So something a little different from me today as I’m going to be writing about an event I attended Sunday night with a family member – A New Hope live in concert!
This was something that we heard about by complete luck with my family member (let’s say my cousin as it’s easier and close enough) finding the event was coming up at Arena Birmingham (the old NIA) when looking at other events. He is also a big Star Wars fan and my companion to the cinema whenever one of the new movies comes out, so he guessed that a nut like me would be keen. Now live music or trips to the cinema (other than for Star Wars) are very low on my list of priorities, but there was no way I was turning down the chance to go to this!
With us living in Gloucester and the event in Birmingham, we left in the middle of the afternoon to drive up and ensure that we wouldn’t need to worry about traffic making us late. Safe to say there was plenty of Star Wars chat on the way! Luckily my cousin had much more knowledge of the area than I do, and we were parked right next to the arena with a couple of hours to spare to get food.
Doors opened about an hour before the show started. We got their about 20 minutes after the doors opened and though there was a queue, it was not a long one and it moved quickly as people had their tickets checked and passed through security. We’d paid £50 a ticket for some of the cheaper seats, up towards the top and off to the side – we weren’t that far from being the furthest from the centre, but the view was still great and it did not cause any issues with being able to see the footage on the big screen. My one complaint is that the seats aren’t necessarily the comfiest if sat in them for a considerable amount of time, especially if there are people either side so you can’t stretch your legs, but it was not enough to detract from the experience.
The show itself is split into 2 parts with an intermission of about 20 minutes in the middle, the split coming as the Millennium Falcon is pulled into the Death Star Hangar. Only a couple of the food and drink stands near us were open during this intermission which led to long queues, but again the staff did a great job of keeping the queues moving and we were able to do everything we needed and get back to our seats with a couple of minutes to spare. Before and after the show, as well as during the intermission, there was a shop selling memorabilia including a programme and a number of different t-shirt designs.
As for the show itself, it was wonderful! It is no different to watching the film in a large cinema, except that the score has been removed from the film and there is an orchestra – in this case Novello Orchestra – underneath the screen performing the score. As a result, this means that you can still enjoy the film as normal, but as there are some moments where the live music is louder than usual in the film there were some lines that I was unable to hear, so I would not recommend this as a first ever viewing of the film.
What was great about watching the movie on a big screen for the first time since I was a tiny child over 20 years ago is that I was able to pick up on some things I would not usually be able to notice so well watching on my TV at home, so it helped me really appreciate the detail in the movie. More than that, getting to hear such wonderful music live brought it to life in a completely new way and I’m not ashamed to admit I found myself getting emotional hearing Leia’s theme while watching the hologram. Getting to focus on the music was wonderful as it allowed me to pay attention to music in scenes that I have never really noticed I before, like during the initial fight in the detention block before Luke meets Leia, and I was also able to pick up on some of the moments that Michael Giacchino then adapted for his score of Rogue One. What this viewing really shocked me with as well is just how often the film has protracted scenes without there being any score, yet the dialogue and the sound effects do not make you feel like anything is missing – even in big scenes like Obi-Wan’s fight with Vader and a large portion of the Battle of Yavin, which then makes the film feel even better when the score returns to punctuate the big moments.
On the way to Birmingham, part of our discussion in the care surrounded how I would rank the movies. My rankings have changed a little since my post ahead of the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story but my top 4 going into last night were (from 1 to 4) The Empire Strikes Back, A New Hope, Rogue One and Solo. I was pretty certain that A New Hope could fall below both Rogue One and Solo within a couple of years as I saw the newer films more, but having got the chance to really appreciate this film again last night, I think that it may still eventually drop below Rogue One, but even that is less certain now, while I will be surprised if Solo rises above it.
Would I recommend attending if you ever get a chance? Definitely! I’ll be watching the film again on ITV next weekend and I don’t think it will feeling anywhere near as amazing! If I see the chance to do something similar with the other movies, I will definitely try to take the chance.
Thanks for reading and May the Force be with you…