Published on March 8th, 2010 | by Andy Gaffney5
Star Wars In Concert
Before starting this review I should state, like many a person, Star Wars means a hell of a lot to me. No hang over or heart break ever feels as bad when you are sat with a cup of tea and The Empire Strikes Back is sitting in your DVD player or oddly preferably just on ITV on a rainy Saturday afternoon allowing you to refill said cup during the ad breaks that you always see coming (my fav being the sure fire ad break after Yoda says ‘No, there is another’ for you ad fact fans out there). So when it was first advertised that Star Wars in Concert was coming to the O2 why did I not run out and sell my grand mothers ashes to get a ticket. Firstly because that would be a rather horrible thing to do and secondly because of an event back in the RDS in 1999 that I think was called Star Wars Live. Now like the way estate agents have adopted the term T.A.R.D.I.S for when a house looks bigger on the inside ‘Star Wars Live in the R.D.S in 1999′ for me has become a term saved up for those rare and gut punching moments of pure disappointment.
“Hey Paul, whats up?”
“Megan dumped me man ”
“Ah man thats proper Star Wars live in the R.D.S. in 1999”
Sure it may have been over ten years ago but the pain of bugging your Star Wars hating father into bringing you to a show where after paying a bucket load of money you are shown a trailer and a horribly cheap hanging Naboo star fighter making laser noises sticks with you and its because of this that I was very worried about the Star Wars concert experience. However faith luckily dropped a ticket into my lap and of course then all R.D.S memories were put to one side for a second and the thought ‘Ah sure why not’ quickly replaced them, and I am happy to say that faith brought a very fun enjoyable Sunday afternoon but just not a perfect one.
The set up for the concert is that the rather splendid Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play the music of Star Wars put to massive High Def screens playing various clips from all six movies while the man, the myth and the legend Anthony Daniels of C3P0 fame walks out on stage at the end of each piece and tells the next part of the story in a very lovely voice, naturally. Needless to say the orchestra was stunning, however seeing as these pieces of music have been just been on a TV for around twenty years of my life it was a good two songs in before it truly sank home that this wasn’t some C.D. and it was actually coming from these very talented people and the way John Williams first wrote it. With that, hearing them play the score to my favourite scene in a movie ever (the ‘I love you, I know’ scene for all you ‘god you always like the girly stuff’ fact fans) while its being blasted on a huge screen behind is frankly a damn fine way to spend a Sunday and something that will stay in mind for a good while. Anthony Daniels does his narration in perfect camp charm that is all rolling r’s and gold waist coasts that no matter how scripted and rehearsed it may sound it is very hard to dislike, the man is C3P0 and could tell you he just ran down your mother and as long as he did in a 3P0 voice you would still have a smile on your face, probably. The audience itself had a clear vibe of not knowing how to react which came from the simple thing of just not knowing what to expect from a show like this, there was many a painful silence where Anthony would say a characters name and then clearly wait for an applause that, with the exception of Han Solo, was simply not coming but apart from this the masses were in good form with an entire section dressed in budget Strom Trooper suits and no tantrums or tears from the crowd’s many kids.
The real down side of the event however is the feeling of what could of been. Behind the orchestra was a full choir, who while were used brilliantly in the Episode I climatic theme of ‘Duel of the Faiths’, this was the only piece of music they were used for, which is a crime when the sagas arguably finest piece of music, the choir heavy confrontation between Luke and Vader in Return of the Jedi was no where to be heard. Along with this you felt that while there is no bad piece of music in the Star Wars arsenal you had to question why certain pieces were included over others. Also when the BBC did a similar thing with Doctor Who at the proms there was a lot more interaction with marching Cybermen and Daleks going through the crowd scaring kids, and I’m sure Vader and a few troopers creeping up on some of the crowd would have gave them a kick. While its very questionable if it was worth the very hefty price tag of seventy euro, seeing a full orchestra play music that has always been a part of your life is fantastic, much like the image of t-shirt touts outside shouting ‘Any body else now for the light sabers?’, and I set off for a normal post O2 pint on the boat pub with a very goofy smile on my face with the memories of a certain show back in 1999 being pushed a little further back, which in the end can only be a very good thing.