Musician and composer Danny Elfman has made it clear in the past that repetition tires him.
Although he has been hosting The Nightmare Before Christmas concerts live for several years now, he still comes up with new ways to present the iconic 1993 film classic, conceived by Tim Burton (and directed by Henry Selick). Returning this year for a couple of concerts on Friday, October 29 and Sunday, October 31, at a new home at Los Angeles’ Banc of California Stadium, Elfman brought in some fresh twists this time around, including the music megastar and Los Dweller. -Angelesa Billie Eilish plays Sally.
Eilis nailed Sally’s high-pitched sweet vocals (created by actress Catherine O’Hara) and added a deeper, breathtaking twist that made fans – yes, even the judges – jump into applause. She, too, looked matching in a bright Sally patchwork dress. Although she performed in front of a much larger audience than the out-of-date 22,000-seat soccer stadium, she seemed a little nervous at first, but at the end of the film she played a playful duet with Elfman.
For these shows, viewers need to know not to leave ahead of time. Back in 2015, when Elfman kicked off these Halloween specials, he returned to the stage strapped to his guitar and played his band Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” live for the first time in two decades.
This year, after a few bows – with Eilis and other guests Ken Page as Ugie Boogie, Paul Rubens as Lock and “Strange Al” Jankovic as Shock, conductor John Moseri and the entire orchestra and chorus – and receiving thunderous applause, he returned … and performed a special version of Oogie Boogie’s Song, which he originally wrote for Page. He then returned for the last time with Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek and the whole band to perform “Dead Man’s Party” with orchestral arrangements. These songs could very well be part of what Elfman was working on to include in his career sets at the Coachella Valley Indio Music and Arts Festival before it was canceled due to the 2020 pandemic.
“Until four weeks ago, I thought, ‘Please don’t let the cancellation; do not allow a new splash! Elfman said about his first live performances in three years before introducing Eilish. “And here we are, it almost feels like real life, doesn’t it?”
Elfman really comes to life with Jack Skellington’s vocals. He’s lively, confident and super-creepy with all the giggles from the songs. Rubens, Jankovic and Elfman looked like they had a lot of fun playing Locke, Shock and Barrel, but Paige, Mr. Oogie Boogie himself, fell in love most of all. His deep, playful vocals and dedication to this character, which was created almost three decades ago, is really cute.
Although the stadium offered a broader view of the live orchestra and all the action, there were glitches. Some of the sound disappeared at the beginning of the movie as fans on one side of the stadium chanted “Turn it on!” Moving around the stadium was a nightmare in itself, with some fans on social media complaining that they stayed there until the middle of the show. Those seated on the upper side levels of the hall also had an obscured view of the giant main screen due to the huge hanging speakers that obscured the only close-up view from the camera in some of the special guest appearances.
In many ways, coming back to see Elfman on Halloween in Los Angeles felt like moving towards some kind of normality. The fans showed up ready for The Nightmare. While the place required guests to wear face masks as part of the COVID-19 health and safety protocol, it’s Halloween weekend so it was interesting to see how many visitors just added masks to their costumes. And while the new establishment didn’t offer as many opportunities for a fun Halloween town vibe as the Hollywood Bowl event did, there were still tricks or treats in place (and yes, even adults can get candy without a solution) and tons of themed photo pop-ups. stations “Nightmare Before Christmas”.
Live “Nightmare Before Christmas”
When: Friday October 29th
Where: Bank of California Stadium
Also: 6:30 pm Sunday, October 31, at Banc of California Stadium, 3939 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles; $ 59.50-179.50 at Ticketmaster.com