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Josh Groban and the LA Philharmonic 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular Review - Music, Food, Fireworks a True American Celebration

By Maria Densley

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It was my first time to attend a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. I didn't know what to expect. There were thousands of people all trying to get in with their blankets and picnics.  The people were patiently waiting to get in and have security check their bags.  It almost felt like I was going to a baseball game.  We made our way to the West gate entrance. We picked up our ticket, went through security and made our way to our box.

Many people were already there enjoying conversations and food.  We enjoyed our picnic of chicken, mashed potatoes, cheese and crackers, smoked pheasant, chocolate, tangerines, and Just Chill drinks.  Soon the LA Philharmonic came on stage, followed by guest conductor, Sarah Hicks.

Photo courtesy of William Reinert Associates

We all stood as the orchestra played the "Star Spangled Banner" to open the nights festivities. I along with most of the crowd sang along to the beautiful melody. As we sat back down music from the past began to play. In celebration of our countries 237th birthday the concert hosted a variety of classic Americana songs.

Just before intermission the LA Philharmonic performed the songs to salute the Armed Forces. As each song began, Sarah Hicks called out the branch of service men & women that called it theirs.  The veterans of each branch stood as the crowd recognized them with applause thanking them for their service.  Many veterans were in the crowd that night. it was neat to see them spread out throughout the stadium.

Intermission came and went with the stretching of our legs. The crowd stood and chatted as we all waited for the second half of the concert where Josh Groban would sing and fireworks would follow.

Photo courtesy of Olaf Heine

The crowd loudly cheered as Josh Groban came out on the stage. It was the first time I'd heard him live, and it was fantastic that he sounds just as good live as he does on his recordings.  Some artists don't sound quite the same, as I have noticed, my ear being trained from growing up in a musical family to hear the slight differences that many can't recognize.  No ones perfect, but I have no complaints from the performance given.

My brother is also a fan of Josh Groban, and since he couldn't be at the concert because he was in Washington, I decided to call him on one of my favorite songs, "February Song." I hoped he would be able to hear some of the concert alright.  On this song Josh Groban plays the piano and sings at the same time, a talent that few have, but I would say most girls would swoon over any guy who could play and sing as effortlessly as Josh Groban did.

Cuban jazz trumpeter, Arturo Sandoval, joined Josh Groban for two number, "Un Alma Mas", and "Broken Vow," which was phenomenal! There's something special about a beautiful trumpet sound, it could be that I have a soft spot for it as I played the trumpet and was always trying for the perfect sound, but it moves me.  "Broken Vow" was full of emotion and I believe it was before this song that Josh Groban had the crowd laughing.  He was giving an introduction when he said something along these lines," I know most of you here are on a date because the 4th of July is a romantic holiday," the crowd laughed, "What? Patriotism is sexy!" the crowd continued to laugh, "but this next song is a break-up song." Break-up song or not josh Groban and Arturo Sandoval are an amazing musical pair.

Photo courtesy of the LA Philharmonic

Josh Groban got the crowd moving showcasing his amazing musical team and his skills on percussion during "Voce." He was later joined by the Tribe of Judah for "I Believe," which gave the song a nice gospel feel. What Josh Groban concert would be complete without "You Raise Me Up," during which he had the crowd sing along.  He gave us one last encore before the fireworks singing "Smile."

The LA Philharmonic than took full control of the stage as they performed John Philip Sousa songs, "The Washington Post," "Semper Fidelis," and "The Stars and Stripes." Along with the classic Americana music was an incredible display of pyrotechnics by Souza. They lit up the night sky behind and above the Hollywood Bowl. Although I attended the concert on the 3rd of July it felt like a true 4th of July celebration!

I can't wait for my next Hollywood Bowl experience. Visit the Hollywood Bowl website to purchase tickets, and learn more about their upcoming concerts.

Published on Jul 10, 2013

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