Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Sights and Sounds: 'Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton' live

John Mauceri conducts Hollywood Symphony during a selection
from 'Planet of the Apes' at Nov. 2, 2014 concert in Anaheim.
It had been more than 19 years since I had seen Danny Elfman in concert before I caught the legendary singer-songwriter/composer at Honda Center in Anaheim on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014.
Indeed, as hard as it is to believe, it was on Halloween night (Oct. 31, 1995) when I was fortunate to cover Oingo Boingo's final performance at Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles. That show, which if memory serves me well, ran an amazing 3 hours and 40 minutes, WITHOUT an intermission. It remains one of the most amazing rock shows I've ever attended.

Danny Elfman, lower left, singing selection from
'Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas' at
Honda Center on Nov. 2, 2014.
Fast forward nearly two decades to Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton that was being staged at the Honda Center (the final stop that included shows at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1).
The program itself was very impressive with conductor John Mauceri leading the Hollywood Symphony and Page L.A. Choir through a two-part program in musical selections from many of Burton's most classic films. From the fun and spirited selections from Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Mars Attacks to more romantic scores such as Big Fish, Planet of the Apes and Frankenweenie, it was a thrill to hear Elfman's film music performed live in front of a large audience that was eager to hear it. 
The highlight of the evening was the chance to see and hear Elfman in person. He performed the majority of songs from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas with a passion and zeal that befitted his engaging personality. Hearing his live performances of the wistful "Jack's Lament," jubilant "What's This?" and "Oogie Boogie Song" (the latter which he wrote but didn't sing in the film) was sheer joy. 

While Elfman will likely never reform the groundbreaking Oingo Boingo again, my suggestion is catch him next time he participates in a tribute to his film scores. That experience is a great one too.

Story and photo: Robert Kinsler

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