5 Magical Concerts from the Hollywood Bowl

With a backdrop showcasing the Southern California Hollywood Hills, the Los Angeles outdoor amphitheater known as the Hollywood Bowl is one of the most picturesque places to see a concert in America.

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Along with the Gorge, Red Rocks and a few others, the place is perfect for chilling out under the sun and seeing a favorite band tear up the stage for an hour plus.

Known originally for its “bandshell,” or a semi-circle that stands behind the stage and offers a round, amplifying tone to whatever sounds are played by a band or performer, concertgoers can both hear excellent music and take selfies in front of the famed Hollywood sign to the northeast of the site.

The venue itself is carved into the concave hillside behind it. Hollywood Bowl provides the perfect backdrop for touring pop stars and the regular performances from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. The capacity of the place rivals nearby sports venues, with a cap of 17,500 attendees.

With all that in mind, we wanted to highlight some of the most magical performances at the venue. From the Doors to the Beatles to the Who and more, here are some of the best concerts from the Hollywood Bowl.

1. The Doors, 1968

On July 5, 1968, the Los Angeles-born psychedelic rock band The Doors took the Hollywood Bowl stage to perform for thousands of fans. The band performed 20 songs, including many hits like “Hello, I Love You,” “Light My Fire” and “The End.” Frontman Jim Morrison’s voice boomed out like the voice of God: What have they done to the Earth? What have they done to our fair sister? Morrison croons in the dark night. While the band itself was only around for about eight years (1965-1973) years, with Morrison dying on July 3, 1971, at 27, this time capsule is one to cherish from the Hollywood Bowl.

2. The Beatles, 1964

It’s hard to hear the band over the locust-like din of screaming fans, but one day in 1964, the Beatles performed at the Hollywood Bowl, playing songs like “Twist and Shout” and “All My Loving.” The concert, which you can see below, is some 21 minutes in black and white. But watching it, you can see the immense impact the Fab Four had on its fans.

3. The Who, 2022

From the sublime 60s to the modern 2020s, this concert features an iconic rock band that has aged along with its fans. Sure, it might not be the same now as it was to see the group rampage on stage and break instruments, but it’s also a rather interesting glimpse into a band that has grown up over the decades. Here, the iconic British-born band The Who, fronted by Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, performs songs like “Baba O’Riley,” backed by an orchestra. The band, of course, is without key members Keith Moon and John Entwistle, but time stops for no band.

4. Ben Harper, 2014

Ben Harper is compelling. He’s likely one of your favorite musician’s favorite musician. With a voice that cuts through the noise, the “Burn One Down” singer has grown up since his early pot-smoking days. He’s a full-fledged rockstar, as talented and innovative as any doing it these days. This concert at the Hollywood Bowl blends rock, reggae, folk, and poetry from a group led by Harper that brings the musical light, even on a dark night in Los Angeles.

5. Halsey, 2022

With live shows back after the pandemic, one of the world’s biggest pop stars got to the Hollywood Bowl to perform for thousands of fans. And Halsey didn’t disappoint. Big bright lights, even bigger pop tunes, a backing band—these components made for a performance to remember from one of the most celebrated outdoor venues. Halsey performed songs like “Killing Boys” and “Girl is a Gun” for their screaming fans. Check it out and rock out here blow.

Photo by David Redfern/Redferns

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