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John Williams in San Francisco!!! September 16, 2013


Genius_Gone_Insane
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Just got back...the concert was great! I was seated Center Terrace behind the orchestra (where the choir would stand). We got a great view of the maestro (although during the video clips the screen covered the top of his head). I've only ever seen him conduct the LA Phil at the HOllywood Bowl, but I felt the performances were a lot stronger--faster tempos, less mistakes, better mix. Part of that is probably due to being inside a concert hall vs outdoors. Also the brass players (especially trumpets) were playing into their music stands, so the sound reflect off the stands and right onto us. I loved it--as a trombone player, I am more than happy with a brass-heavy performance. It was surreal to see Spielberg so close and hear him talk in person.

The program was the same one listed online, except for the addition of Jaws Theme right after intermisison and, for encores, With Malie Towards None (retooled concert version) and Raiders March. The only weird programming decision was playing Hedwig's Theme and then directly after "Nimbus 2000" from the Chidlren's Suite. The former features the Nimbus theme extensively, so hearing its concert version directly after was a little odd. As a brass player I would've loved to hear "Quidditch" instead of Nimbus, and it would have solved weird programming decision.

My favorite was probably Far and Away, since I've never heard it live before (it was not the violin solo version available on Greatest Hits). I also don't think I've ever heard the suite--it was all very familiar, I think it was just the first track of the OST plus the End Credits. War Horse was beautiful as always, with great flute solos. Indy's First Adventure was really fun--I'm glad they did the entire scene, instead of cutting it off midway like they did on the LC OST. There were also a few new bars (besides the slightly tweaked ending) when Indy falls into the lion's train car. E.T. was also fantastic. Really they all were, it's not even worth listing my favorites because sooner or later I will list them all. Violin soloist was beautiful on Schindler's List.

The audience reaction seemed to be more enthusiastic than at the Bowl--again, that's probably mostly due to being indoors versus outdoors. While I was fully expected laughter during the first few notes of Jaws, the enthusiasm and strength of it surprised me, so much that I started laughing too. Spielberg said "We're definitely coming back to SF!" during one of the many standing ovations we gave--I wonder if he says that at every gig. I hope not, because I would love to do this again. Overall it was a fantastic performance and a really really fun night.

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Must have been a great show. How did maestro look health and stamina wise? Any new stories/anecdotes from them or hints of possible future collaborations? What did Spielberg mostly do?

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He looked great. A bit bored during some of the standard repertoire (ie Raiders March, Star Wars), but that's to be expected given how often he's conducted them. I didn't notice anything to indicate weariness or fatigue really. There were no hints about future events--he never mentioned Star Wars 7, Book Thief, or Conversations, which was a bit disappointing. Spielberg just said some standard nice stuff about JW and then introduced all the pieces in the second half. Then he posed for some photos with JW during the applause.

I thought you were going, Karelm?

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I gave my tickets to my brother and sister because they had never seen JW and I've seen him about ten times - so I didn't attend. They loved it and are not big JW fans so its nice to have new converts. Their review: "Thanks for the concert! It was fantastic! John Williams is true genius!" Of course I need more details. Did they say what JW thought of Schindler's List and why Spielberg didn't seek another composer?

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This is the first John Williams concert I've ever seen and my whole family loved it. Of course, Spielberg's appearance added immensely to the experience, but watching Williams conduct his crowd-pleasers made for a truly awesome concert. It was an emotional moment for me to hearing the E.T. score being played (since I first fell in love with the music at age 15), and realizing that the film was now 30 years old and here I am with two 8-year old kids seeing it performed live. The JAWS theme was a lot of fun and ending the concert with the RAIDERS march was worth the price of admission alone. A great time was had by all.

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There were two moments from last night that I will certainly never forget:

1. Watching John Williams quietly, privately, and casually chat with Steven Spielberg as the audience watched the scoreless version of Indy's First Adventure.
2. Watching John Williams conduct ET with Steven Spielberg sitting down next to him.

Both instances were absolutely surreal. You would have to have been there to understand. Watching these two great artists together...I just do not have words that can describe it. The whole thing felt like a dream. We were about 20 feet away from them and I think that was the most starstruck I have ever been.

