together on their own as they're doing now with the last "Lights In the Sky Tour" and the "This One's On Us" DVD project.
For a glimpse of the fan-created 'Another Version of the Truth' DVD, check out the trailer below -- all edited and sync'ed by the nin community using HD footage that was released by the band as a free download. Pretty cool stuff.
Finally, the time was near. It was getting close to 9.20pm and the crowd was starting to get restless. At last, the band took to the stage and launched into "Somewhat Damaged":
They continued through what turned out to be a 28-song setlist that I've included below. Now I could go on and say that it was a mind-blowing set and that it was the best show ever, but I'd be lying. It was definitely a great show, don't get me wrong. But this was also the first one back after Trent was sick a few days earlier and it showed. Although his voice started off strong, it seemed to deteriorate as the night went on. There were also a number of mistakes made that just seemed clumsy compared to previous shows. They were definitely not on their A-game that night, but neither was the crowd, and maybe that perpetuated the mistakes by the band?!? By comparison, I was lucky enough to attend the Bowery Ballroom concert, which was a similar sized venue, in NYC a couple of weeks ago and the major difference between the two shows had to be the crowd (and the heat). The Bowery show was just intense and it seemed that the entire crowd sang, shouted and punched the air throughout the entire show. Whereas, the Echoplex crowd seemed sedated. Maybe it was the fact that we all knew that the end was near? Maybe it had to do with the fact that at least 50 people slept outside on the sidewalk the night before to secure their spot against the front of the stage? And as the show wore on, the heat in the building continued to rise. Guys were streaming out of the pit, just soaked in sweat. It reminded me of the days when I was 17 trying to survive in the pit as I was getting crushed by the crowd inching and clawing towards the stage... Now that I'm a bit older, I'm happy staying on the sidelines and taking in the show from a bit further back.
Overall, I'd say the climax of the show hit when Trent introduced one of his early influences, Gary Numan, out to the stage to perform "Metal" with the band. "I Die; You Die" immediately followed, which was another Gary Numan original. After that, Trent reclaimed the mic and launched into yet another cover, Adam Ant's "Physical".
Here's my video of "Metal" with Gary Numan:
As I re-read what I've written above, I want to stress that the show was still fantastic. It was great to have the opportunity to see these guys in such a small intimate space like the Echoplex. But overall, it fell short of the Bowery Ballroom show, and even the NIN.com fan-only show at the Key Club in Cabazon, CA a few years ago. At both those shows the band seemed to feed off the energy from the crowd, and unfortunately, the Echoplex crowd just wasn't in a giving mood the other night.
Considering I'm a little behind in posting this review, NIN just played their rescheduled Henry Fonda show last night (9/8) and from what I've read, the Fonda show was truly spectacular. Let's hope that tomorrow night (9/10) proves to be a similar night for the rescheduled Wiltern Theater show -- the 'new' last show of the tour! I'll be there and hope to have a review up soon after, so stay tuned.
As I mentioned above, here's the setlist with links to a few of the other videos I shot. Thanks to the NIN forums for the setlist!
"The Beginning Of The End"
"March Of The Pigs"
"Something I Can Never Have"
"The Big Come Down"
"The Way Out Is Through"
"Down In It"
"Metal" (Featuring Gary Numan)
"I Die: You Die" (Featuring Gary Numan)
"Physical (You're So)" (Adam Ant cover)
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Head Like A Hole"
"Atmosphere" (Joy Division cover they screwed up in the beginning and then skipped over to start Dead Souls instead.)
"Dead Souls" (A Joy Division cover)
I hope you don't mind a few non-Bay Area concert reviews here. I've got a few travel plans in the near future, but unfortunately, none include any live music. So for the time being, the recent NYC NIN show, and these new posts will be it.
