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Made another whirlwind trip down to Sydney yesterday.  What can I say?  Sydney keeps having awesome events that just happen to be on my bucket list.  

The event in question?  



Again, I can't shake that suspicion that somebody has been reading my diary and making all of my wildest dreams come true.  A John Williams concert is awesome in itself, but one hosted by Shaun Micallef?  This is right up there with that Professor Layton versus Phoenix Wright crossover.

I went with one of my flatmates, who is also a big fan of John Williams's soundtracks.  We left bright and early in the morning, and made it to Sydney a couple of hours before the concert.  This time wound up eaten mostly by King's Comics and Books Kinokuniya.  This was hazardous.  I wound up walking out with a stack of books - some new Japanese reference books, as well as the first volume of Otomen (which I am now addicted to, clearly I have been starved of decent shoujo manga), and The Psycopath Test (Book written by the same author as The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Lost In Transit: The Strange Story of the Philip K. Dick Android.  I came terribly close to walking out without stacks more.  There is a linear relationship between how much time I spend in a book store and how many books I will leave with.

Then I introduced her to the awesome that is Pepper Lunch, and we made the customary 85 degrees C visit.  In addition to cake, we tried out these things called ingots.



They're quite simple, really - pikelets wrapped around a dollop of custard.  But these are the lightest, fluffiest, most delicious pikelets I have ever eaten.  These are pikelets fit for the King of All Cosmos.

We promptly finished the whole box of four, then went back, and bought two more boxes to bring home.  -__-

There was a gay marriage rally happening in Town Hall Square we joined for a while (although there seemed to be some other protests going on at the same time, so that was a bit confusing).  Then it was a power walk to the Opera House for the concert.

Look, I'm just going to reuse an Opera House photo from a previous visit.  



It looked exactly the same as this, except there were cosplayers!  Who I unfortunately did not get pictures of, because we arrived with only ten minutes to spare.  But there was little girl dressed as Princess Leia which was the cutest thing ever (and an equally adorable little Darth Vadar), and a sand person!  A couple of generic Jedi wandering the floor too.

Had fantastic seats, only five rows back, dead centre.  And I'm pleased to say that Shaun Micallef is as amusing live as he is on TV.

THE SETLIST:

Olympic Fanfare - written for the 1984 Olympics, I was more familiar with the 1996 Atlanta Games version, so it was nice to hear the original!  You actually feel like the Olympics are starting when you listen to this piece of music.

Theme from Lost In Space - Shortest piece of the set, highly enjoyable, though I cannot remember the television show to save my life.

Theme from Jaws - You wouldn't expect this to be that exciting as a full piece, but there was more complexity to the Jaws Theme than I recalled.  

Highlights from Close Encounters of the Third Kind - a tediously boring movie, with a much more interesting soundtrack.

Adventures on Earth - Concert suite from E.T. (The Extra-Terrestrial) - Very nostalgic, made me want to watch E.T. again.  Though the middle section had the effect of lulling me to sleep like a particularly pleasant lullaby, when the main motif swelled towards the end all I could see was a bicycle soaring in front of the moon.

Theme from Schindler's List - This piece of music is singularly moving and it is very important to never ever listen to it when feeling sad or depressed.  The solo violin was performed beautifully.

The Raiders March from Raiders of the Lost Ark - Everyone knows the Indiana Jones theme, right?  Sydney Symphony didn't put a single note wrong.

Theme from Jurassic Park - They did however, get some of the timing slightly off with this piece, though honestly, you would only notice if you'd listened to the theme a hundred times before.

Theme from Superman - Shaun Micallef has ruined this forever, as I will now be hearing 'Is it a bird, is it a plane, it's Su-per-man!' with every stab of the motif. XD  This performance I could not fault at all.

INTERMISSION.

The second half started with the March from 1941 - I hadn't even heard of this movie, it was a military piece with a sort of Hogan's Heroes feel to it.  Turned out Steven Spielberg directed the movie, will have to check it out somtime.

Then Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter - I could have listened to this for the whole two hours.  They did a stunning job with this.  I'd heard it performed by the local Pops orchestra before, but it wasn't anything so close to being so perfect and magical.

Sayuri's Theme from Memoir's of a Geisha - this was a beautiful rendition of Sayuri's theme, and such a departure from John William's usual style, a wonderful meld of asian style with orchestral instruments.  Proof that even after sixty years of writing music, he still has something completely new to offer.

Then, for the final run... Highlights from Star Wars.  This section in particular was executed flawlessly, and fulfilled a lifelong dream to hear live.  The very first soundtrack I saved up to buy with my own money was the two-disc special edition of Star Wars: A New Hope.  I still have that CD today.

They started off with the Main Title, and dropped the concert hall into darkness... and then the conductor lit up a lightsaber, and conducted the first few notes with it before the lights rose and he continued as normal.  Too awesome for words.

The Imperial March was of course next, and the bar staff came out dressed as a very convincing Darth Vadar accompanied by a retinue of Stormtroopers.

Then Princess Leia's Theme.

Then the Catina Band Theme!  True fact - I can listen to this music loop for hours at a time for months on end and not get sick of it.  I know this because I have in fact done this.

They finished off with the Throne Room and End Titles.  And so concluded an absolutely mind-blowing concert.

My only complaint is that there wasn't more.  The encore was only a quick reprise of the Superman theme.  :(

Maybe for the best, because then we had to race back to the airport to catch our flight home!  Which was interesting in itself, as our seatmate who arrived at the last minute confessed she'd just been in a car accident on her way there and very probably had a concussion, so we kept her awake and talking for the whole flight home.  Fortunately she was a fairly interesting person able to hold a conversation without much prodding, who had in fact spent a year on exchange in Japan so there was a heap of conversational material right there.  We saw her safely to the baggage collection and into a cab on the other end, hopefully she went to a doctor after that.