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Great reviews!! Was Spielberg introduced or did he just walk on? I am, of course, wondering what they were talking about during the quiet exchanges. Next time take a lip reader with you. I have to hope the fatigue was simply due to busy schedule rather than any health. I just hope he doesn't talk himself out of any already committed gigs!

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Great reviews!! Was Spielberg introduced or did he just walk on? I am, of course, wondering what they were talking about during the quiet exchanges. Next time take a lip reader with you. I have to hope the fatigue was simply due to busy schedule rather than any health. I just hope he doesn't talk himself out of any already committed gigs!

Michael Tilson Thomas introduced John Williams to start the concert, and then Williams introduced Spielberg after Jaws.

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Hi folks, first time poster. I just wanted to join the comments on how magical this evening was. I was in the front row, off center to the left, about ten feet from Mr. Spielberg. What a challenge deciding whether to watch Mr. Williams conduct, watch Mr. Spielberg listen to the music, or to merely lose myself in the music. I did all three, of course, constantly shifting between the three. Some highlights for me were Far and Away, War Horse, and Jaws of course. Watching Mr. Williams's expressions as he conducted with such an authoritive attention to detail, at times reaching out to various sections of the orchestra, gesturing for them to dig deep into a particular passage, was magic. Also, watching Mr. Spielberg's expression as he nodded to himself during the soft notes toward the end of Close Encounters, or how it looked like he was stabbed in the heart during the high note during the violin solo toward the end of Schindler's List, or actually making eye contact with Mr. Spielberg and exchanging goofy enthusiastic grins during The Raiders March...all incredible moments. Then, to cap it off, I confess that when they were walking off stage I couldn't help but call out "Thank you!" when they were three feet away, at which point Mr. Spielberg turned and said "Thank YOU." An unforgettable evening in so many regards. Anyway, thanks for letting me gush and blab. I recorded the whole thing on audio and it turned out pretty well, but I'm not sure I can post the whole thing to Youtube. Any ideas? Here are a few pictures I took as well...



"I would be nothing without this man." - Spielberg on Williams



The one of them smiling at the lectern is when Spielberg pronounced, "We're definitely coming back to San Francisco!"



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One thing I forgot to mention was during the laughter in the beginning of Jaws, JW turned around and actually laughed with the audience for a couple of seconds. Even he seemed a bit surprised at the intensity of the laughter.

Then, to cap it off, I confess that when they were walking off stage I couldn't help but call out "Thank you!" when they were three feet away, at which point Mr. Spielberg turned and said "Thank YOU."

That is awesome!

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Hi folks, first time poster. I just wanted to join the comments on how magical this evening was. I was in the front row, off center to the left, about ten feet from Mr. Spielberg. What a challenge deciding whether to watch Mr. Williams conduct, watch Mr. Spielberg listen to the music, or to merely lose myself in the music. I did all three, of course, constantly shifting between the three. Some highlights for me were Far and Away, War Horse, and Jaws of course. Watching Mr. Williams's expressions as he conducted with such an authoritive attention to detail, at times reaching out to various sections of the orchestra, gesturing for them to dig deep into a particular passage, was magic. Also, watching Mr. Spielberg's expression as he nodded to himself during the soft notes toward the end of Close Encounters, or how it looked like he was stabbed in the heart during the high note during the violin solo toward the end of Schindler's List, or actually making eye contact with Mr. Spielberg and exchanging goofy enthusiastic grins during The Raiders March...all incredible moments. Then, to cap it off, I confess that when they were walking off stage I couldn't help but call out "Thank you!" when they were three feet away, at which point Mr. Spielberg turned and said "Thank YOU." An unforgettable evening in so many regards. Anyway, thanks for letting me gush and blab. I recorded the whole thing on audio and it turned out pretty well, but I'm not sure I can post the whole thing to Youtube. Any ideas? Here are a few pictures I took as well...

"I would be nothing without this man." - Spielberg on Williams

The one of them smiling at the lectern is when Spielberg pronounced, "We're definitely coming back to San Francisco!"

Welcome and FANTASTIC!! It must have been anazing to experience such talent up close.

