Jurassic Park In Concert: A Review


Jurassic Park fans:

If a symphony or orchestra organization near you decides to perform 
Jurassic Park In Concert, you must spare no expense and go experience it!

First, a bit about me and the Jurassic Park musical score 
for anyone who might want to know:

My name is Caleb Burnett, and I am a musician and composer. Most importantly in this context though, I am a massive Jurassic Park fan. One might even say that Jurassic Park is my religion. The film itself is my favorite of all time, and its musical score is my favorite of all time as well. Any film or music scholar will agree that both the film and the score are objectively among the greatest of all time. 

With Jurassic Park, John Williams composed perhaps the most versatile and beautiful score of his career. The two-note motif that begins the Jurassic Park theme is instantly recognizable and deeply moving. In interviews, John Williams describes writing this score with the goal of crafting music that reflects the awe humanity might have before its creator.

His music is immaculate in association with the characters of Jurassic Park as they see resurrected dinosaurs for the first time. On the tail end of this score is some of the best action music of Williams’ career and some near perfect musical representations of intense suspense. To sum it up, this versatile, phenomenal score personifies human awe, terror, reverence, and happiness, all within two hours.


Last weekend I traveled to Los Angeles, California for a weekend packed with all things Jurassic. At the center of the weekend was Jurassic Park In Concert, performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl. For those that might not know what that means: Jurassic Park was projected in HD for the thousands in attendance at the Bowl as the orchestra performed the film’s musical score live to picture, conducted by film composer David Newman.

As if being among thousands of other Jurassic Park fans wasn’t great enough, we were all gathered to watch Jurassic Park together. The folks from JP Motorpool were on hand to showcase their Jurassic Park Ford Explorers for fans, and employees from the L.A. County Museum of Natural History were present for some awesome dinosaur and fossil-themed photo-ops and learning opportunities. It was a glorious experience.


Seeing Jurassic Park In Concert truly is like watching the film for the first time again. I cannot recommend it strongly enough to anyone, especially those who call themselves fans of Jurassic Park. During Jurassic Park In Concert, I found myself newly overcome by all of the emotions regularly associated with the film I adore. I was glued to the screen and the orchestra as if I didn’t already know what was going to happen. I’d attribute a lot of this to the fact that musicians can put so much unique heart and passion into music when performing it live. What better place to channel that type of passion than for Jurassic Park?

The haunting musical cue for Jurassic Park’s main titles struck a chord with the audience in the Hollywood Bowl, who responded with excited cheers. ‘Incident at Isla Nublar’ began. Its primal rhythms and harmonies immediately captured the audience as they accompanied Muldoon’s battle with a velociraptor, park worker caught in the middle. 

Donald Gennaro appeared onscreen, and the audience surprisingly booed. Lawyers in the audience were not pleased by this. The iconic Drs. Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler were met with cheers as their introductory scene began. Dr. Grant intimidating the kid who disrespected velociraptors was, of course, met with cheers and laughter as well. John Hammond’s proposition in Alan and Ellie’s trailer was quoted out loud across the Bowl. What a great place to be: among folks who could quote along.

The orchestra took off with a sweep of the strings, playing ‘Journey to the Island’ as Drs. Grant and Sattler joined Gennaro, Hammond and the equally iconic Dr. Ian Malcolm in a helicopter bobbing its way toward Isla Nublar. The audience, of course, erupted with cheers at the sight of Jeff Goldblum, and imitated his wonderfully obnoxious laugh. The helicopter approached Isla Nublar, and it was as if the entire audience rose to the edge of their seats, myself included. 

It was a moment of pure wonder and joy as the Jurassic Park theme was triumphantly performed upon the arrival to the island. I, and I’m sure many others, got significant chills and were as giddy during this moment as we were when we saw it for the first time as kids. Characters climbed into Jurassic Park jeeps and moved towards what was undoubtedly the most emotional moment of the evening…

The jeeps came to a stop and the orchestra trilled about in anticipation. Then the moment finally came: The brachiosaur appeared, John Williams iconic score continued, and it was difficult to not be moved. It was as if the audience was seeing a living dinosaur in the same way as the characters onscreen. We cheered out of our love for the moment as tears welled in our eyes. A beautiful moment experienced like new again. 

Consequently, the Tyrannosaur escape scene terrified like never before. Being a scene that features no music whatsoever, the booming footsteps and roars of the T. rex were ground-shaking in a venue like the Hollywood Bowl. Equally thrilling was the scene in which Grant rescues Tim from the tree. The musical cue under that scene is quite bombastic and musically difficult, which made the scene all the more thrilling and appreciated.

As John Hammond described his merits in creating Jurassic Park, the orchestra performed ‘Remembering Petticoat Lane’, and the scene was as poignant and touching as ever. This was one scene during the evening that easily had the audience quiet and tuned in. That cue and scene are certainly among the most moving of the film. They affectingly bring to life the emotions of a man whose dream has failed, especially live.

Jurassic Park boasts one of the most exciting climaxes ever put on film, thanks in no small part to its music. As the film rolled along in that direction, the orchestra phenomenally performed the musical cues accompanying the velociraptors stalking the kids and the Tyrannosaur’s triumphant rescue in the Visitor’s Center. My nerves were freshly wracked as Lex and Tim did their best to outwit the velociraptors in the kitchen. Rexy, the Queen of Isla Nublar, bursting in to the rescue was absolutely breathtaking as the orchestra reached the most jubilant passage of John Williams’ score. Seeing these scenes’ with their music performed live was exhilarating.


Needless to say, Jurassic Park In Concert is an absolutely enthralling experience. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and David Newman presented the musical score to perfection. They certainly earned the standing ovation they received from the crowd as the Jurassic Park theme resoundingly entered for the final time and the credits faded to black. It was an evening I’ll never forget, and a truly unique new way to experience my very favorite film.

I’ll say it again: 

Jurassic Park fans:

If a symphony or orchestra organization near you decides to perform 
Jurassic Park In Concert, you must spare no expense and go experience it!



Written by:
Caleb Burnett