Star Trek Live in Concert
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Royal International Convention Centre
February 7 2015
Reviewed by Michelle Bull
When I was little, we used to have an old wooden cabinet filled with VHS tapes (yes…VHS!) that I would meticulously arrange and rearrange on a weekly basis. This was partly because the cupboard had a rich wood polish smell that I weirdly loved and partly because I prided myself on my Anne of Green Gables and 1950’s musical collections. Sitting beside them, equally as impressive, were a collection of Star Wars and Star Trek videos that, thanks to my brother’s pre-teen ‘outer space phase’, were viewed in equal rotation on Friday and Saturday.
So it turned out that growing up amongst all this Sci-Fi I had unknowingly become more of a ‘Trekkie’ than I realised, which is why I jumped at the chance to see Star Trek Live in Concert a showing of the 2009 Science Fiction action film with Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack, performed live by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Upon entering the auditorium guided by a young Vulcan acting suspiciously like a Theatre Usher, an other-worldly blue light highlighted the faces of a room filled with the most eclectic crowd I’m sure QSO has seen to date.
An enormous screen was suspended behind the stage and as I surveyed the jam-packed audience I noticed a number of Vulcans and Star troopers filing into their seats. Feeling underdressed and resisting the temptation to giggle as the Star Trooper beside me gave a split fingered salute to a fellow officer, I realised this was serious business for some. I. Could. Not. Wait.
As the lights dimmed and a thunderous overture began my heart pounded as the musical and onscreen action began…at warp speed!
For those who have yet to experience a concert of this kind, the setup is that the film is shown on the large screen above the Orchestra as they perform the soundtrack, in perfect synchronisation to every moment in the film. That in itself wowed me, as every nuance seemed a perfect fit; my guess is Conductor Nicholas Buc has earned true Trekkie status with his intense study of the film by now!
This incredibly immersive experience is like no other as the score itself almost drags you from your seat and onto the Star Ship Enterprise. Filled with suspense and sudden changes of pace and dynamic, QSO handle the challenging score with an intense focus and sophistication. Emotional moments were made all the more tragic and it seems that as opposed to the score existing in the background to the drama it instead propelled the action onscreen and made it all the more powerful.
Although initially I gravitated to the more intimate moments, during which beautifully executed and haunting lines allowed the players to showcase their musical sensitivity, the rousing Overture (which drew spontaneous applause) was hard to deny as a standout moment. Especially when a young audience member ahead of me (who couldn’t have been more then 8yrs old), literally sat bouncing in his seat as he alternated between playing ‘air-trombone’ and conducting passionately as the Star Ships battled it out in explosions of light and fire!
Queensland Symphony Orchestra have clearly reached new audiences and excited their current patrons with Star Trek Live in Concert. I do hope the season returns to Brisbane as I am sure there are more Trekkies out there who are yet to experience the magic QSO bring to this cult classic.
Live Long and Prosper QSO!