As the crowd gathered in the arena, it was apparent this was no ordinary concert. The sound of TIE fighters screamed through the PA system, a certain walking carpet yelled out in frustration and light sabers were drawn before clashing in battle. The sound effects helped set the mood for a two-hour extravaganza, celebrating the music, sights and sounds of the Star Wars saga in a traveling production called Star Wars in Concert.
The temperature outside was flirting with sub-zero temperatures, but hundreds of people lined up early to get in. Kids were dressed as jedis and clones and – inside – local cosplayers set the scene for the evening. There were stormtroopers, imperial officers, kid favorite Commander Rex, Darth Vader and a host of other characters located throughout the concourse. They were quickly mobbed by kids and parents with cameras, but the real pre-show draw was further down the walkway.
Drawing from the deep library of Lucasfilm’s collection, a number of original costumes, props and artwork was on display. There was the Vader costume from A New Hope and John Williams’ notes from scoring the original soundtrack. Further down were weapons used from several of the films and storyboard illustrations for some of the many environments from the saga. If you could get past the deep crowd, there was Yoda ready for battle, Han Solo in carbonite and C-3PO’s gold suit.
The protocol droid played heavily into the production of this event because, once the lights dimmed and the Royal Philharmonic had ripped through the powerful, moving and familiar title music, Anthony Daniels stepped onto the stage to provide narration throughout the evening.
Behind the orchestra and choir, a monstrous hi-def LCD display offered a visual feast of scenes from all six Star Wars films. The vignettes were expertly edited to match the mood and tempo of the saga’s score. Every note was perfect as the 80-piece orchestra performed more than a dozen pieces and – if you closed your eyes – you could almost imagine the scent of buttery popcorn from the first time you saw Return of the Jedi.
The crowd was approving of the Royal Philharomic’s efforts, but polite applause eventually gave way to hoots of approval as Yoda battled Count Dooku. However, the biggest cheers were reserved for the frantic music from the Cantina band and a visual medley that featured the Rebel Alliance’s destruction of the Death Star.
All in all, it was an exciting and fun-filled evening, best summed up by my son when I asked him what he enjoyed the most. His reply? “EVERYTHING!“
The first leg of the US tour is nearly complete, but keep an eye out for more European and US dates in a second leg in 2010.