Star Wars: A Musical Journey: Fan Report

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April 14, 2009

Well, Star Wars: A Musical Journey just gave its debut performance on Friday night (April 10) in front of a crowd of 20,000 in London, and the fan world has been abuzz ever since. Fan Mark Newbold was among the lucky thousands who were there to witness this latest expression of Star Wars magic, and blogged a play-by-play account of the evening's playlist along with descriptions of the imagery displayed on the enormous LED screens backing the orchestra. Mark has happily agreed to let us reprint some excerpts from his blog as well as some of the imagery he gathered of the show:

"Ok - show time. The lights dropped and the THX intro boomed out, followed by the familiar 20th Century Fox fanfare, played live. Then on the [LED] screen, the world's largest, the words 'A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...' appeared and the crowd went wild as the curtain shifted to reveal the 80-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Dirk Brossè, blasting into the 'Main Title' from A New Hope.

"Accompanying the music on the screen were images from all six movies, light bathing the orchestra as the cameras gave us a panoramic view of the Royal Philharmonic at work. The intro ended with the closing notes of Return of the Jedi, indicating that the music we would hear tonight would be concert pieces and not exact replicas of the film orchestration.

"...Anthony [Daniels] launched into a dramatic narration introducing us to the story of Star Wars, starting right at the beginning with 'Duel of the Fates'. The stage suddenly opened up to reveal huge side screens packed with action from the movies and scenes from The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

"The next piece focused on Anakin, with 'Padme Meets Anakin' focusing on our young hero right through The Phantom Menace and up to the death of Qui-Gon on Naboo.

"Our next piece gave Anthony Daniels a great opportunity to describe to great effect the genius and sheer brilliance of a certain golden protocol droid, much to the comic dismay of conductor Brossè who gave him a withering look. Classic moment which really set the warm tone for the night.

"To accompany the images focusing on droids throughout the saga, the Royal Philharmonic played 'The Moisture Farm' from A New Hope, with images taken from not only all six films but also all versions -- the macrobinoculars still had their numbering in English and not Aurebesh. Again this piece was a concert piece, reworking the length and ending with a great shot of the Rockwart from Return of the Jedi eating his evening snack and belching happily.

"Next Anthony introduced Anakins' skills as a pilot, which focussed on the legendary Boonta Eve Classic from The Phantom Menace. The orchestra boomed out 'The Flag Parade', and it really began to set in that there's nothing quite like hearing an 80-piece orchestra going at it full tilt. Again a concert piece, there were some very unfamiliar pieces in here which makes me certain there will be a CD release of Musical Journey somewhere down the line -- we're being introduced to snippets of unheard music here tonight.

"Next up Anthony introduces the tragic love story of Anakin and Padme with 'Across the Stars', accompanied by gorgeous images from the prequels and highlighting the tragedy of Anakin's downfall and the ruination of their love.

"'Battle of the Heroes' bombastically detailed the next segment as we watched Anakin and Obi-Wan go at it in Revenge of the Sith, interspersed with sepia images from The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones to illustrate just how far young Anakin had fallen, from The Chosen One to the man who would bring down the Republic.

"Intermission over we're launched back into the galaxy far, far away with music taken from the fight between Luke and Vader at the climax of The Empire Strikes Back. To the delight of the audience, a laser show began, blasting green laser light into the O2 Arena in time to the music. The orchestration of this show is dazzling - as images appear on the screen the music cues nail them every time. Fantastic work all round.

"Anthony Daniels returns and mentions a legendary starship piloted by a certain cocky smuggler -- Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. The crowd roar and applaud their approval as we corkscrew our stock lights into 'The Asteroid Field' from The Empire Strikes Back, with classic images of Obi-Wan tackling the Geonosis asteroid belt, the Death Star run from Return of the Jedi and shots from the Pod Race thrown in for good measure. The thrill of the chase is evident in all of Lucas' films, and that's displayed brilliantly here.

"Next segment shines a light on Princess Leia with the concert piece 'Princess Leia's Theme', beautifully played and phrased. Images from A New Hope, Empire and Jedi accompany the piece alongside production art and illustrations. A gorgeous piece of music choreographed perfectly by the images.

"Anthony turns our attention from Leia to her twin brother Luke -- the hero of the second trilogy -- as we are treated to one of the classic themes from A New Hope, 'Binary Sunset'. A dreamers theme, showing Luke's frustration and eagerness to see what's beyond the horizon we are suddenly treated to a rendition of the Cantina Band music, with images from both A New Hope and Jabba's Palace of Return of the Jedi mixed in. This really gets the crowd up and moving and was a great moment.

"With a smile at the corner of his lips Anthony introduces the next segment, focusing on Yoda. At this the crowd breaks into loud applause and cheers as 'Yoda's Theme' plays out to images of the diminutive Jedi Master training Luke on Dagobah, alongside gorgeous artwork of Yoda by Ralph McQuarrie, Marie Severin and Tsuneo Sanda amongst others.

"The Empire is the focus of the next piece with the triumphant music from the climax of Return of the Jedi as the second Death Star is destroyed and the first is attacked in A New Hope. The Battle of Hoth is seen as we realise the awesome might of the Galactic Empire.

"Anthony returns to remind us of the saga's two twins -- 'our only hope' and 'another' -- Luke and Leia. The concert piece Luke and Leia runs with images of brother and sister from the three films and highlights the close relationship between the two long-lost siblings.

"'Forest Battle' is the music on show in the next segment as the Battle of Endor rages on and above the forest moon. A concert piece included on the original releases of the soundtrack, this is interspersed with images of the Battle of Naboo and the Gungans fighting back, a very similar battle both thematically and structurally from The Phantom Menace.

"'Light of the Force' from Return of the Jedi plays alongside images of Vader's death on the second Death Star, and we are thrown back to scenes of Anakin from The Phantom Menace and shown again his downfall from Chosen One to redeemed Jedi Master. A very touching piece, the images were excellently chosen.

"We're on the last segment and Anthony Daniels addresses the crowd for the final time tonight and hoping that 'May the Force be with you'. 'The Throne Room' and 'End Titles' from A New Hope roars out alongside images of Vaders defeat of Palpatine and the galaxy celebrating. Another clever concert piece, this drops into 'The Birth of the Twins' and 'Padme's Destiny', the closing music from Revenge of the Sith before bowing out with poster images of all six films, the score's recording dates, images of George Lucas and John Williams together and a standing ovation from the 20,000 strong crowd. The orchestra and conductor took their bows, alongside Anthony and a very satisfied crowd began to filter out of the arena."

Thanks to Mark Newbold of and photographer Marilyn Kingwill of The Times in the UK.

Keywords: International, Musical Journey, Music

Filed under: Fans, Event News
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