Tonight was a first – I took the subway in Los Angeles. Now some of you might be wondering why the hell anyone would build an underground mass transportation system in a geologically unstable area? Well, so did I (and Anne Heche, in Volcano). But nonetheless, there I was, venturing deep into the earth beneath Universal City. Well, the 101 Freeway. My friend John and I paid our $1.35, walked through the turnstiles, and entered the station. Wait. Scratch that – there were no turnstiles. In fact, aside from some bored looking cops hanging out and chatting with each other (and not really watching anyone in particular), there was nothing to prevent you from walking into the station, hopping on a train, and going for a ride. It’s the honor system, I’m told. If you get asked for your ticket (by whom, I wonder?) and don’t have one, then you have to pay a $230+ fine. So, the $1.35 is like a donation, I guess. Either way, it seems like a method of complete ridiculousness that would only have come to fruition in a place like Los Angeles.
Anyways. So we got out at Hollywood and Highland, got our food from Subway, then walked over to the Hollywood Bowl. The concert itself was rather entertaining. “Ride of the Valkyries” by Wagner, followed by “Jupiter” from “The Planets” by Holst, then a suite of four movements from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by Williams rounded out the first half. But it was the second half that was the highlight of the evening. It was the world premiere performance of a new 45-minute suite that Howard Shore wrote based on his 3-hour score to Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. It was big, dramatic, exciting, and wholely satisfying. Yes, there was a 80-person choir to supplement the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, and conductor John Mauceri did a splendid job. What a fun evening, indeed!