Anyone who has lived in LA longer than five minutes already knows the coolest thing you can do is The Hollywood Bowl. Within a minute of leaving the nuttiness of downtown Hollywood, you’re suddenly transported into an idyllic utopia carved into the side of a mountain with trees, nature smells, and great acoustics. You can even go a couple hours early and grab one of the many picnic tables on the mountainside for your own pre-show party. So when my pal and Counting For Thunder producer blew into town and snatched several of us up to see a band I’d barely heard of, I was in. After being told by her that special things usually happened at Sparks concerts as we started our own pre-show party, we looked over and saw—wait for it— ANOTHER Counting For Thunder producer at the very next picnic table. As we also had the C4T casting director with us, it was like old home week. All this before I was introduced to my new favorite band. I’d googled a couple of things, thought maybe we’d be looking at another Devo. I’d decided I’d be happy with friends even if the band sucked.
Boy was I wrong. These Sparks guys—two brothers—have been toiling away for fifty years in pretty much obscurity. And then they wrote the music for an Adam Driver/Marion Cotillard musical two years ago called Annette. A Netflix documentary about them, made by a filmmaker who wanted the world to finally know who they were, followed and now they’re suddenly cool. Cate Blanchett even follows them around in her down time, appearing onstage in a few cities to dance like she did in their new video. Said casting director’s high-school-aged son even knows who they are. As did scores of other kids in attendance half my age and less. Some even dressed like them. These Sparks brothers, now in their 70’s, played the whole show without a break. Voices in top form, jumping, twirling and running from one end of the stage to the other. Inspiring is not the word. Okay, so it is. I never stopped smiling until the end when, after playing a song about never ever giving up, they came downstage to say that on this special night, standing in front of throngs at our LA oasis, they were remembering playing for six waitresses at The Whiskey. And they desperately wanted us to know how grateful they were, how all this wasn’t lost on them. The filmmaker who’d made the documentary had flown in from London just to see this incredible tour come to a close. More than a few in attendance were in tears. I was one of them.
In their 70’s.
Never too late.