Have You Watched a Movie in Concert?

On Friday I had the great pleasure of watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on the big screen, with the music provided by the St. Louis Symphony.

I’m not a musician, so while I enjoy the impact music has on movies, I’m usually not nearly as tuned into that aspect of a film as I am the acting, story, and direction. That’s why I love attending these live performances–it’s an in-my-face reminder of the sheer talent that goes into creating the music.

There were moments during the film where I found myself searching to see how, exactly, the sound I was hearing was being created. Sometimes the search was in vain, but it was much easier to do with the symphony there.

I also learned something new: There were several scenes in the movie where there’s no music at all. Apparently, as a musician friend pointed out, there probably is a little bit of music during those parts of the movie, but the musicians need breaks from time to time.

Also, I was reminded of how good Raiders of the Lost Ark is. It reminds me a bit of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back in that it’s essentially an extended chase, a format that seems to work really well on the big screen. Both of those movies were written by Lawrence Kasdan.

Have you ever watched a movie in concert? If not, which film would you like to experience in this way? I’d love to see Star Wars like this, and, taking it another direction, maybe some movies with classic soundtracks like Forrest Gump and Almost Famous.

9 thoughts on “Have You Watched a Movie in Concert?”

  1. Absolutely! My first (and so far only) experience was watching the first Harry Potter movie with a live orchestra about 6 months ago. My hubs and I will be going to see the second HP movie in 2 weeks and can hardly wait. My advice is this: see this sort of thing in a smaller theater. We decided against going to the SAP center (aka the Shark Tank) for a live Game of Thrones orchestra because, frankly, the acoustics there suck. The smaller local theater was fantastic. Plus there are no nosebleed seats or ridiculously long lines.

  2. I think I’ve posted on this before, anyhow I’ve now seen all 3 Lord of the Rings movies in this way spaced over a 3 year period, all amazing and I would go again in a second, loved the experience. I’d love to see the Indiana Jones movies, Star Wars ones too and maybe Back to the Future trilogy too.

    • Rupert: You may have–I posted a similar entry when I went to see The Matrix in this format several years ago. I hope our symphony offers The Fellowship of the Ring at some point.

  3. I haven’t, but it sounds like a cool experience.

    One thing I would note, however, is that this is how all movies used to be – Before the first talkies, films were shown with the cinema’s house musicians providing the music. Sometimes to their own scores, sometimes (I think) to scores provided by the people who made the film.

    As such… Probably a fairly modern dialogueless film or short, like The Snowman or its sequel, The Snowman and The Snowdog, for my preference, but if picking based on my opinion of the film and score itself… Hm. Really not sure.

    • Thanks for sharing, Stephen. I didn’t know that, but it makes sense that there was a time before Dolby Digital Surround Sound. 🙂

  4. I remember seeing The Matrix and feeling so bad because the harpist was just sitting there for most of the movie with nothing to do. The Matrix score isn’t exactly heavy on sounds like the harp. But there was this one dinner scene with Cypher and Agent Smith that features nothing but the harp, and for those 2 minutes, it was her time to shine. She whaled on that harp for the entire scene and then went back to sitting there for the rest of the movie!

    • I should have paid attention to the harpist during Raiders of the Lost Ark to see if the same thing happened. 🙂

  5. I would love to see the Game Of Thrones Live Concert. My friend went and he said it was stellar.

    Also, as you mentioned, just imagining the live Star Wars music gives me the shivers (that dark chord progression that plays everytime Darth Vader comes on screen gives me the chills all the way to the spine).


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