‘Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage’ concert review: An awe-inspiring tribute

As an unintended precursor to today’s very exciting Star Trek announcement, we were lucky enough to attend Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage yesterday at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Over two hours, we were treated to a spectacular concert featuring nearly five decades of music from one of the most-loved science fiction franchises of all time.

Having taken our seats in the colossal 19th century venue in front of a full symphony orchestra, it felt like the holodeck itself would have been hard pressed to conjure a more resplendent setting in which to experience the music of Star Trek.

With an expansive setlist of 29 pieces of music, the term “ultimate voyage” felt particularly apt. Reliving twelve movies and five television series in the space of one afternoon, it certainly felt like one hell of a journey.

The rousing music was accompanied by handpicked visuals mined from a wealth of material to enhance and support the scores. Compositions were also punctuated by a booming voiceover guiding us along. Presented to us in vaguely chronological order with regards to the airing of each TV series, the scale of the music matured from samples of the original series’ score through to Michael Giacchino’s grand arrangements for JJ Abrams’ recent films.

Star Trek Zoe Saldana

The orchestra was enhanced with video accompaniments which were presented as montages complied from clips taken from throughout Star Trek’s vast history. Every now and then however the montage format gave way to whole scenes presented to us in full.

This was a particular treat as the scenes that were given this presentation were scenes that even this layman could tell were character-defining moments. For example, seeing the famous Kirk vs Spock fight scene from the original series played in full with a live orchestra was pure exhilaration. The orchestra was conducted in a building and swelling momentum to a magnificent climax as these archetypal brothers of science fiction are forced to fight one another.

The music of Star Trek built and soared many times throughout the evening but never more so then when the main themes were played and referenced.

Star Trek has taken viewers to the furthest reaches of space and in doing so has delved into the deepest realms of human emotion. The music of the evening showcased love and war in equal measures; bonds of friendship and camaraderie universally understandable to any audience member.

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As the evening was coming to a close the strings of the orchestra gently simmered to life with a piece entitled ‘To Live Forever’. The images supporting this beautiful and uplifting crescendo broke the realms of fiction for a moment to present to us photos from behind the camera; still images from the very first days of shooting all the way to the modern day.

The tribute to familiar scenes and faces ended with a Vulcan salute from Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, who so very recently in our memories joined the stars to live forever.

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage was a beautiful and awe-inspiring concert; an audio and visual launch pad uniquely powerful in its ability to send us sailing over that final frontier.

5star

Performed on Sunday 1 November 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Find out what else is coming up at the Royal Albert Hall.

  • cmom

    Will a DVD of this ever be released for the rest of the world?