On Monday evening I went to see the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The tickets were a Christmas present from my sister and 5 months later I finally got to use them! The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular is a concert featuring the music of the series and a few monsters in a similar format to the Doctor Who Proms. The Symphonic Spectacular began in Australia and New Zealand. Thanks to its popularity, the current UK tour is happening this week before it heads to New York and the United States.
For me, it was the perfect present as it mixed two of my favourite things in life: Doctor Who and classical music. I would definitely recommend this concert to anyone is a fan of either Doctor Who or its music.
My sister and I had seats in block 8 which is near the back of the arena and side view. Although written down these sound like bad seats, it was actually a very good section to sit in – the seats were tiered so no-one taller in front blocked our view and we were far enough back in a side view section that our view wasn’t obscured by the Tardis or staging.
The concert was hosted by the fifth Doctor Peter Davison, one of my favourite classic Doctors. He was a great host, guiding the audience through the concert with clear appreciation of the music and great humour especially about the other Doctors (with a recurring joke about Colin Baker being ready to replace him at a moment’s notice). There was also area-specific humour specifically for Cardiff including references to John Barrowman who is going to be at the same arena shortly for his own tour.
The music was accompanied by clips from Doctor Who shown on three screens: one large screen in the centre and two smaller screens either side. The clips were relevant to the suite of music that was being played and covered some classic Doctors. However, most clips were from New Who especially Matt Smith’s era and Peter Capaldi’s series 8 as the concert was a celebration of Murray Gold’s music since 2005. In addition to the videos on the big screens, relevant monsters and aliens appeared on stage in synchronisity with the footage. Some monsters even stalked the aisles whilst the Daleks “seized control of the arena“, making the orchestra play a suite dedicated to them!
The lighting was also really awesome. Yes, that may sound weird but there were cool lights on the chairs of the orchestra which flashed in accordance with certain instrumental parts and the strobe lighting was coloured in accordance with the era of Doctor Who i.e. blue for the most part but glowed a gold/orange colour during a suite dedicated to Christopher Eccleston’s era which represented the branding of New Who Series 1.
And of course, the music was sublime! My highlights included Abigail’s Song from A Christmas Carol, The Doctor Who theme tune, The Impossible Girl and The Doctor’s Theme (Christopher Eccleston). However, my absolute favourite suite performed at the concert was The Companions Suite, celebrating the themes of New Who companions Rose, Martha, Donna and Amy.