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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

The Force is Strong with Star Wars in Concert

Posted on April 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM

I received an updated e-mail from the good folks at Star Wars over the weekend saying that they have added a slew of new dates and venues for the terrific Star Wars in Concert presentation. (Upcoming dates and venues can befound here: I *highly* recommend checking this out if it is coming even remotely near you. Below is a post that I wrote for EDG several months ago after Dana and I went to the show.You can check out several pictures from the evening in my Pictures section as well as some brief videos at the end of this post that I shot during the event. Enjoy, and May the Force Be With You!

Like every male born around 1970, Star Wars was a cultural, life-shaping event for me. I can remember seeing the original, Episode IV, in a small theater in Carmel, California. Since Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, I have seen every Wars film in the theater on opening day. I’ve purchased the movies on every format possible: Beta, VHS, Laser Disc and DVD. (And, George, you know you’re gearing up for a Blu-ray and then Blu-3D release! I can just feel your residual profit center tingling with Dark Side energy!) I’ve even visited Lucas Ranch, THX and ILM a few times. I believe this all qualifies me as a "fan."

This past weekend (November 2009), I enjoyed an entirely different Star Wars experience in the form of Star Wars in Concert. This was such a terrific blending of music, film, lasers and spectacle that I thought I would share my experience in hopes of convincing readers to seek out a show near them.

The Concert brings together the 86-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir and a giant high-def LED screen, measuring some 60-feet wide by 30-feet tall, for a 2-hour performance of music spanning all six films. Far from detracting from the orchestra, the video is a perfect accompaniment, like watching a giant live, orchestral music video. The pacing and timing of the images to the score was even approved by John Williams.

The show opens with the THX “Deep Note,” a sound so familiar to home theater fans, and then goes into the 20th Century Fox fanfare,  just as if you were about to watch one of the films. After a pregnant pause, the huge opening notes of the Star Wars main theme burst from the orchestra, along with the title scrawl on the giant HD screen. Seeing and hearing and *experiencing* the music live produced by such a large, talented orchestra was phenomenal, giving me chills multiple times throughout the evening. Seeing the dozens of violinists and cellists sawing away in perfect unison to produce music that is so thoroughly entrenched in our zeitgeist was absolutely thrilling.

The performance is interspersed with live narration by Anthony “C3PO” Daniels who comes out to introduce each movement. His delivery is slightly over-the-top, but Daniels is one of only two cast members that were in all 6 films (the other was R2-D2, Kenny Baker), so it was a treat to see and hear him in person.

While every piece was terrific, and every favorite number was included, a real high point for me was “The Duel of the Fates” from Episode I. This featured the full choir backing the intense musical arrangement, along with well-timed pyrotechnics. Also impressive was “The Imperial March” and “TheVictory Song,” which concluded the evening. Also on hand were quite a few original costumes and props from the films including Yoda, Vader, Han in carbonite, and Chewbacca. (You can see several in my photos area…)

The crowd was packed with fans of all ages, from veryyoung – many kids under 5 – to quite old. And, if you feel the urge to godressed as your favorite Jedi, Sith, Bounty Hunter or other, you will be ingood company. Here are some brief (30 second) videosI shot from the presentation, which will give you a good idea of what to expect.

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Categories: April 2010, Music, Movies

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1 Comment

Reply Dana
9:48 PM on April 6, 2010 
I concur. Good times to be had. Must see.