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Thank you all for your enthusiastic reports, experiences and photos! It must have been a magical night indeed! :)

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This was a really wonderful evening. I was giddy the entire time, and was basically bobbing and weaving in time to the music, conducting my own shoes. I might as well have closed my eyes, since I was mostly staring at the back of Maestro's head. I tried to make a point of finding individual soloists, and scanning the orchestra with my binoculars that i had brought. My enthusiasm for the evening was tempered only by the bitter taste left in my mouth after my wife and I had our bicycles stolen while attending the California Academy of Sciences earlier in the day. It definitely put a damper on the evening, unfortunately.

I agree that the woodwind arrangement for Nimbus 2000 was...odd. I really didn't care for it. Additionally, I thought the E.T. Adventures on Earth was underwhelming; it seemed that the orchestra just couldn't get into it. Maybe that was just me. Barantschik, the soloist for Schindler's List was very good, I thought. Very passionate.

I, for one, thought that Maestro's path to the stage could have been a little wider - it looked like he had little more than his own foot's width of the stage to navigate from the entryway to the podium. A bit dicey for an 81-year old man, to be sure!

All in all, though, a marvelous show. The entire crowd was very much into the presentation, and thunderous applause marked 4 separate standing ovations, by my count. Truly a night to remember.

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I am, of course, wondering what they were talking about during the quiet exchanges. Next time take a lip reader with you.

There is a chance Steven and the Maestro may have been talking about George Lucas. The reason I say this is that they whispered something between them and I remember Steven shrugging as is to say "I don't know". Then a short pause and then they both kind of looked out over the crowd, squinting their eyes. The first thing that occurred to me was that they were looking for George Lucas. Of course it is possible they were looking for someone else. I looked around a bit during the performance and did not see the Maker anywhere. Perhaps he was backstage. Good thing too. I might have passed out had George hopped on stage.

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I am, of course, wondering what they were talking about during the quiet exchanges. Next time take a lip reader with you.

There is a chance Steven and the Maestro may have been talking about George Lucas. The reason I say this is that they whispered something between them and I remember Steven shrugging as is to say "I don't know". Then a short pause and then they both kind of looked out over the crowd, squinting their eyes. The first thing that occurred to me was that they were looking for George Lucas. Of course it is possible they were looking for someone else. I looked around a bit during the performance and did not see the Maker anywhere. Perhaps he was backstage. Good thing too. I might have passed out had George hopped on stage.

Based on this photo linked from the main page it looks like Lucas was actually there.

https://twitter.com/SFSymphony/status/380038023087267841/photo/1

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Great reporting :)

As much as I get constantly tired of Spielberg's praising of Williams, it remains that he's one of very few film-makers these days who genuinely, 100% appreciates the composer's work.

I would say that it is a pretty lousy host or indeed a friend who comes to host a concert and keeps telling how much the composer sucks. :P

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As much as I get constantly tired of Spielberg's praising of Williams, it remains that he's one of very few film-makers these days who genuinely, 100% appreciates the composer's work.

Yes!

*Sniff* yes... :crymore:

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Hi Guys!

Me and my girlfriend loves John Williams (and Mr. Spielberg...and Mr.Lucas of course :)..too bad he didn´t show up onstage since he was there backstage. We flew all the way from Sweden to see this concert and it was all worth it :) what is a 14 hour flight (one way) when you get to listen to the soundtrack of your childhood and seeing the great Mr. Spielberg keeping the rhythm with his hand on his lap to the Indiana Jones theme? Priceless. Great concert, great audience, and just an absolutely wonderful memory. Thank you all for that evening!

Robert & Sophia

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Hi Guys!

Me and my girlfriend loves John Williams (and Mr. Spielberg...and Mr.Lucas of course :)..too bad he didn´t show up onstage since he was there backstage. We flew all the way from Sweden to see this concert and it was all worth it :) what is a 14 hour flight (one way) when you get to listen to the soundtrack of your childhood and seeing the great Mr. Spielberg keeping the rhythm with his hand on his lap to the Indiana Jones theme? Priceless. Great concert, great audience, and just an absolutely wonderful memory. Thank you all for that evening!

Robert & Sophia

Welcome to this site! You flew 14 hours for the JW concert? Most...impressive. Do tell us you and GF's feedback on the concert since a lot of us missed it. Someone in the bay area - buy this dedicated fan a beer.

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