Being a lifelong Star Wars fan I was intrigued when I heard about the new multimedia experience, Star Wars: In Concert. Billed as a live orchestra experience, with narrative by Anthony Daniels (the voice and persona of C3P0) and framed by a cutting edge video and audio experience the show seemed too good to be true. I can easily say after seeing the show recently on it's Ottawa, Canada leg of the tour it is even better then you could imagine. My excitement during the concert was captured as I live twittered the event
The show began with a dimming of lights and the full orchestra with choir being bathed in purple light. The conductor took the stage and with a raise of hands the iconic Star Wars opening theme started playing live with the typical scrolling words appearing on the huge HD display. Goosebumps immediately popped out on my arms and I smiled realizing that this was going to be a true Star Wars experience.
Once the opening theme was complete Anthony Daniels took to the stage and showed us what his role would be, showman. Normally tucked behind his C3P0 persona I had no idea how energetic, personable and charismatic he was. Once Daniels took the stage the premise behind Star Wars: In Concert became clear.
Anthony Daniels role in this show is as the narrator. The experience is separated into themes that Daniels introduces by staging the event. The first theme was the rise of the Sith in opposition to the peaceful, but complacent, Jedi order. Daniels eloquently framed the Star Wars universe, talked about the wide spanning Old Republic and how a new menace was rising…a Phantom Menace.
With those last ominous words the orchestra starting playing under the expert conducting skills of Dirk Brossé. The music was somber, the lighting was subdued and video images of the Sith and the heroes who opposed them began flashing on the display.
The show continued in this format with themes being introduced by Anthony Daniels covering things like Anakin's rise, the Millenium Falcon/Han Solo and Princess Leia among many others. During each of these themes we were presented with stunning HD visuals and audio expertly mixed so as not to overshadow the orchestrated music. Iconic compositions like the 'Duel of the Fates' and the 'Imperial March' stunned the crowd and suited the tone and pacing perfectly.
The show was classy without unnecessary flash, they had machines capable of issuing 20 foot plumes of flame and smoke but they were only used sparingly. Think of the cannons in the 1812 overture, your extreme impact engines are used when the situation calls for it and not incessantly.
Technically the show is a true masterpiece. The monstrous main display is framed by LED pinpoint monitors that reflect and enhance the main image. The orchestra is featured on these screens live at times via a roving HD camera to great effect. The orchestra, conductor Dirk Brossé and narrator Daniels were as close to flawless as you can get and pulled the audience into the experience with them.
With all of the other multimedia aspects the true star of the show, of course, is the music. John Williams iconic melodies are presented beautifully in Stars Wars in Concert by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Their playing was superb, stirring emotions, feelings, applause and at the end a rousing standing ovation.
The true beauty and majesty of Star Wars: In Concert is that it perfectly captures the feel of the universe as set by the tone of it's music. The way it related Anakin and Padme's romance, the fall of the Old Republic and the rise of Luke Skywalker and the rebellion made me care again about the Star Wars mythos.
Star Wars: In Concert is currently engaged in a North American tour and anyone interested in the Star Wars universe owes it to themselves to see this fantastic and unique show.