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STAR WARS: IN CONCERT

Conducted by Dirk Bossé
Narrated by Anthony Daniels

Live music set to background themes of movie videos, hosted by Anthony Daniels.

 

 

4 stars+

November 25th, 2009

 
    I quite enjoyed this. I always love a live show, and it was fun to go see music that I love so much. The energy from the crowd was contagious, which is always a good thing in events such as this. What made it even more special, however, was the host. Anthony Daniels was stunningly hilarious.

The concert was divided up into themes, and went from Episode I to Return of the Jedi. There were themes for everything, because that's the way Star Wars music was made. People make up the bulk of the themes, from Padmé to Anakin, Luke and Leia. Themes exist for other things, too, like the Millennium Falcon, certain events or places like Bespin, the pod-race, and of course the Imperial March.

The visuals were all the ones that I know and love so well. Divided up by theme, the creators managed to sneak in a lot of footage from the various movies. Sometimes it went by too fast, barely a flicker to register what was being shown. Sometimes that was fun, at other times, it was annoying. Also annoying was the way they interspersed footage from the wrong trilogy into familiar music. The most obvious was the theme to the Millennium Falcon, where, because it featured a wonderful asteroid chase, they interspersed footage from the Attack of the Clones asteroid chase as well. Was the theme asteroids, or the famous ship?

The orchestra performed the music exactly as in the movies, at least to my ears. I loved to hear it beat and reverberate throughout the arena. I loved watching them play, and I found that there just wasn't enough footage of them on the big screen. While the movies are the star of Star Wars, the orchestra was the star of the concert, as far as I'm concerned. I can watch the movies any time. We should have cut between the movie footage and the orchestra more often.

What made everything come together, however, was Anthony Daniels. I've seen and heard him before on various Star Wars DVD and on-line material, but it was still strange to understand that he sounds exactly like C3PO. I sort of thought that he had altered his voice to sound more "prissy", as they say in the novels. I have heard that he is a comic genius, and the short introductions he gave to each of the themes confirmed that. The one where he got the best laugh was the introduction to the Droids theme. He lauded the brave and nearly perfect C3PO, who is heroic and fluent in over six million forms of communication, and ... He went on and on, knowing full well what he was doing, until he stopped abruptly, looked to the silent crowd and the conductor, and pretended to be embarrassed. When introducing the Millennium Falcon, Daniels gave us a perfect quote of the odds, just as he said them in The Empire Strikes Back.

Daniels himself was introduced by a recording of James Earl Jones, impersonating Darth Vader, and asking for a warm welcome, "even if he is part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor!"

The crowd went craziest during the Imperial March, and there were several moments where I felt a tingle go up my spine. Some musical moments are just very moving.

There were a lot of exhibits in the narrow halls of the arena. It was fun to stand next to the original Han Solo in Carbonite, or the Darth Vader costume, and see various blasters, original artwork, and so on. It was also very fun to see people dressed up as various characters, from Darth Maul to Chewbacca, Leia with buns from Star Wars, Padmé, Obi-Wan as a Padawan, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader himself. But it was difficult to get close to any of them, with the throngs of people surrounding everybody.

As expected, the crowd gave the performance a standing ovation, and kept clapping until Anthony Daniels came back out and asked, in feigned surprise, "do you want more?" Then the conductor came back out and they played a couple more themes, including a reprise of the Imperial March.

The final applause lasted for a long time, and people went crazy again when Anthony Daniels walked back onto the stage wearing a Habs shirt! The crowd started singing the "goodbye" song, and it felt like a playoff hockey game! Ha!

As with the Lord of the Rings Symphony, I think I would go see this again. But I think the Rings one was a little better. It was made more refined, while this one wanted to showcase everything, including the stunning visuals from the movie. It's hard to compare them because of that. The Rings one was more performing arts, while this was rock 'n' roll. And it was really, really fun.

 
   

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