Supergroup of Elvis Costello, Lars Ulrich, Boz Scaggs and Phil Lesh Salutes Michael Tilson Thomas

Lars Ulrich, Phil Lesh, Elvis Costello and Boz Scaggs (L-R) perform at Davies Symphony Hall. (Photo: © Moanalani Jeffrey Photography)

Local treasure Michael Tilson Thomas celebrated his 70th birthday last night at Davies Symphony Hall, a much-buzzed-about party that turned up surprise guests Yo-Yo Ma (issuing the “turn off your cell phones” announcement over the P.A.) and President Obama (in a recorded message congratulating the conductor and musical director).

But the loudest surprise turned out to be a one-night-only supergroup of Elvis Costello, Lars Ulrich from Metallica, Boz Scaggs and the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, who took the stage right before intermission to perform—what else?—the Beatles’ “Birthday.” Karl Sevareid and Drew Zingg rounded out the band.

The night also included Liszt’s wild Hexameron, for orchestra and six (!) grand pianos, encores of the William Tell and Candide overtures, characters from Beach Blanket Babylon, hundreds of blue balloons and a slideshow featuring photos of Tilson Thomas over the years (in one young pose, resembling a dead ringer for Alfred E. Neuman).

But it was the all-star band that had everyone talking. Here’s to a surprise show at Terrapin Crossroads in the near future! Whaddya say, guys?

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Supergroup of Elvis Costello, Lars Ulrich, Boz Scaggs and Phil Lesh Salutes Michael Tilson Thomas 16 January,2015Gabe Meline

Author

Gabe Meline

Gabe Meline is KQED Arts’ Senior Editor. He lives with his wife, his daughter, a 1964 Volvo and too many records in his hometown of Santa Rosa, CA. Find him on Twitter at @gmeline.

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