So this weekend saw the UK premier of the Star Trek Live In Concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall and I was privileged to be there in person.
I have had the tickets for just under a year now, with the excitement building daily until finally, Thursday 29th May rolled around. I travelled to London with my friend Neil where we had arranged a meet-up of around 20 other excited Trekkies for a pre-show meal and drinks, including Joanna, Zoe, Martin, Greg, Rajaa, Andrew, Liam, George and Ben. Once done, we started the short walk over to the world famous venue, the rain just about keeping itself at bay. Once inside we all became awestruck at the size of the hall – it’s massive, and we happened to have some of the best seats in the house…row 16 seat 16 – awesome view of the orchestra stage and the huge cinema screen that hung above them.
15 minutes before the show was due to start, the official photographer of the Royal Albert Hall approached us for a Star Trek photo shoot with as many people in costume as possible – which we gladly participated in – making us the celebrity draw for 10 minutes at least, with other guests clambering over each other to get a photo of us. (You can see us on the official Royal Albert Hall website and Star Trek.com)
Then to thunderous applause, the orchestra – The 21st Century Orchestra – made it’s way on stage followed by the choir. Shivers down the spine then ensued with the appearance of Scotty himself, Simon Pegg who talked about how important the score is to a movie.
He then introduced the man himself, the composer of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Michael Giacchino who received a standing ovation even before the movie had began. He spoke of his childhood dream of making movies and how he came to know JJ Abrams and his offer of scoring a TV series for him, citing this as another of his dream vocations.
And then to really treat us all, Giacchino introduced JJ Abrams to the stage, the audience going wild at the spectacle, where he partially agreed with Peggs earlier statement and explaining how the process of scoring a movie happens.
Next up on stage was the composer for the event, Ludwig Wicki, the Swiss master of live movie score performances such as Lord Of The Rings and Gladiator.
The lights dimmed and Ludwig started to sway his arms. The opening score then bagan as the huge screen came to life with the opening title cards and then the magical moment of the USS Kelvin being seen for the first time.
The audience applauded, the chills now shooting up and down the spine, and as the movie gets going we all relax and take in the sights and sounds seamlessly performed together.
Vulcan has just been destroyed, the perfect reflective moment for an interval, where the entire audience stood to applaud the faultless efforts of the orchestra and choir. Time for a quick refreshment ready for part two, where this time, Ludwick changed from his formal dress to a Captain Kirk command uniform top, which delighted all.
The second half of the movie was a flawless as the first, and once the final scene of the movie had finished the audience applauded so loud, they nearly drowned out the start of the end credit score – but not quite. Sporadic appaluse also befell on the names of Simon Pegg, Leonard Nimoy, Michael Giacchino and of course JJ Abrams as they were rolling on the screen and then we all sat back once again until the entire end credits finished where a standing ovation of over 5 minutes ensued.
Michael Giacchino again appeared on stage, where it took a few minutes for the audience to finish another round of applause before yet another treat came our way. Giacchino expalined his love for another sci-fi series he loved as a kid, Planet of the Apes, and as he has been tasked with scoring the upcoming instalment of the movie franchise, personally conducted the orchestra on a five minute piece from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – again followed by thunderous applause.
With the end of the evening upon us, we hung around the lobby of the Royal Albert Hall, meeting up with fellow Trekkies old and new, and mingling with some of the awesome choir who wanted to be photographed with some of Starfleet’s finest.
A small group of us headed to the stage door with the hope of at least seeing Michael Giacchino for a quick autograph. 40 minutes after being told that an after show party was being held until 1am and that chances of seeing him were slim, JJ Abrams exited the building and was all too happy to sign autographs and pose for photos. I myself settled for an autograph on my programme cover but a couple of my friends managed a photo too.
20 minuted later, Simon Pegg wowed us all, spending at least 20 minutes chatting, signing and posing for us all, where he added his signature to my programme and posed in a photo with me. Ecstatic!
And a short time later Giacchino made an appearance, stating he was shocked we were still waiting around for him. He was very gracious with his time and agreed to both an autograph and photo – 3 out of 3 – WOW.
The total experience was magical, in fact, it’s so good that going to the cinema will never be the same again. Every movie should have the chance of it’s score being played live.
Any negatives to the show? Absolutely not!!
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to Into Darkness, but a few of my friends did and were happy to share some photos – thanks.