Danny Elfman stunned the crowd at the Nightmare Before Christmas live orchestral performance by performing “Dead Man’s Party” with former Oingo Boingo partner Steve Bartek.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas was released 22 years ago to middling success but has since grown in stature to become one of the most beloved animated films of all time. Screening the film at the Hollywood Bowl with a live orchestral performance, with composer Danny Elfman singing the role of Jack Skellington, was the ultimate Halloween treat for fans of the film.

The evening started off with trick or treating stations and photo ops aplenty, making it an outstanding Halloween destination for thousands of local families. There was even a costume contest with some amazing entries, who got to parade their cosplay across the Hollywood Bowl Stage.

Conductor John Mauceri led an orchestra through the overture, and then the film screening began. The film itself was shown on the big screen with the onstage performances show from the side screens, giving everyone in the sold out crowd a perfect view of the proceedings.

Danny Elfman took the stage to thunderous applause to sing the part of Jack Skellington, looking dapper in a pin-striped suit. His performance was a true delight, acting out the role of the maniacal Pumpkin King with passion and precision In fact, Elfman seemed to grow younger as the night progressed and he loosened up and found his footing as the rock god he once was. But more about that later.

Following a brief intermission, Sandy Cameron, who impressed audiences with her brilliant violin piece at last year’s Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton concerts, took the stage for a stunning solo performance.

Later in the evening Catherine O’Hara reprised her role as the voice of Sally, and Ken Page reprised his performance of Oogie Boogie for the beguiled crowd. For the finale, Danny Elfman and Catherine O’Hara dueted on the lovely, heart-rending reprise of “Sally’s Song.”

When the film finished, Danny Elfman took the stage for the first of many encores. First he brought out surprise guest Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and Elfman, O’Hara, and Reubens performed “Kidnap the Sandy Claws,” live on stage as Lock, Shock, and Barrel.

Next, Elfman performed his own version of “Oogie Boogie’s Song,” with John Mauceri stepping in for Sandy Claws, with Elfman wildly dancing and singing and quite possibly outdoing Ken Page’s performance of the song.

And then, Elfman took the stage one last time, stripped down to a t-shirt with an electric guitar strapped around him, saying “And now I am going to do that thing I swore I would never do again.” And with that, he brought out former Oingo Boingo partner Steve Bartek, and ripped through “Dead Man’s Party.” History was made as this was the first time Elfman has performed an Oingo Boingo song live on stage since the Farewell to the World concerts at the Universal Amphitheater 20 years ago to the night.

It was a Halloween miracle for the true believers and the audience collectively freaked out. People screamed and shrieked and quite a few burst into tears. It was an amazing moment and one that no one who was there will ever forget; “Dead Man’s Party” sounded as vital and epic as ever. Elfman was as happy as the crowd, visibly beaming at the end of the night. The Pumpkin King is back!

Correction 04-Nov-2015: The story originally ran listing the orchestra as the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. This was incorrect and has been updated in the article.

Danny Elfman

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About The Author

Kathy is a freelance concert photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. Kathy started photographing bands in the early 80s, where she was a fixture on the L.A. rock scene. She returned to concert photography in 2011, starting Wicked Goddess Photography. She is editor-in-chief of Spice of Wickedness, and regularly contributes content to several sites, including Loudwire, Diffuser, and Find Your Seen. Kathy can be found on twitter @wickedgoddess.

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