Enough people boarded at 7th and Metro that myself, my girlfriend and her friend Sara had to stand but only for one stop when many of them exited at MacArthur Park. We cold shouldered a beggar and I stared at my phone while they bragged about getting vouchers from airlines.
Sara had recently added to her half-sleeve tattoo and drew wandering eyes from many passengers. She had spent an hour on the train coming from Long Beach so she stood while the two of us sat until the Hollywood and Highland exit on the red line.
We met up with Sara’s boyfriend before walking to the Hollywood Bowl to see Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers for a bluegrass, Fourth of July fiasco. We bought our tickets that day so we were in the second to highest section available. After riding two escalators we had arrived at section"T.“ The female usher, probably still a college student, held us from finding our seats until the music paused.
As we settled and unpacked the three bottles of wine we brought, I noticed the Hollywood sign perfectly positioned between the nook of one hill and cranny of another. For my first visit to the venue, I certainly felt like I was in Hollywood.
The show was structured such that between songs Steve Martin interviewed members of his band or shared self-centered but hilarious stories from being on the road. I was surprised to learn that Steve Martin has been playing the banjo for 50 years and, when he had a solo with no accompaniment about halfway through, he showcased his finger plucking skills. He also educated the audience on what a "murder ballad” is and so eloquently described story songs.
Being from Ohio, I grew up just across the border from the Bluegrass state and spent a decent amount of time there. Bluegrass was never my favorite style of music but I’ve always marveled at it so when my girlfriend found out that Sara was going, we both wanted to go.
I’m glad I did because the atmosphere was great and I got to hear the coolest violinist I’ve ever heard. Nicky Sanders was featured in the last song before the fireworks. His dexterity and style prompted my girlfriend to utter eight words that neither she nor I ever expected to hear her say, “He played the hell out of that fiddle.”
All I can say is listen to this video to get a taste of your own. You won’t regret it.
As if the music wasn’t value enough, there was a fireworks display at the end that featured “moving pyrotechnics” - as my girlfriend called the spinning, illuminated stars - as well as a surprise appearance by the Statue of Liberty.
After that, the band played a final, patriotic song called “Me and Paul Revere.” It was a creatively written song from the perspective of Paul Revere’s horse.
All in all, Steve Martin and co. put on a great show. I filed out of the Hollywood Bowl and back to the subway station where I started writing. All the while some new and randomly awesome lyrics were running through my head.
“Me and Paul Revere. Me and Paul Revere. I’m the horse he chose, of course, me and Paul Revere.”