I'll start by saying that the labor day weekend was meant to be a fun trip down to L.A. to see the Nine Inch Nails show at the Wiltern Theater on Saturday night. NIN were scheduled to play two shows over the weekend, their very last two shows for the foreseeable future. Of the two, I was only lucky enough to get tickets to the Wiltern and not the smaller and more exclusive club-show at the Echoplex on Sunday. However, only a few days before the show, Trent Reznor came down with the flu and was forced to cancel both the Henry Fonda and Wiltern shows. With my hotel already booked, I decided to drive down to LA anyway and make the most of a disappointing situation.
As you'll see, I wasn't the only one disappointed with the cancellation:
As fate would have it, I was about to find myself in (at least what I consider to be) a very lucky situation! As I arrived at the hotel, I realized that I was only a few blocks away from the famous Hollywood Bowl, and quickly looked to see if anyone was performing that night. Get this! Probably the greatest movie-music composer *ever* was guest-conducting the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra that night and performing a selection of songs from the movies! I called the box office to get ticket info and found that there were only a limited supply of tickets left -- and only singles! Lucky again, because my wife wasn't able to make the trip with me, and so I only needed one ticket!
So besides my love of NIN, people who know me also know that I'm a pretty big Star Wars fan, Indiana Jones, E.T., Superman, Jaws... Basically, any major Steven Spielberg or George Lucas movie -- and I'm pretty sure they've all been scored by John Williams!
I made the walk up to the Hollywood Bowl from the Renaissance Hotel and got a ticket towards the middle of the bowl -- pretty much dead center of the amphitheater... And I waited... And waited...
The box office warned me to get there early to ensure that I was able to get one of the last single seats they had left, which for me was about 2 hours early. So I hung out at my seat and read a few magazines that I brought with me -- and took in the atmosphere. For those of you in the Bay Area, the Hollywood Bowl is most like the Shoreline Amphitheater. The Bowl holds about 20,000 -- whereas the Shoreline holds 22,000. The main difference between the two (besides the stage) is that the Bowl is completely seated. I'm guessing Shoreline is able to fit the extra numbers into the large lawn area up above the seated section. At the Bowl, it's all seated, or I should say 'benched' -- with the exclusion of the lower/closer sections, the remaining seats are just long wooden benches. Not the most comfortable seats, but for $.75, you can get a padded cushion for your rear.
As 8.30pm closed-in, I could see various performers take the stage, and at just about 8.35pm, Mr. Williams was introduced to the crowd. Upon taking his center podium, he welcomed us to the Bowl and then introduced Lynn Redgrave who participated in the first half of the show as the narrator and paid tribute to the Harry Potter series of movies.
The second half of the show started with a medley of probably about 30 movie themes all pieced together and synced to a video of the corresponding movie clips. After which John talked about his endless collaboration with Steven Spielberg and the music he composed for the movie "Catch Me If You Can". Here's a clip:
The highlight of the second set came with the closing performance of the Superman theme song. Before starting the song, Williams spoke of how the performance was a tribute to all superheroes, and focused on Superman and Batman. The corresponding video footage that was played during the song mostly focused on clips from the various Superman movies, but also included clips from the Batman movies -- although the performance was incredible, the Batman footage made me kept wondering why they were including it. The music is clearly so attached to Superman, that it just didn't make sense to me why they were trying to include Batman too. If you know, leave me a comment below!
Finally, the encore! This is what the majority of the crowd was waiting for! John returned to the stage and quickly launched into "Yoda's Theme". As you can see from the footage below, a good number of audience members quickly lit-up their Light Sabers and conducted along with Williams.
Then came a few other recognizable theme songs before ending with the "Imperial March"! Williams and co. received a standing ovation for over 2 minutes! Just amazing...
What a night and a fine replacement for the canceled Nine Inch Nails show at the Wiltern! I could have done with less Harry Potter, but I'm not going to complain! For those of you interested, here's the description of the show from the official program. (3MB PDF)
Check back soon and I'll have another lucky story related to the concert I saw on Sunday night!