After successfully touring North America and Europe over the last couple of years the ‘Star Wars: In Concert‘ team finally rolled into Tokyo town last night to play a set of dates to the Japanese fans at Tokyo International Forum in Yurakucho.
My friend David (a.k.a. ‘the べすとーkid’) and I arrived well ahead of its 7 o’clock start and the place was already busy with a massive queue for the merchandise store and a few photo opportunities with a load of stormtroopers and clone troopers. There were also a big group of cosplayers (Vader, Stormtroopers, Emperor Paplatine, Royal Guard etc) but the crowds and lines for photos among them was way too much effort, especially for someone like me who has seen and done it all before at ‘Star Wars Celebration Japan‘ back in 2008.
The show really draws on John Williams’ scores from the series and this is what really gives the saga its lungs. I can’t say I noticed the soundtrack on my first viewing of the original trilogy in the early-mid 80’s but that sure changed when I re-watched them on rental video back in the mid 90’s. This show wasn’t in chronological order but was laid out by way of different themes exploring the relationship of characters such as Luke and Leia and the power of the force.
Following the THX sound theme and the 20th Century Fox fanfare the main Star Wars theme kicked in with dazzling montages of re-edited scenes from all six films on the enormous screens with laser lighting and even fireballs at one point. Having been watching the video clips it actually took me a few moments to realise that the music was of course all being played live and therein lies the problem for me as it was so perfectly close to what you hear in the films that I did feel I was just watching an assembly of different themed video edits.
The man introducing each musical passage on-stage was non other than C3P0 actor Anthony Daniels and boy did he milk the applause particularly at the end where the scheduled encore of the ‘Imperial March’ led to such rapturous applause from the crowd that they (supposedly) did something they’ve never done and played one more tune which had the conductor Mark Watters flicking through his music trying to decide what the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra would finally finish the nights proceedings with. I particularly enjoyed the encores as they were free of film scenes and we actually got to see the musicians at work on the big screen which was much needed as we were sat on the second last row high up in the stands. Being able to concentrate on different instruments such as the harp and the grand piano and how they weaved in to the score was interesting to see.
Ultimately though I don’t really feel it was worth the 8800 yen for the ticket which was the most expensive one. ‘The べすとーkid’ said our seats at the back were probably more expensive due to the sound being better and that was probably true but it probably didn’t justify our outlay in costs. Oh well, its only money and I am glad that I did go of course and it was a delight to see the two kids in front of us really enjoy the occasion.
Part I: THX Crescendo/20th Century Fox Fanfare/Main Title/Blockade Runner; Duel of the Fates; Anakin’s Theme; The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler; The Flag Parade; Across the Stars; Battle of the Heroes; The Imperial March.
Part II: Asteroid Field; Leia’s Theme; Tales of a Jedi Knight/Cantina Band; Yoda’s Theme; Tie Fighter Attack; Luke & Leia; Forest Battle; Light of the Force; Throne Room/End Credits
Encore: The Imperial March
Bonus Encore: Throne Room/End Credits