Star Wars: In Concert
; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 15
; Amway Arena
A short time from now, in an arena not so far, far away, sci-fi fans will flock together like mynocks on a power cable to worship at the altar of John Williams. Star Wars: In Concert arrives May 15, deploying a live orchestra and choir, a massive LED high-definition screen and actor Anthony "C-3PO" Daniels (in the flesh but not in the gold suit) to deliver the music that binds the George Lucas galaxy together like you've never heard it before.
Don't let your weak mind be clouded by the symphonic experience, nor by the accompanying exhibit of screen-seen props and costumes: Something is missing here. Sure, you're guaranteed to hear cinema-score classics like "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)," "Princess Leia's Theme" and "Duel of the Fates" (aka the only memorable cue from the prequel films). But that's just scratching the surface of Star Wars soundtracks. Check your musical midi-chlorian count by seeing how many vanished vinyl treasures you remember from this list of lost Star Wars songs. Just don't go shouting for any of these tunes at either of Saturday's Amway Arena shows, like they were "Freebird." Try it and Lucasfilm lawyers will drag you off to the Spice Mines of Kessel before you ;can say "sarlacc."
The countdown begins.
No. 5: "Yub Nub" (official title "Ewok Celebration")
When the CGI-enhanced special edition of the original Star Wars was released in 1997, fans lined up around the block to see Han Solo shoot Greedo first and step on Jabba the Hutt's poorly rendered tail. By the time the special edition Return of the Jedi was released, fans mostly yawned. But Jedi's revision consigned to the memory hole an unforgettable moment from the saga's most-maligned characters. With an infectious beat and timeless lyrics ("Yub nub, eee chop yub nub/Ah toe meet toe peechee keene/G'noop dock fling oh ah."), the Ewoks' sing-along celebration of Death Star Jr.'s destruction was one of few scenes that spotlighted those merchandise-ready midgets that made sense, story-wise. "Yub Nub" may be gone (replaced by an uninspired instrumental that dovetails awkwardly with the closing credits), but it will live on in our hearts.
No. 4: "Lapti Nek"
Another casualty of Jedi's special-edition redactions was the original number performed by Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band, house entertainers at Jabba the Hutt's palace. For the re-release, the funky early-'80s tune "Lapti Nek" was tossed in favor of "Jedi Rocks," an over-produced anachronistic dollop of late-'90s dreck. Worse, Sy herself was mangled in a CGI "enhancement" that eliminated one of her mouths, and she was upstaged by a new character created solely to stick his tonsils in the camera. Snootles never recovered from the humiliation and soon left show business; the elephantine Rebo changed his name to "Hooter" and got a gig as Michael Jackson's keyboardist – see him in "Captain EO," returning to Epcot this summer.
No. 3: "Goodnight, but Not Goodbye"
The infamous 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special is warmly remembered for the cartoon introduction of Boba Fett, bitchin' Kenner toy commercials and absolutely nothing else. Co-written by Bruce Vilanch with George Lucas' assent but not involvement, the widely bootlegged boondoggle was broadcast only once. Low points in the excruciating ordeal include Mark Hamill wearing way too much eyeliner and an hour of dialogue in nonsubtitled Wookiee grunts. But it's the soundtrack that elevates the Holiday Special to the realm of pure evil: Carrie Fisher caterwauling her way through a nondenominational hymn set to the Star Wars theme song, Jefferson Starship slogging through "Light the Sky On Fire" on a psychedelic set; Diahann Carroll giving an inappropriately sexualized serenade to Chewbacca's father, Itchy. The only song in this two-hour train wreck that you might actually want to seek out is "Goodnight, But Not Goodbye," Bea Arthur's rousing cabaret-esque turn as Ackmena, night bartender of the Mos Eisley Cantina. Reportedly, Arthur had no clue the scene was Star Wars–related when she shot it. Maybe that's why she's the only one (Harrison Ford looked humiliated) who comes off unembarrassed.
No. 2: "R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
You'd think that after the Holiday Special debacle George would have learned to leave Xmas alone. But in 1980 he approved the release of Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album, an entire LP based on the premise that C-3PO and R2-D2 work in Santa's toy shop when they aren't battling the Empire. The album was produced by Meco Monardo (best known for his disco remixes on Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk) and features nine songs written by a pre-Nine Maury Yeston. Anthony Daniels patters his way through the title track like a robotic Rex Harrison, and a Jawa chorus jabbers out "What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)?" But the real gem is "R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas" with lead vocals provided by the sound engineer's kid cousin, a 17-year-old floor sweeper named John Bongiovi – later Jon Bon Jovi.
No 1. "You Are My Lucky Star" and "When You Wish Upon a Star" medley
Today, thanks to corporate synergy between Lucasfilm and Disney, you can walk into the theme parks and purchase mashups between Star Wars, the Muppets and the Mouse – I've seen Kermit Skywalker and Fozzie Solo action figures for sale. But back in January 1980, when Luke, 3PO and R2 blasted their way into the Muppet Theater dressing room, the explosion ripped a hole in the pop-culture time-space continuum. Watch Hamill get deliriously meta, appearing both as his Jedi character (in brown Bespin fatigues four months before Empire's release) and as himself, aka "Luke's cousin." The "Pigs in Space" episode is best remembered for the Swine Trek vessel and Gonzo as the villainous, hook-nosed "Dearth Nadir." For the grand finale, The Muppets and Star Wars casts united for a star-themed medley, climaxing in a chorus of the Pinocchio perennial, "When You Wish Upon a Star." Watching Hamill and Daniels dance with puppets while a cardboard Cinderella Castle wobbles in the background, one can only wonder "Where was the Force (or their talent agents) when they agreed to do this?"; email@example.com
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