We Have to Go Back: The Lost Concert
Fans come from around the world to see Giacchino conducting his Emmy-winning music

by Jon Burlingame

HOLLYWOOD—”It would not be Lost without the elements,” producer Carlton Cuse quipped, referring to the gusty winds that blew throughout Thursday night’s concert of music from the TV series at the outdoor Ford Theatre venue north of Hollywood.

But the enthusiasm of the estimated 1,000 Lost fans in attendance could not be dampened, especially as composer-conductor Michael Giacchino insisted from the outset that “tonight is for you guys.” A second, sold-out, concert took place Friday night.

Fans flew in from around the world specifically for the three-hour event. An Italian musicologist, addressing Giacchino during the pre-concert Q&A, said she had written her dissertation on Lost music, and had the composer autograph it. Another declared that Giacchino (an Emmy winner for Lost, an Oscar winner for Up) is “the John Williams of our generation.”

Co-host Cuse waxed nostalgic about the first time he and co-producer Damon Lindelof attended a recording session of Giacchino’s music, for the final episode of the first season. They found themselves in tears. “The magic, the alchemy of doing [this show] with an orchestra can’t be matched,” he said, later adding that he didn’t believe any composer had ever done a better job with music for television.

Giacchino said his 43-piece orchestra consisted of nearly all the same players who performed the estimated 52 hours of music written and recorded for the 121 episodes of Lost between 2004 and 2010. He designed a unique ensemble of strings, four trombones, three percussionists, guitars, harp, piano and synthesizer, the intent being to make the audience “uncomfortable” while also helping them to “feel emotional” much of the time.

Lost Concert

Photo by Marilee Bradford

Those concepts were evident throughout the live performance. With images (and sometimes full scenes) from the series projected on a screen behind the orchestra, the music ran the gamut from the eerie, confused and dangerous mood of the opening scenes on the island in the first episode to the simultaneously sad and hopeful music of the series finale.

Actors from the series turned up as special guests, including Josh Holloway (Sawyer), who praised the score as “beautiful… so human and organic” and “a huge character in our show”; Sam Anderson (Bernard) and Mark Pellegrino (Jacob), who read revealing passages from Lost scripts; and Sonya Walger (Penny), who read one of the touching “messages in a bottle” written for the 2007 Lost concert in Hawaii.

During the first half, fans experienced the dissonance and terror of “Smoke Monster,” the accelerating drama of “Locke’d Out Again,” the rich string sonorities of “The Constant,” the driving drums of “Getting Ethan,” the haunting elegy “Life and Death” and the powerful first-season raft sendoff “Parting Words.”

Fans were treated to the “orientation film” for the Dharma Initiative during the intermission. The second half included the dark and weird signature for “The Others,” the optimistic piano and strings of “LAX,” the island rhythms of “Devotion,” the surging sounds of “Oceans Apart,” the mournful cello solo of “Oceanic 6,” and the bold and climactic “Bobbing for Freighters.”

Thursday night marked the 12th anniversary of the series premiere on Sept. 22, 2004. Cuse told the crowd that his fellow producer Lindelof wanted to attend but was finishing up a TV series in Australia and could not fly back in time. Giacchino filmed a “Hi, Damon!” from the crowd to send him via phone.

The crowd offered a lengthy standing ovation for Giacchino, Cuse and the musicians. “We Have to Go Back: The Lost Concert” was produced by the non-profit Musicians at Play Foundation, which promotes L.A.’s musical heritage through live concerts and the support of music education.

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