Sydney - where all the awesome things happen.  Until a couple of weeks from now, when all the awesome things will be happening in Melbourne.

Comments

( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
swyrel
Aug. 14th, 2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
Glad you had fun! I wish things like that would come near where I live. :(
yukitsukihana
Aug. 14th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
Duuude, that sounds awesome. Though I don't know who Shaun Micallef is, sadly.

I say the encore should have been Duel of Fates. That is by far my favorite song from Star Wars, and also my favorite John Williams song not yet played.

Ohoho? What is happening in Melbourne? And will you post pictures again?
sinnatious
Aug. 15th, 2011 10:51 am (UTC)
Micallef's a television comedian who's quite popular and very well-known in Australia, but doubtful anyone outside of the country would know who he is. He used to do a lot of skit shows and variety shows, but at the moment he hosts a celebrity quiz show that's not altogether unlike some of the weird stuff that turns up on Japanese TV.

YES, that would have been a fantastic encore! Alas, they didn't have a choir along for that. I would have been ecstatic if they 'Battle of the Heroes' too :( - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST1t2mBkykA

Anime convention! Manifest. Yes, I will certainly post pictures, though I expect it will mostly be of cosplay, and I'll probably friends-lock it. Are you interested in that at all? If so, I'll make sure you're added.
yukitsukihana
Aug. 17th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
Ooh, yes, please. I like cosplay photos :3 gives me inspiration (for costumes I'll never make ahaha...)

Huh. For some reason, that youtube link didn't work. But I found it anyway. And yes, that would have been nice... Climactic music is always amazing~
firedraygon97
Aug. 14th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Too awesome. :D I love the songs and wish I could hear them live, too. I shall have to live vicariously through you, haha.

(btw for future posts, I must say I love how you linked the Schindler's List Theme)
sinnatious
Aug. 15th, 2011 10:53 am (UTC)
(XD I should trawl youtube for examples of all the tracks in the future? This is a good and strangely obvious idea, and yet, I suspect laziness may defeat me here.)
firedraygon97
Aug. 15th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
(Well, not all...haha, just kidding. If you only do it once in a while, it becomes more special. XP)
agentlerain
Aug. 15th, 2011 03:52 am (UTC)
Ah man, that list ROCKS. Once again I am facepalming at how little I know of John Williams' work and guh, there's soso much that I'd love to hear. Tbh, I know these themes a lot more than Final Fantasy, haha.

And eeeeh, awesome person to meet on the plane! (It is surprisingly fun to talk to strangers when you are stuck together for long distance things. :D)

MELBOURNE, OH GODS. My life will be so quiet after this month finishes. ♥

Edited at 2011-08-15 03:52 am (UTC)
sinnatious
Aug. 15th, 2011 11:08 am (UTC)
Don't feel bad! John Williams has written so, so many soundtracks it is impossible to know all of his discography. XD And MOST people know more of these themes than Final Fantasy (and to be fair, they are more deserving). Actually kind of amazing there haven't been more John Williams concerts, actually. (Last one I remembered was years and years ago before I had a job, I thought I'd missed out forever!)

XD It would have been fun if it wasn't kind of alarming! I'm not so sure getting on a plane with a probable concussion is a very responsible thing to do...

♥ Haha, it's fun, isn't it? WHAT NEXT FOR YOU AFTER MANIFEST? Just studying? (Probably for the best...) September's going to be crazy for me too, because the Brisbane festival starts right after I get back from Manifest and there's whole buckets of awesome going around then.
agentlerain
Aug. 16th, 2011 05:58 am (UTC)
I've never even heard of a John Williams concert until you mentioned this one. But damn, I'd love to have gone too. ;;

Probably not, but if I had a ticket and I needed to be somewhere, I'd probably still hop on. :|

Haha, yes, just studying. Maybe a short road trip closer to November with my old music friends, but besides that nothing very big? At least not until Wai next year! *_* YOU HAVE TO POST ABOUT ALL THIS AWESOME IN BRISBANE, Y/Y? I will have to live vicariously through you. :D
azdvmc
Aug. 15th, 2011 04:54 am (UTC)
That's awesome! The SSO =D! The setlist looks similar to the one that the MSO played in Melbourne ^^ but cool, Shaun Micallef!

There's nothing like watching an orchestra play!
sinnatious
Aug. 15th, 2011 11:10 am (UTC)
The setlist for these John Williams concerts never seems to change! I was happy with all of the choices, but it would also have been nice to hear some other pieces too.

I know, right?! Nothing beats the richness of the sound you get hearing it live.
link621
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:04 am (UTC)
God, I would kill to go to this. John Williams is ♥

(somehow this has become the most relevant icon I have...)
sinnatious
Aug. 20th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
That was pretty much my reaction when I heard about the concert. ♥

Haha, that's an awesome icon.
teekoness
Aug. 19th, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
So awesome! Why do all the cool things happen in Australia? I really need to visit one of these days.

...okay, maybe some interesting things do happen in Vancouver, but if they did I couldn't afford them so it's better to complain instead.
sinnatious
Aug. 20th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
But you could afford to visit Australia instead? XD

Actually, I shouldn't point out that contradiction. Come visit! Clearly we have all the cool things.
teekoness
Aug. 21st, 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
Well Australia's on my list of places to go. If I do, maybe we can both crash some geeky convention. As I can do a barely passable Canadian accent, I might go as Canada from Hetalia.
sinnatious
Aug. 22nd, 2011 08:29 am (UTC)
Haha, that would be awesome.

I'll go along as Austria, since there is no Australia yet.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )