For Christmas, Tara got us both tickets for Star Wars In Concert being held at the LG Arena at Birmingham NEC. Sheer joy for the absolute Geek residing at the very heart of my soul, it's basically the London Philharmonic Concert Orchestra playing much of the John Williams Star Wars soundtrack with accompanying footage on huge Hi-def screens in the background.
We turned up way too early in search of food to find that it being a Bank Holiday Friday much of the NEC was shut and not actually serving any food. We grabbed some fast food from inside the venue itself and had a brief bit of a wander around the foyer where there were a number of props on display - and way too many adults who should have known better dressed as Jedi for my liking.
The queue for food was a long and difficult one, not made easier by the fact that many, many Star Wars fans are loner smelly shut-ins with no concept of social interaction - You could see that the very act of speaking to the woman serving food was the first opportunity many of these people have had of speaking to females.
As you can see from the photograph accompanying this article, I wasn't going to humour any of the people who'd turned up in costume. I find the whole thing a little embarassing, to be honest. If the picture looks like I'm in my element and thoroughly enjoying having my photograph taken with two stormtroopers, the quality of it clearly doesn't do it justice - what may look like a huge cheesy grin is in fact a cynical sneer. Honest.
The concert itself? Mindblowing. The John Williams score for the Star Wars films is incredible enough, let alone seeing it being performed live by a hugely talented orchestra. From the opening of the main Star Wars theme to the encore of the Imperial March, the whole thing was thoroughly impressive. The footage on the hi-def screens concentrated a little too much on (spit) Episodes 1 to 3 for my liking, but it was bloody good nonetheless.
Anthony Daniels was narrating the whole thing, introducing each of the pieces of music. I can't stand him (and nor can Kenny Baker, based on comments I've read) but he did a good enough job. Overall, a fine geeky night out and a lovely late Christmas present.
By the way, the Stormtroopers in the photo above (who spent much of the evening selflessly posing for photographs with the public) are from the 501st UK Garrison, a fine organisation who do a great deal of Charity work for the NSPCC and the Make a wish foundation. The first I'd heard of them was a few years back in a lovely polite email with one of them asking if they could use my "Star Wars in 168k" GIF animation as an avatar. The email meant a lot because it was the first time anybody had actually asked, rather than just steal it. The majority of people who dress up at events like these are bell-ends who really need to get a life - these guys are different :)