Like many Jaws fans, I was the first in line to purchase tickets for the ‘Jaws in Concert’ shows at the fabled Royal Albert Hall in London; watching Jaws with a live orchestra was pretty high up on my “Jaws bucket list” (there’s a whole other post on that I reckon!) so it was an opportunity not to be missed.
Playing four shows across the weekend of 21-22 October, Dirk Brossé and the BBC Concert Orchestra brought life to the iconic John Williams score, and it was honestly just as brilliant as watching Jaws for the very first time.
From those first ominous opening notes, the score was undoubtedly front and centre, exceptionally loud, and with the incredible acoustics of the venue ensuring that the music was the star of this show. Of course we could speak about this film non-stop for the rest of our lives - that’s why we’re all here really - but seeing the film in this magnificent setting and with the incredibly talented orchestra was an unreplicable experience.
Aside from that famous and oft-hummed theme, the score for Jaws is packed full of incredible moments, and watching it in this setting, you’ll find yourself looking forward to every moment that the score arrives; particularly in the first half when those two notes also signal the arrival of the shark. With the well-placed interval just as Brody, Quint and Hooper are setting out to sea, the shift to a more adventurous tone in the score is even more noticeable, and whilst these themes might not get the same recognition, the barrel chase music for example, is every bit as wonderful as that opening theme.
For someone who has watched this film more times than they would care to count, this setting opened up the opportunity to notice even more nuances and subtle touches than ever before, particularly in the score. Whilst the cue was a little off, it’s still great to watch an entire auditorium jump when Ben Gardner’s head appears, and the wild cheers and clapping when Brody says “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”.
With many young fans in the audience, plus die-hard Jaws fans, and also those who are just fans of classical music, the power of Jaws in reaching a diverse range of people was never more evident, and this event breathed new life into the classic we all know and love, 42 years on.