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Written by John L DiMeo
Published on July 17, 2003

John Williams Concert
- July 15th, 2003
Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia

I went to the Mann last night to see John Williams conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra. It was great.

The first half was a little slow, but still entertaining. They played his "Liberty Fanfare", music from "The Cowboys", and a suite of songs from JFK.

After the break they came out and played music from "Hook" and followed that with a very impressive suite from "Far and Away". That was actually probably one of the highlights of the show.

They then performed a suite from the Harry Potter movies that lasted nearly 17 minutes. It was good, but I thought a bit too much time was dedicated to it.

After Potter, Williams spoke to the audience about his great relationship with Spielberg and then performed the theme from "Schindler's List" with an impressive violin solo from (I assume) a very famous violinist who's name I didn't recognize.

As soon as that ended, they immediately plunged into main theme from Star Wars. Besides a few minor claps at the beginning of Harry Potter's suite, this was the only time the audience became vocal while they were playing. Many cheered right through the first 5-10 seconds of music and some people even stood up. I felt like I was at an opening night of one of the movies and the diehards were with me! Major applause when the song was done and the entire crowd stood for a long standing ovation.

That was supposed to be the final song, but he came back out for 2 encores. The first was the closing credits/fanfare from Raiders (again, some serious applause broke out when the music started, but not as big as SW) and the second was the music from Nightline (or NBC news?).

Very happy with the show, but of course, I wanted more Star Wars music. I was really hoping he'd add something from AOTC. I thought Across The Stars would have been perfect for an orchestra. But, It was still awesome to experience that music live and being played by a world renowned orchestra.

Feedback welcome

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