The Walmart AMP is still located right off I-49 exit 82, but last Saturday it was taken to a galaxy far, far away, if only for one night, as it hosted Star Wars: A New Hope in Concert. And yes, it was exactly what it sounds like – a screening of the original 1977 classic that launched arguably the greatest and most successful entertainment franchise in modern history, alongside a live performance of John Williams’s iconic score by a live orchestra featuring members of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.
The ambience was especially nice, since there were Stormtroopers, Jawas, and all sorts of other Star Wars characters represented in stellar, remarkably detailed costumes and delighting fans of all ages, from the lifelong devotees who have been obsessed with the Force for over 40 years, to the many children at the family-friendly event.
There weren’t a lot of surprises, of course, since doubtlessly most, if not all attendees were seeing A New Hope for the umpteenth time, though it was a bit disappointing that the iconic Mos Eisley cantina music was not played live. Still, aside from that little quibble, the orchestral performance was dead-on and if it weren’t for the large group of people visible on-stage, there would be no way to distinguish between whether or not a live concert was taking place, or the AMP was simply a great place to watch a movie with a superb sound system.
Even with the recent phenomenon of post credits scenes in Marvel movies and such, most folks probably don’t pay much attention, much less consider the end scroll as a highlight of their movie watching experience. That wasn’t the case Saturday, as the performers had one of their biggest opportunities of the evening to shine, and they took full advantage of it, delivering a particularly fiery ending of “The Throne Room and End Title” to raucous applause and a standing ovation.
Overall, it was a different experience than the typical AMP event and a great way to spend an evening. There are a few similar shows coming up this year, such as the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience on Wednesday, September 25, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert on Saturday, October 12. If you’re a fan of either of those franchises or simply a fan of live orchestra, you’ll probably have a really great time if you attend.