San Francisco Symphony

“Rock this bitch!” Ben Folds had just finished his second song in the set after the intermission, when an audience member screamed out from the balcony, “Already?  We just started!” Ben Folds turned around to face his backing band for the evening, the venerable San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and said, “I should probably explain this.” In Chicago, years ago, at a live show, a fan screamed this out and Ben Folds wrote a song on the spot. Now, “Rock This Bitch” is a Folds tradition. He plunked out a concept, muttering something about jazz to himself, and then gave each section of the orchestra a different assigned part. With about three minutes of preparation, Folds had a melody composed, and assigned parts to sections of the orchestra. The cellos, violas, violins, bassoons, and percussionists all had their own parts to play, over which Folds improvised a jazz melody and lyrics that were part pontifications about rocking this bitch, part lyrics to the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, all backed by a world class orchestra.

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Sports!

Sports!

Do you know what today is? You do. It’s July 5. That means that here in the Bay Area, it’s Huey Lewis’s birthday.

Speaking of the heart of rock and roll, let’s talk about this week’s concerts. Here’s what we’ve got coming up this week in the Bay Area: symphonies, troopers, and remembrances.

So, we’ll preview this now. Previewing now. Let’s preview and go ahead and preview. Preview go!

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A lovely night with Williams’s score, Ford’s performance, iconic scenes… there are no bad dates here!

Face melting, Nazi punching fun!

Raiders of the Lost Ark is the quintessential action-adventure film. One could confidently claim that it is the greatest action-adventure film of all time! There is nothing about Steven Spielberg’s 1981 classic that isn’t famous — the giant boulder, the snakes, the hat & whip, every single line of dialogue, Marion’s alcohol tolerance, the airfield fist fight, the melting faces, poisoned dates, and so on. Yet, one component of the film is arguably more iconic than all the rest: John Williams’s score. The awe-inspiring, galloping main theme that nearly all humans can identify is a benchmark against which all other adventure film music is compared, and it is the basis for which this amazing night at the San Francisco Symphony exists!

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Carl Brutananadilewski of Aqua Teen Hunger Force demonstrating the abilities of The Foreigner Belt. (Got burned a bit by his tanning bed earlier.)

Carl Brutananadilewski of Aqua Teen Hunger Force demonstrating the abilities of The Foreigner Belt. (Got burned a bit by his tanning bed earlier.)

July Fourth, 2016! Wooooo! Yeah! Our country is still here! Let’s celebrate!

If you’d like to add to your celebrations this week in The Bay Area with a concert, I’ll tell you what we’ve got coming up: caricatures, drugs, dogs, and culture that you don’t have to pay for.

So, let’s preview. Time to preview. It’s time to preview now and now here are the previews.

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All the music. All the magic. All the feels.

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I haven’t seen E.T. in twenty years, but by the time the credits rolled I had teary eyes and the theme song wonderfully repeating itself in my head. My girlfriend sitting next to me exclaimed, “my track record of crying every time I see E.T. is still intact”. That’s the power of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, and there really was no better way to watch the film than with live orchestral accompaniment at the San Francisco Symphony.

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PixarNight

The magic of Pixar Animation Studios has produced 13 films since it debuted its first feature in 1995 with Toy Story.  These films have consistently raised the bar for animated storytelling, and with such an impressive list of titles including the Toy Story series, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Finding Nemo, and more, it’s no surprise that one of the hardest questions to ask a movie lover is ‘what’s your favorite Pixar film?’  Part of the magical formula that contributes to the wide success of the studio are the film scores, composed by four incredible talents: Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Patrick Doyle, and (my personal favorite) Michael Giacchino.  The Pixar film scores have garnered 10 Oscar nominations and 1 win, not including original songs.  Last night, the San Francisco Symphony held the first night of its Pixar in Concert series, a fantastic musical evening featuring excerpts from each of the 14 Pixar titles accompanied by a montage of each film.

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Concert Review: Ben Folds and the San Francisco Symphony, 5/19/2014

May 20, 2014

There was a moment during “Steven’s Last Night in Town” when Ben Folds, letting the San Francisco Symphony do its thing, turned toward the audience, put his hands on his knees and flashed a huge smile. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen him, and who can blame him?  Here he was, on stage with […]

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Spinning Platters Weekly Guide to Bay Area Concerts, 5/15/14-5/21/14

May 15, 2014

Thursday, May 15th

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Show Review: ‘City Lights’ Film with Orchestra

April 14, 2014

On Saturday night, the San Francisco Symphony continued their fantastic film series with City Lights (1931), Charlie Chaplin’s timeless romantic comedy. Conducted by Richard Kaufman, the orchestra performed the entire film score in perfect sync with the film playing overhead.  The music, written by Chaplin, is a wonderful mix of joyous and romantic motifs that fit well […]

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Show Review: A Night at the Oscars with the SF Symphony

February 17, 2014

As God is my witness, I’ll never listen to film score the same way again! On Saturday, Feb. 15th, just two weeks before the 86th Academy Awards, the San Francisco Symphony hosted a night that celebrated a handful of iconic scenes from some of the very first, and most beloved, best musical score Oscar winners […]

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