The Simpsons celebrated their 25th anniversary with a musical extravaganza at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night, featuring live appearances from the show's cast and creator along with performances by the likes of "Weird Al" Yankovic, Hans Zimmer and Conan O'Brien.
As the Associated Press reports, Simpsons voice actors Nancy Cartwright, Yeardly Smith and Hank Azaria were on hand to host "The Simpsons Take the Bowl," with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra providing musical accompaniment to clips from the show's long back catalog. Series creator Matt Groening dished some behind-the-scenes dirt on the show, composer Hans Zimmer appeared onstage to conduct his contributions and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles delivered huge performances of classic Simpsons musical numbers including "See My Vest" and "Spider Pig."
Former Simpsons writer Conan O'Brien led the chorus in a spirited rendition of "Monorail," dedicating the segment to the late Phil Hartman, who voiced the transportation huckster Lyle Lanley in the original O'Brien-penned episode. Jon Lovitz also paid tribute to Hartman and the many characters he gave life to on the show.
"Weird" Al, who has appeared as himself on a couple of Simpsons episodes, took the stage to perform "Homer and Marge," a song about the Springfield family set to the tune of John Mellencamp's hit "Jack and Diane."
"The Simpsons Take the Bowl" will continue on Saturday and Sunday night, just one of the many events celebrating the animated series as the show heads into its 26th season. After the unprecedented success of FXX's 12-day Simpsons marathon, the network aired a music-themed mini-marathon on September 11th as a lead-in to the Hollywood Bowl show. For the annual "Treehouse of Horror" episode this Halloween, the show will look back at its earliest days in a bloodbath featuring the Tracy Ullman Show version of the Simpson family. Another mash-up, this time with The Family Guy, will kick off the new season on September 28th.