Music News

Anthony Daniels Seeks a New Hope with "Star Wars in Concert"

Anthony Daniels does not speak Bocce. He is not fluent in over 6 million forms of communication nor is protocol his primary function. He's just an actor known for playing one of the most recognizable robots in cinematic history: C-3PO.

It turns out that the one trait he does share with his goldenrod-colored counterpart (other than a British accent and flamboyancy) is the ability to spin a good story, whether it be about an interstellar war fought a long time ago in a galaxy far away or the time he filmed a Star Wars cereal commercial.

"They had to put hair dryers in my suit, it was so cold," he said.

On Sunday, October 4, Daniels (minus the C-3PO suit) will retell one of the greatest space operas when he narrates "Star Wars in Concert" at Arena.

"If you take the elements of it — which are an orchestra, a big screen, special edited films, lasers, huge lighting displays, huge sound rig, a choir, a conductor, and Anthony Daniels narrating in a big place with LED curtains — it sounds like [just] a bunch of stuff," Daniels said. "When it's put together, then it is genuinely overwhelming."

"Star Wars in Concert" is a 90-minute performance in which key scenes from the six Star Wars films are woven together around a central theme or characters — like the dark side of the Force or Darth Maul (Daniels' favorite character).

Accompanying the concert is an exhibit of Star Wars props and costumes. Full costumes for Jedi Masters Kit Fisto and Plo Koon will be on display, but chances are that if you know enough about Star Wars to care who those characters are, you've probably already assembled movie-accurate costumes of your own. Daniels says there will even be a gleaming C-3PO costume on display, "in a glass case, so I can't put it on, thank goodness. Imagine the heat outside."

Tying the exhibit to the concert will be the handwritten sheet music, touched by the god-like hands of Star Wars composer John Williams, for the score of Episode I — The Phantom Menace.

"To think that he wrote it all and I know how many notes there are. There are a lot of notes in this stuff."

But simply knowing that Daniels has an appreciation for music doesn't answer the question lingering in our geeky minds: What does Anthony Daniels, the living embodiment of C-3PO, listen to on his iPod?

"There's a couple of Queen CDs. There is a lot of Chopin Nocturnes. Quite a lot of Enya. I think you're getting the idea," he said.

It's an eclectic mix, but a purposeful one that reflects Daniels' desire to listen to music that evokes strong emotions in the listener.

"I think a lot of Queen's lyrics are quite deep, but a lot of pop music isn't — it's a facile tune and a rhythm and that's it," Daniels said. "With John Williams' music, believe me, there is a whole sub-structure that you can go into. The instruments talking to each other, the dynamics of the music, the swapping over of roles, the answering back, the emotion that the orchestral sound gives you. That's what John Williams provides to Star Wars, the enormous emotional power to a scene. Without it, frankly, it's not there."

As for his fans and fans of Star Wars, in general, Daniels has a new hope: "I want people to come to this concert in the hope that they might go to another concert that's not Star Wars. That it's okay to come to a concert and you don't have to dress up or anything."

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Jonathan McNamara