Benatar Hits Starlight Bowl Crowd With ‘Best Shot’

There is a coming-of-age milestone that is hit when, as a young teenager, one attends their first rock concert. It’s a rite of passage, one that Darin Wolf made in 1981 while a 14-year-old kid in junior high school going to see Pat Benatar.
“Going to see her is a memory I’ll never forget,” said Wolf, who today serves as a math teacher and coach at Burbank High School. “It was my first concert, and I’ve been a fan of hers ever since.”
Having had the opportunity of making many more memories by going to see Benatar play live on numerous occasions over the past four decades, Wolf chalked up yet another one this past week, as he attended her performance at Burbank’s Starlight Bowl. Continue reading “Benatar Hits Starlight Bowl Crowd With ‘Best Shot’”

Tribute Bands Help Return To Normalcy at Starlight Bowl

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Saturday’s Starlight Bowl audience spanned the generations, all who were thrilled to be out and having a good time.

This column limits me to a certain amount of words, both by the simple “real estate” of space on the page and my knowledge that you, dear reader, have a limit as to how much of your time you are willing to give me.

After spending last Saturday evening at the Starlight Bowl for the second time in this year’s series of summer concerts, I wondered just how, in the limited space I have, could I properly convey the sense of joy and excitement that permeated the amphitheater — by the audience, performers and even the staff who put on the shows. 

Continue reading “Tribute Bands Help Return To Normalcy at Starlight Bowl”

Making Memories at Starlight Bowl Summer Concerts

Photo by David Laurell / Burbank Leader
Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zapagain brought back memories from the 1960s and ’70s during Saturday’s Starlight Bowl season opener.

In the moment, a summer evening at Burbank’s hillside Starlight Bowl is one for family, friends and couples to enjoy a picnic dinner and a variety of live music performances. But moving past the moment, it is the thousands of memories that are made during each performance that is the true magic of the Starlight Bowl.  

In the wake of a missed season due to the pandemic, the bowl once again opened for its 2021 slate of concerts with the music of Led Zeppelin tribute band Led Zapagain last Saturday. It was an evening in which the alchemy of turning moments into memories pulsated as strongly as the opening riff of Zep’s “The Song Remains the Same.”   

Continue reading “Making Memories at Starlight Bowl Summer Concerts”

Family Promise ‘Rattles’ in Fundraiser at Starlight Bowl

Photos by David Laurell
Family Promise bestowed their 2021 Impact Award upon Charles “Chuck” Cusumano, who was joined by family members including his wife Tracy, and sister-in-law and brother Evelyn and Roger Cusumano.

This past week, Burbank’s Verdugo Mountains shook, rattled and rolled.
It wasn’t the type of shaking, rattling and rolling that had Burbakers dropping, covering, holding on, and then checking their phones for the epicenter and magnitude. Instead, it was the type that rocked the hills with the sound of music – specifically the music from the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.
While the Starlight Bowl has not hosted an evening of music since August of 2019 due to the pandemic, last week the city allowed the bowl’s parking lot to serve as the venue for a 1950s “drive-in” concert staged as a fundraiser for the Burbank-based Family Promise of the Verdugos, an organization committed to helping local homeless families achieve lasting independence.

Continue reading “Family Promise ‘Rattles’ in Fundraiser at Starlight Bowl”

Awaiting the Day When Starlight Makes Memories Anew

The Starlight Bowl’s audience in 2019.

By David Laurell
Special to the Burbank Leader

I believe memories are our most prized possessions, and while I have many fond ones of past Fourth of July parades, picnics, parties and pyrotechnic performances, nothing will ever beat my flashback to 2003, when I served as guest conductor of the Burbank Philharmonic Orchestra at the Starlight Bowl.
After going through an afternoon session of conducting for dummies taught by Philharmonic music director Steve Kerstein, I had the basics needed to get the musicians through John Philip Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”
That evening, Maestro Kerstein introduced me and turned over the leadership of his orchestra to a guy whose musical talents consist of being able to download what I enjoy listening to.
Moments later, as I signaled the orchestra to commence, I learned something only those who have had the opportunity to stand in front of 80 musicians as they are playing know: Your entire body becomes enveloped in vibrations and you experience the sound of each instrument in its purest form, in that you are behind the theater’s amplification system. Continue reading “Awaiting the Day When Starlight Makes Memories Anew”