For a little while now, Pixar have been touring a new show across the US. Pixar in Concert brings the music of Pixar from its first 13 films to life by a full size orchestra and accompanies it with high definition moments from its corresponding movie.
Saturday, 21st February saw the UK premiere of Pixar in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. With the success of recent ventures such as West Side Story, Fantasia and The Artist in Concert, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra would ably take us on a journey from the first (Toy Story 1995) to the most recent (Brave 2012). Notably, the Monster’s University is missing but our guess is that this is due to the show’s creation being before the film’s release. But, there is no reason for this not to become an addition in the future.
Before I even get to the concert, for those of you that have never been to the Royal Albert Hall, the venue is spectacular. Having opened in 1871, it exudes the grandeur of the Victorian age while creating what is probably the most famous and perfect venue for event such as this. Having seen Fantasia in Concert at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham in December, the Royal Albert Hall far surpasses this and does nothing but add to the experience.
Pixar in Concert is a two hour journey through what is arguably some of the best film music ever created. I find it hard to express in the words the joy, emotion and excitement I felt as I sat and heard some of the most iconic motifs from each movie. I lost count within the first 10 minutes just how many times I felt goosebumps and I admit that there were times were I had a tear in my eye (the end of Toy Story 3 gets me every time!). For those of you that listen to the podcast, you know that its rare for me to be lost for words but attempting to describe the experience that is Pixar in Concert is hard, very hard. It’s an experience beyond words: a joy, a pleasure and a real treat to be able to hear the Philharmonic play with skill and ease. Their ability to switch from the soothing emotional music of WALL-E and to the big band feel of the Incredibles is not to be overlooked. Yes, there were moments when the music and visuals didn’t quite synch, but having a musical background it is probably the reason I noticed. To those who may not, the chances of it being obvious are pretty slim. But, having said that, it didn’t spoil the experience one tiny bit. Highlights for me included sequences from UP, The Incredibles and Toy Story 3. The music of Randy Newman, Thomas Newman, Patrick Doyle and Michael Giacchino has been superbly arranged and re-scored by the Pixar team to make sure that every memorable musical moment fits perfectly with the re-editied images from each classic film. Even after the last film played, you could see the audience wanting more. Many stayed in their seats hoping that it wasn’t the end, the rest stood and applauded this magnificent event.
If I have one complaint about the show, it is that I can’t go and see it again and again. At present, the two performances at the Royal Albert Hall are the only two scheduled. There are currently no other performances scheduled in the UK. It would be a crime for this superb production not to go on tour throughout the UK. It deserves to be seen by everyone from 1 to 91. This is a real family day out, a chance for everyone to appreciate the joy of Pixar in a new and different way. If it does return, get your ticket and get them quick. You will be hard pressed to find a more joyous 2 hours in your life.
To hear more about Pixar in Concert, listen to Episode 132 of the Disneybrit Podcast, due out Tuesday 25th February 2014.