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The Hollywood Bowl

What do you think of when you hear The Beatles, Elton John, Bette Midler, Depeche Mode, Placido Domingo, The Doors, John Williams, Luciano Pavarotti, Phil Collins and Phish?  Besides being fantastic musicians that span different genres, they all have one thing in common – they have all performed at The Hollywood Bowl. A truly magical place, where watching your favorite concert in a massive open air amphitheater is truly an experience not to be missed.

A historical landmark in Los Angeles, The Hollywood bowl was built in the early 1920’s and officially opened in 1922.  The site, originally known as the Daisy Dell, was chosen in 1919 by members of The Theatre Arts Alliance who needed a location for outdoor performances during the summer season. They paid $47, 500 (equivalent to $670, 898. 63 today… which for LA real estate, is a steal!) for the site. When it first opened, the stage had a simple awning over it and the seating was makeshift wooden benches, which is a very far cry from what concert goers experience today.  The first performance was by the LA Philharmonic and the cost of a ticket was just 25 cents.

And what of the famous Shell surrounding the stage at The Bowl? That was built for the 1926 season of The Hollywood Bowl. And although the shell was originally panned for its acoustic sound, it was improved upon for the 1927 season by none other than Lloyd Wright, son of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright. While his shell was eventually a success (and what some say was the best design acoustically), it did not survive the Winter and a new shell, inspired by Lloyd Wright’s design, was built in 1929. Weighing approximately 55 tons and mounted on rails, the shell could be pulled back to show more of the natural outdoor ambiance.

Today, The Bowl is still the largest natural amphitheater in the US and has seen some amazing performances including the 1936 performance of Lily Pons (the largest concert in the Bowls history), Frank Sinatra’s performance with the LA Philharmonic which was the first time a pop star performed with them, the recording of The Beatles concerts in 1964 + 1965 that resulted in the live album “Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl”  released in 1977 and The Doors “Dream Concert.” In addition, The Hollywood Bowl is part of cinematic history as a setting for scenes in Beaches, Some Kind of Wonderful and A Star is Born.

So sit back, bring a picnic and enjoy everything about The Hollywood Bowl and Los Angeles. Bring LA Insider Tours along… we’d love to show you around!