El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de los Angeles** The Village of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels — the beautiful old Spanish name which has long been shortened to LA.It was a lovely clear evening when we got to Hollywood last night — in the picture above you're looking across to the Hollywood Hills from the 101, the Hollywood Freeway. We're on our way to the Hollywood Bowl to see REM.
We'd left San Diego shortly after 3 pm and by the time we hit LA, it was well into peak hour, so the 101 was pretty slow.We took the Hollywood Boulevard exit, and drove west until we got to Highland Avenue. Hollywood Boulevard looked lovely in the soft light of the early evening, with jacarandas (they call them 'yacarandas' here!) flowering among the palm trees ... ... and lovely shadows across the Spanish-deco facades of the buildings, some of them a bit shabby and down at heel these days.The centre of Hollywood is a weird mix of extremes, with hints at the glamorous hard up against lots of the grotty and tacky. Here's another example: the cream building in the background, below, across the road from the star-map seller, on the corner of Hollywood and Highland, is the multi-storey shopping centre which houses the Kodak Theatre, home of the Oscars.While across Highland Avenue from this there's a strip of low-rent shops that looks like it's come straight off Scarborough Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn!Hollywood is also home of the really, really strange.A little way up Highland and parking starts for the Hollywood Bowl. The venue is the US's biggest concert amphiteatres and holds 19,000. As well as normal concert-type seating, and lawns right up the back, there are terrace after terrace of picnic boxes (we had one) where you sit on folding canvas chairs and an attendant brings you a table that clips on to the side of the box so you can eat your picnic dinner in style and comfort as the sun sets.
Or you can picnic near the carpark:Do I need to elaborate on the concert? Can't you just imagine how utterly wonderful REM was? That and more.
I wish I weren't such a goody-two-shoes. If I know a venue doesn't want you to take a camera in, I never do it. And yet there were flashes going off all around the Bowl last night, and loads of people taking pics.
Anyway, REM was supported by two wonderful bands that neither Dave nor I knew much about, but both were SO impressive. The better-known of these was Modest Mouse, a big beefy-sounding band from Washington State with a powerhouse lead singer backed by a very tight line-up which included two drummers and two bass players. Loved it.
But for me the very first band, The National, from New York, was even more impressive, as much for the fact that they had to start playing while everyone was filing into the Bowl, even before the sun had set. But they put on a great performance, with a densely rich and layered sound and a brilliant lead vocalist.
the show finished at about 10.45 and then we had the long drive home — but getting out of the Bowl among 19,000 people, and teh carpark, took almost as long as the drive did! We got home about 1.30 am. So tired ... byee!