Typically, when we watch movies in cinemas, everything shown is polished—edited stories, controlled lighting, orchestrated sound effects, and curated soundtracks that allow us to just absorb the storyline.
However, have you ever wondered what it’s like to experience a movie accompanied by a live orchestra, turntables, and a DJ scratcher? Yes, you got it right—a film that features a full orchestra that elevates the excitement, pulling your attention not only to the on-screen animation movie but also to the dynamic live performance of musicians.
Recently, the award-winning animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was brought to life on stage through a live concert tour that highlighted the original score by Daniel Pemberton.
In Manila, the live concert of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” showcased the amazing animation on a large HD screen at Samsung Hall in SM Aura Premier, Taguig City, on December 30, 2023.
Initially, excitement swept over me and who wouldn’t be thrilled, right? But, alongside that excitement, a multitude of questions flooded my thoughts. I found myself curious about the duration the Orchestra dedicated to capture the essence of the show’s title, and wondering what course of action would be taken in case of technical glitches during the live performance—would they restart from the beginning or navigate through the mishap as it unfolds?
I quickly found the answer by closely observing everyone on the stage, from the Conductor to DJ, the drummer and various instrumentalists, including bowed string instruments, woodwinds, brass instruments, and percussion instruments, they perfectly and performed the music and soundtracks with professionalism, even if there’s a present minor technical problem, but everything flows professionally.
What truly fills me with pride is that Filipino musicians orchestrated the two-hour film of this award-winning international movie, conducted by Michael Jacinto. Though I may not be a die-hard Spider-Man fan, but I’ve been watching these movies since my childhood and Spider-Man is a character everyone has grown up knowing.
The concert tour, which started in New York in March 2023, has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The concert is praised for its innovative and creative fusion of symphonic and urban music, as well as its faithful and respectful adaptation of the film’s story and characters.
The concert not only pays homage to the film but also celebrates the cultural impact of Spider-Man, its ability to resonate across generations and its concept of diversity and inclusivity. It’s amazing because the audience is treated to a nostalgic journey through various Spider-People’s adventures, from different dimensions, cultures, and backgrounds.
The live concert continues this theme of diversity through its multicultural influence. The inclusion of various musical styles, including hip-hop, Latin rhythms, and electronic beats, mirrors the diverse backgrounds of the Spider-People.
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Live in Concert” also transcends the traditional concert experience, in which it delivers a breathtaking fusion of visual and auditory brilliance. The orchestral arrangement, conducted with precision, enhances the emotional depth of the film’s soundtrack, and it even gives a new level of excitement when you actually witness how the soundtrack of the movie is being made and performed.
Upon observing the narrative progression and the orchestra’s live production of the soundtrack, Pemberton’s score in a live setting showcases the versatility of the orchestra. It smoothly shifts between genres to one soundtrack to another, effectively capturing the film’s diverse characters and multiverse setting.
Experiencing both an orchestra performance and a film simultaneously poses a unique challenge for audiences, though this dual immersion creates an unforgettable sonic experience, and the depth of appreciation depends on whether one focuses solely on the orchestra or the unfolding story. However, the heart of the concert lies in its orchestral arrangement, bringing to life Pemberton’s original score.
Pemberton’s innovative approach introduces a novel experience that allows audiences to witness two masterpieces in a single event and balancing attention between the live orchestra and the film storyline becomes a personal choice that influences the profound appreciation for both elements.
Aside from the musical arrangement, one of the concert’s highlights is the incorporation of the film’s signature “comic book” visual style into the live performance; the vibrant colors and dynamic animations create a new perspective that blends the worlds of comic art and live music in a unique way.
With scenes from the animated masterpiece displayed on a large screen, the synchronization of every beat and note aligns perfectly with the on-screen action. This coordination enhances the overall immersion that transports the audience into the multiverse and makes them feel like they are swinging through the streets of Brooklyn alongside Miles Morales.
The exploration of character themes and motifs, in which each Spider-Person is given a musical identity that reflects their personality and journey. Whether it’s the jazzy undertones of Miles Morales or the electronic beats of Spider-Noir, the concert weaves these themes into a cohesive and engaging musical narrative.
Beyond the music and visuals, the live concert excels in audience engagement, interactive elements such as the cosplayer of Spiderman, where fans of all ages interact with him and take photos and videos as a souvenir of the show and makes the event enjoyable for both newcomers and longtime Spider-Man enthusiasts.
Image credits: Photo by John Eiron R. Francisco/BM