KINGS THEATER, BROOKLYN, NY – When Daniel Pemberton tweeted about the live concert he was putting together for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse with an orchestra, DJ, and electronic instruments, I knew I couldn’t miss it. The movie is one of my favorite animated films and I played the soundtrack more times than I can count. I was happy to be back at the gorgeous venue that is the Kings Theater. Cosplayers took advantage of the interior design for fun photoshoots. The bars turned into concession stands so the kids could have their snacks for the show. I was comfortable wearing the Spider-Verse tee I borrowed from Gil. I found my seat and enjoyed the vibes the opening DJ was providing with his sick mixing until the event started. He brought amazing energy to Brooklyn.
Miles Morales made his Marvel comic debut in 2011 (Ultimate Fallout #4: Spider-Man No More). After Peter Parker tragically dies, the Afro-Boricua teen takes on the Spider-Man mantel in an alternate universe. He does his best to protect Brooklyn and the rest of the world while keeping his identity a secret from his parents—oh and survive high school.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was the perfect film to introduce Miles. We not only get part of his origin story, but Miles interacts with the other incarnations of Spider-Man within the multiverse: Gwen Stacy, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker, and of course Peter Parker (from Earth-616). I wondered why Sony and Marvel had gone with an animated film for Miles Morales instead of the usual live-action, but I am proud to say it beat my expectations. The various art styles represented each of the Spider-people well. Daniel Pemberton’s score and the soundtrack produced by Sony Music tied everything together. The movie won the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2018.
An announcement was made for the audience to get to their seats. The musicians took their places on the stage. Daniel Pemberton and a representative of the King’s Theater walked onto the stage a few minutes later and an insightful Q&A session began. Daniel explained his process in composing the score for Into the Spider-Verse. He incorporated Miles Brooklyn’s origins through the elements of hip-hop and electronica. The turntable sounds were inspired by the DJ battles that took place in London. When it came to putting together the live show, Daniel admitted he was nervous about how the audience would react to an orchestra, DJ, and electronic instruments performing a film score together, as it is not done often. The audience cheered in encouragement. The representative asked, “Why have the World premiere of this concert here instead of in London?”
Daniel laughed “Miles is from Brooklyn. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world to do this.”
A trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was shown before both exited the stage. The film will be in theaters on June 2, 2023.
Daniel then made his way toward the back of the orchestra and took a seat. Deanna Tham, the conductor, and DJ Dwells were introduced. The lights went completely off and Into the Spider-Verse began to play. The audience went silent as Deanna raised her baton and guided the orchestra into the first act. As Miles goes through the motions of getting used to his powers and learning that he is the only hope in saving the multiverse, the score came to life. There was an emotional moment during Stan Lee’s cameo. Spider-Man was the Marvel founder’s favorite character. Into The Spider-Verse was one of the last projects he got to work on.
After a 20-minute intermission, Deanna takes the time to introduce The Broadway Sinfonietta, an all-women orchestra, and majority women of color. The musicians receive a huge standing ovation with a bow before preparing themselves for act two. Deanna and DJ Dwells return to their places.
As the second act plays out, I felt the energy shift in the theater. Miles has a heartfelt moment with his father before the scene transitions into the one everyone was anticipating: the leap of faith. The crowd cheered as the first notes of “What’s Up Danger” by Blackway ft. Black Caviar hit. Deanna silences the instruments as Miles receives the new gadgets from Aunt May. When he finally gathers the courage to leap off the building, Deanna cues in The Broadway Sinfonietta and DJ Dwells. Together, they made that cinematic masterpiece of a scene even more epic! Daniel had a huge smile on his face. It was beautiful.
The score picked up the tempo as the film continued through to the end. Miles became the hero he was meant to be, and another round of applause went through the theater as he took his final swing. When the credits began rolling, Deanna conducted The Broadway Sinfonietta into an uninterrupted performance. DJ Dwells scratched along.
When the last note was played, the crowd gave the orchestra a standing ovation. Daniel grabbed a microphone and expressed his gratitude. He was happy to see that everyone had enjoyed the concert and what an honor it was to play alongside The Broadway Sinfonietta. As for Across the Spider-Verse, Daniel mentioned he would be flying out to London the following day to finish off the score for Miles’ next adventure. “The addition of new characters means that more musical elements will be incorporated into the score. I am shooting for that best film score Oscar!” he said. I cannot wait to hear it. The Broadway Sinfonietta, Deanna Tham, and DJ Dwells took their final bows alongside Daniel and then exited off the stage.
After this experience, I see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in a new light. I hope the concert will go on tour so fans in other cities can get lost in the score while Miles Morales grows into his role as Spider-Man. As Peter Parker says “it’s all a leap of faith.”
Across The Spider-Verse Trailer: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Photos and Video: Rosa Elena
Last Updated: April 13, 2023