Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA
July 13, 2009
So-called “semi-celebrity” Candice Brown and I each shelled out eighty bucks for this Incubus show, so naturally, my expectations were high. Anticipation hit during one of the stuffy shuttle rides en route to the venue. I had seen Incubus perform a few years ago at the Wiltern after the release of Light Grenades, so I had no idea what to expect of the overall experience at such a big venue like the Hollywood Bowl.
Apparently Incubus didn’t either. This was their first time playing, as we LA-ers call it, “the Bowl.” As front man Brandon Boyd and the rest of the Incubus crew so casually walked onstage to the roars of people against the hills of Hollywood, “Privilege” began. And what a privilege it was.
I want to give some mad props to the videographers, front of house, and the rest of the production crew for such a pleasant show experience. My seat was pretty far into the crowd (thank God, not the lawn). Despite this, I thought the volume and balance of the show was perfect in comparison to the venues that always crank their house sound way too loud. I had brought earplugs just in case; they weren’t necessary (I try to save my hearing, as should you).
Trekking along the rather predictable set list, they touched on every full-length studio album except for Fungus Amongus. A favorite of mine was the performance of “Redefine,” only because Brandon began the tune playing a didgeridoo. And man, does he know how to circular breathe! A+, Boyd.
I had a pseudo-revelation during the short acoustic set consisting of “Drive,” “Make Yourself,” and “Dig.” At times, it was almost difficult to hear Brandon sing because the crowd annoyingly knew every single word…and was damn proud of it. It was then that I had to question- has Incubus really reached Greatest Hits status?
The show ended with “Wish You Were Here,” and as we all screamed for more of Brandon Boyd’s jock and perhaps Mike Einziger’s as well, they came out once more for a three-song encore including “Warning” and “Aqueous Transmission.” After the ending of a cathartic performance of “Warning,” there was an inexplicably intense moment for me…and for Incubus. Boyd sang the ending lyrics, “Don’t ever let life pass you by,” and covered his face as the videographer faded out to a wider shot of him dawning a MAKE BELIEVE NOT WAR shirt. The emotional singer seemed so contented as he enjoyed this point in time among thousands. I looked over to Candice, almost saying with my eyes, “Did you see that? Did you FEEL THAT?” It was a satisfying money moment.
This is what the live concert experience was made for- a person to person connection, energy to share for all that care to feel something, and most of all, enjoyment. So yes, after seeing this show, I feel that Incubus is definitely at the well-deserved Greatest Hits status. After nearly fifteen years of being in the public eye with personnel and musically stylistic changes, I’m fully convinced that they still have “it.” Good job, Incubus. Hope to see you again soon.
–Kateri Lirio photos by Veronica Amador