I am a Star Wars fan.
I am able to say that now with full conviction and am somewhat proud to do so.
I am a child of the 70s, and I was 9 years old in 1977 when what kids know now as Star Wars: Episode IV was released. I was the proud owner of a Millennium Falcon, (two actually, one die-cast and the one you could play with the little doll…err…action figures in), so you can imagine my considerable interest in seeing Star Wars: In Concert on Tuesday night.
Billed as "a multimedia retelling of the Star Wars Trilogy" the concert would feature highlights of all 6 Star Wars movies on an immense LED-HD screen, laser light and fog effects and an 80-piece orchestra and 30-voice choir. And as if that weren’t enough, a traveling exhibit of movie props would be strewn about the venue in order for fans to almost drown in their admiration for George Lucas’ space opera.
My inner geek’s cup runneth over.
So off I went to the BOK Center to pay homage to George’s life’s work. For all my admiration my Star Wars journey wasn’t without a little trepidation. After all, having suffered through several sci-fi conventions in my teenage and young adult years, I was expecting to see many concertgoers dressed in character and vigorously discussing how the original light saber battle between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi looked so out of date compared to the near ninja-like moves of the more recent films.
Rest assured, I was not disappointed. Thankfully, most of those who decided to come in costume were children, and a lot of that could be attributed to the show’s close proximity to Halloween, and admittedly the kids looked cute. This is not to say that there wasn’t the odd adult female with oversized cinnamon rolls affixed to her head among the crowd, but unfortunately, no slave-girl bikinis. Alas.
The exhibit was in a word, disappointing. Darth Vader and Chewbacca’s costumes were on display, along with various hand weapons, but that was about it. I was expecting a lot more of the movie props to be on display than what were out on the BOK Center concourse. I guess it wasn’t too surprising that most of the memorabilia was placed close to souvenir stands, but that was just a coincidence, right?
Anyway, the story of the night was, of course, the presentation inside the arena, so I found my seat and prepared to be dazzled. The stage took advantage of the BOK’s 3/4 theater seating, with an oversized stage and huge screens both behind the orchestra pit and suspended above it. The show began with the familiar "a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away", and the opening bars of the Star Wars theme thundered around the arena. It was a sight to behold…John Williams’ soundtrack work is always stirring, but the visual presentation really brought out the mood of the music.
Providing narration between musical numbers was , the actor known for performing C-3PO in all 6 movies. His clipped British accent and flawless execution and interpretation of the music to come and the storyline were brilliant. If any other actor from the movies were to have done the show…other than James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader…it wouldn’t have had the same effect. Tip of the hat to Mr. Daniels, because he made the evening’s performance for this concertgoer.
The show ended with a flourish of laser lights, fire effects and the huge sound from the orchestra. The encore was The Imperial March, and the video screens featured the musicians instead of the scenes from the movie we had been bombarded with in the show, and that was a nice touch.
All in all, it was a good evening to spend getting some culture. The crowd applauded its appreciation, and the show was well received. For all the hype,, the show was a celebration of all that Star Wars is and might be. Hard to believe that it was considered a "low budget" film when it first came out, but big things always start small.
Well done, Mr. Lucas. May the…Oh, never mind…
Photos: Kevin Pyle