Summary: Imagine a clip show of the best parts of the Star Wars Saga, like a condensed music video version of all 6 movies. Now imagine that the music was being created right in front of you by a full symphony orchestra introduced by Mr. Anthony Daniels (C-3PO)! That’s basically what “Star Wars In Concert” is.
Thoughts: I wanted to see this for two reasons. The first was the opportunity to see John William’s score performed live. The second was to see Anthony Daniels in person, a dream of mine since childhood for some reason. The show preformed well on both accounts.
Starting with the THX Deep Note (sadly not played by the orchestra) and ending with an encore of The Imperial March, the whole show was the memorable themes John Williams wrote for characters or events played against clips along with some dialog from the movies relating to the musical theme. Some clips had laser lights, and a few had PYROTECHNICS that we could feel on the other side of the arena! The opening theme played against clips from the saga in release order (4,5,6,1,2,3), but once Anthony Daniels came out he started the (heavily condensed and choppy) story from the beginning. Anakin’s Theme, Duel of the Fates, Across The Stars, Battle of the Heroes, all of the great themes Williams wrote for the prequels were there, proving that while Lucas may have lost his way for the prequels, Williams certainly didn’t, making what I’d argue to be some of the best musical pieces of the modern era. I especially liked the clip show for “Across The Stars” (Anakin and Padme’s love theme), as I liked the idea of using parts of Episode I as flashbacks (complete with sepia tone and echo). One of the other clips was memorable (at least to me) as it had Episode I clips of Yoda, but not the horrible-and-brown-for-some-reason Muppet they made for the film originally, the decent CGI model they use now when they show clips from Episode I in videos since 2005, presumably waiting for the rumored 2010 Special Edition Blu-ray release of the films (Special Editions of the Prequels are fine by me, in case you were wondering). The first act ended after Anakin’s even-more-abrupt-than-Episode-III fall to the Dark Side with the Imperial March played against some of the Empire’s glory from the Original Trilogy.
After a 20 minute intermission (and dismissal of the choir since Williams wasn’t in his choral phase in the 70s and 80s), the Original Trilogy started. Luke’s Theme, Leia’s Theme, Luke and Leia’s Theme, The Hoth Battle, The Forest Battle, Mos Eisley, several of the classic arrangements were played. The clips started to lose focus at this point, as except for the personal themes, all of the clips had shots from the prequels thrown in. For instance, while Obi-Wan is explaining to Luke that this is his father’s light saber, they show a clip of Anakin with the random lightsaber he got tossed on Geonosis after his was damaged (which you can tell is green, even in the sepia tone). Also, apparently there wasn’t enough of the Forest Battle to fill the whole time, so they used clips from the Battle of the Naboo Plains from Episode I, somehow creating a video containing both Ewoks and Jar Jar! The best part musically was when they actually played the Cantina Band song in the middle of the Mos Eisley section. Incredible talent there.
You may notice how I really only talked about the clips they were playing. This was mostly because the music was so note-perfect that we all found ourselves becoming so engrossed in the clips that we would forget that all of the music was being performed live. There were times when the main screen would show the orchestra playing and it was some of the best parts, honestly. There’s something about hearing and seeing this music that I grew up with performed live and uncompressed by any means analog or digital. The fact that C-3PO himself was introducing the clips only enhanced the unrealness/awesomeness of it all.
Sadly, this was the second-to-last American show, so if you live in the States, you missed it already. If you’re one of my European friends and this is coming near your home, by all means, go see it! It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.