Well, I just got back from seeing Star Wars in Concert at the Arco Arena in Sacramento. I have to say for any Star Wars fan, this is not just a concert, but an event. An event that lasted two and a half hours in which I enjoyed every minute of it. If you are a Star Wars fan, this should be on your “to do” list.
I arrived at the event about an hour and a half before the concert to view the props and memorabilia that was displayed throughout the arena. This is the only part of the event that I was slightly disappointed with. I found original prop costumes, weapons, and original artwork. I thought a little more care and thought could have been shown to the exhibition. The first part of the exhibition was original artwork by Ryan Church. Wow! These pieces looked fantastic. Wookies, Kashyyyk, wookie vehicles, etc., all looked great and to see that close-up was a treat.
The next items were original costumes. I saw Plo Koon, Kit Fisto, C-3Po, Yoda, Han in carbonite, Royal Guards, and Boba Fett.
A couple of really important pieces were missing from this collection.Where was Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Chewy?! How could they leave those out? Also on display were various prop weapons used throughout the saga. Some of the blasters showed some wear and tear, and those dated back to the days of the O/T. Very cool to see those movie used props.
There were also 42″ screens placed throughout the exhibits showing behind the scenes footage of all the films. Some of the images and videos I had never seen before. Maybe some of this footage will end of on the Blu-Ray discs?!?
After finishing up the exhibit, I headed to my seats to get a layout of the stage. I sat in the upper section of the arena, and surprisingly, the “cheap” seats were not that bad. I think sitting farther away is actually visually better for this event. As the lights went down in the arena, I noticed a whole section of empty seats, and they were directly in front of the stage. I decided to move from my current position adjacent to the center, and risk getting kicked out and back to my original seats. As I sat down, I noticed many others followed my lead, and the center section soon filled up with others who were in search of better seats. Like I said, I was surprised to see so many empty seats, but this was being shown in a 17,000 seat arena.
The show opened with the live symphony orchestra and chorus performing the “fanfare” and Star Wars Main Title. Hearing this performed by a live orchestra was amazing! This music has been a part of my life for many years, and to hear it performed in a way Lucas originally heard it back in the early 70’s was, well, awesome! After the opening theme, host Anthony Daniels took the stage to set up each piece of musical theme. Halfway through the show I realized he was the perfect person to host this show. Daniels showed great enthusiasm and excitement, and having a Star Wars veteran host was brilliant casting by the creators. The set list included:
Duel of the Fates
The Flag Parade
Across the Stars
Battle of the Heroes
The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)
The Asteroid Field
Princess Leia’s Theme
Tales of a Jedi Knight
TIE Fighter Attack
Luke and Leia
The Forest Battle
Light of the Force
Throne Room/End titles
The two standout songs were “Duel of the Fates”, and “Battle of the Heroes”. Hearing these performed by the orchestra with a full chorus was outstanding. Hearing the chorus during “Duel of the Fates”, along with images of lightsaber fights gave me chills. Images of Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting during Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars accompanied by “Battle of the Heroes” was equally chill inducing. I was also equally impressed with the video montages. The high-def screen images were crystal clear. I immediately thought of the Blu-Ray versions of these films and how great these will look someday. On stage, the 3-story high-def screen projects the film footage , surrounded by a halo of low-res screens to enhance the tone of the imagery. Additionally, there are lasers, jets of steam, and even balls of fire thrown above the stage, most effectively during the Anakin and Obi-Wan duel on Mustafar for “Battle of the Heroes”.
The night ended with the “Throne Room”/ end titles and to a standing ovation, which was well deserved. Theres just something special about attending a Star Wars event with so many other Star Wars fans. As I left the arena I was reminded of the documentary, “Empire of Dreams”, and the one thing that Lucas remembers exceeding his expectations while making Star Wars. The London Philharmonic, John Williams, and his score gave life to Lucas’ vision, and after hearing and seeing the orchestra play these songs live, I can certainly see why.