OK so you may know I can be rather sneaky and devious at times, but I PROMISE you that I only use it for good (mostly) (usually).
So waaaay before Thanksgiving, I found out that STAR WARS IN CONCERT would be coming to St. Louis, to the Scottrade Center, on December 10th. As luck would have it, I was still in need of a brilliant Christmas gift idea for Jeff, so of course a lightbulb went off in my head when the opportunity presented itself.
Of course, December 10th is far before December 25th, so I had to come up with a brilliant and humorous way to convey Jeff’s Christmas gift to him, more than two weeks before the actual holiday.
So this is what I did (no pictures, you’ll see why in a moment):
1)I left work early one night, hopped off the train at the Scottrade Center stop, bought the tickets, hopped back on the train and made it home exactly on time (no suspicion aroused)
2)I procured a couple cardboard boxes of varying sizes, and stashed them until they were needed.
3)I bought a bag of Hershey’s Bliss chocolates, and a card “from Santa”, at Target. Stashed them as well.
4)On the evening of December 8th, I sent Jeff to the store on a supposedly “urgent” errand for my work. This got him out of the house for – I anticipated – half an hour at most.
5)I opened the bag of Bliss chocolates, stuck the tickets inside, and re-sealed the bag. Then I closed it up in a box, wrapped the box, closed it up in another – veryverylarge – box,and wrapped that box. Stuck a big bow on top.
6)I wrote a note on the card – doing my best to disguise my handwriting – reading “Dear Jeff – You’re a big boy now. I’m sure you’ve figured out that I can’t possibly visit every house in one night. I hope you don’t mind that I’m coming to yours a bit early. Love, Santa. PS: Open this now! You’ve earned it!”, and taped it to the box.
At this point, my plan diverged from what actually occurred. I’d PLANNED to hide the veryverylarge wrapped box in our basement, send Jeff to study in the second bedroom, then retrieve the box from the basement, place it on the porch, ring the doorbell, and quickly devise a reason that Jeff had to be the one to answer the door. What actually happened, though…
7)While carrying the veryverylarge box down to our basement, I encountered our downstairs neighbor. He inquired what I was doing carrying around a veryverylarge box, so I filled him in. At this point our downstairs neighbor’s teenaged son offered to take care of the legwork for me. We agreed that at 10:00 he would place the veryverylarge box on our porch, ring the doorbell, and run back into his apartment.
8)Moments after the agreement was reached and the veryverylarge box was safely stashed in our neighbor’s apartment, Jeff returned home. We carried on about our evening as usual.
9)At about 9:45 that night, I called Jeff away from his studying to come hang out in the living room with me.
10)At about 9:58 that night, I went into the kitchen, supposedly to fix a pre-bedtime snack for us.
11)At exactly 10:00 that night, the doorbell rang. As I was off in the kitchen, Jeff answered the door. He appeared in the kitchen doorway a moment later, carrying the veryverylarge box and wearing a thoroughly bemused look upon his face. “Um…I think our neighbors gave this to us?”, he said.
12)I tried my best to feign surprise and befuddlement, and suggested he read the card on the veryverylarge box, and open the box.
13)As planned, he read the card and opened the veryverylarge box, only to see…well, you know. Another wrapped box.
14)By this time he was more than a little confused about the whole thing, but he dutifully opened the other wrapped box. Inside, of course, was the bag of Hershey’s Bliss chocolates. He decided that the whole thing was a (not very funny) joke from our neighbors, and rolled his eyes.
15)I encouraged him to open the chocolates (thus jeopardizing my already-precarious position of “ignorant to this whole thing”), which he did.
16)He saw the ticket sleeve, clearly reading “Scottrade Center” across the flap. “Oh,” Jeff said, “It’s our hockey tickets for Friday night.” (Aside – my work Christmas party was last Friday, and was held at/during a St. Louis Blues hockey game) Then Jeff looked at me – still confused – and said, “Did your BOSS do this?!”
17)I giggled quite a bit at the visual of my boss – an older gentleman who resembles Santa Claus a bit in physique – driving around in his Cadillac in the middle of the night to all his employees’ homes, for the sole purpose of delivering event tickets. Between my giggles, I heartily promised Jeff that no, this was not the work of my boss.
18)”Why don’t you check the tickets?” I said, thereby giving away any pretense of ignorance.
19)He opened the sleeve, saw that the tickets were to STAR WARS IN CONCERT, and pretty much (for lack of a more graceful term) flipped his shit. Out of happiness. Suddenly, all was clear. And all was awesome.
20)That Thursday night after work (and for Jeff, after a final) we hopped on the train and headed back downtown. From this point, I’ll (mostly) let the pictures take over. I left my D40 at home for this event, so all the photos were taken with our little $60 point-and-shoot. And most pictures were much, much blurrier than the ones below.
We arrived early enough to check out the exhibits before the show. They had a REAL Darth Vader costume:
REAL prop helmets:
And even THE Yoda puppet!
Eventually we found our seats, and prepared ourselves for awesomeness.
I knew the concert would be cool, but I had no idea it would be THIS cool.
There were lasers! Lights! MASSIVE curtains of LED lights! Fog! EVEN FLAMES SHOOTING OUT OF THE STAGE AND NO I’M NOT KIDDING.
We didn’t know too much about the show going in, except that it would involve live music from the Star Wars films. As it turns out, they had a full live orchestra…
A massive screen that alternated among showing clips from the films, live video of the performers, and sketches/stills of SW-related concepts…
And the whole she-bang was hosted by none other than…
(Lotta zoom there – can you tell who that was?)
Anthony Daniels! (C-3PO himself!)
One of my favorite parts of the whole setup were these huuuuuge curtains of LED lights that were suspended on either side of the main screen, and from the ceiling.
Throughout the show, they’d show images to supplement the main screen, or just artistic abstractions that pulsated along with the beat of the music.
This was one of my favorites – check out the starry sky effect!
The lighting was amazing, as well. Not only was it customized to each piece, but the colors flashed and changed along with a piece’s phrasing and tone:
Oh, and did I mention the LASERS? Because there were lasers!
Bad. Ass. My only regret is that I didn’t get a photo of the 30-FOOT-TALL FLAMES that shot out of the stage. I was too awe-struck every time it happened.
Even though this was Jeff’s Christmas present, I had a great time too. We thought it was one of the coolest things we’ve done in a long time.
I’d go back and see it again, in a heartbeat.
If you’re a total geek too, check and see if the tour has hit your city yet! The concert is definitely worth attending (though be warned – they were selling t-shirts for $45 and programs for $30, so if that’s your thing bring lots of cash. Personally, it was too rich for our blood ;-)).
May the force be with you.*
*I’ve always wanted to say that.
PS>There are a few more pictures on my Flickr, if you’re so inclined.