Packed crowd celebrates holiday and return of full-capacity concerts to the Hollywood Bowl

Red, white and blue fireworks explode over the Bowl shell.
Fireworks light up the Hollywood Bowl near the conclusion of the first full-capacity concert there in more than a year.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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What would summer be without a concert and fireworks under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl? After a long dry spell, the venue came roaring back to life Saturday night with a sold-out crowd getting down with soul-funk legends Kool & the Gang. The “July 4th Fireworks Spectacular” also featured Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra performing patriotic hits.

A person stands, raising both arms and shouting, amid a sold-out crowd.
Cheers go up during a celebration of the military by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra on Saturday. A large, and predominantly maskless, crowd mingled at the outdoor venue.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Thomas Wilkins waves the baton over orchestra players.
Thomas Wilkins leads the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra at Saturday’s sold-out concert.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
People without masks stand in packed lines.
The turnstiles were spinning at the first full-capacity concert at the Bowl since the start of the pandemic.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

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Amid a seated crowd, two women hug.
Noralisa Villarreal, right, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente, gets a hug from friend Amber Carson. Villarreal said the first full-capacity concert at the Bowl was an emotional release.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Men in white sing and play guitars.
Kool & the Gang perform at the “July 4th Fireworks Spectacular.”
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
The packed audience watches a big screen and the orchestra on stage, which glows with lighting, at dusk.
Saturday’s first full-capacity concert at the Hollywood Bowl was sold out.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
A man kisses the side of a woman's face as she takes their selfie.
Thourayah Maroun and James Young share a selfie moment during intermission.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
The Bowl stage, seen from a distance, glows purple and red as a band performs.
The glow of the Bowl’s shell lights up the night Saturday. Last year’s traditional holiday show was canceled, along with the season, at the iconic venue.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
A man holding a microphone moves across the stage.
Kool & the Gang perform.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

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A flag motif in a rainbow shape fills the shell of the Bowl as fireworks explode above.
Fireworks helped bring Saturday’s concert to a patriotic close.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)