Happy Star Wars Day 2019 (a little early)! Two years ago today, we released our Beatles/Star Wars parody Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans and it turned out a lot of people liked it. Then we wanted to perform it live, so last year we put out a call for help, support, and most of all, money so we could perform the entire album at Hertz Hall with the Awesöme Orchestra Collective. And we not only put on the show, but we managed to donate a good chunk to the non-profit orchestra as well, thanks to our donors! We also recorded that performance as both audio and video. The good news is that the recording is ready for public release! The bad news is that it is not as complete as we’d hoped.
Unfortunately, our audio recording suffered from an unrecoverable error after the 20-minute mark, and we didn’t get nearly as much usable video footage as we’d hoped. As a result all we have to share is a 5-song EP (through “Imperial Holes”). This is definitely better than nothing but definitely a disappointment, and we had intended to document the entire night (including encores of “Leia Organa” and the giant “Hey Jude” singalong with the orchestra and audience). But fate had other plans, so we’re taking what we can get and passing it on to you! Here are the MP3 and FLAC versions — we hope you enjoy either or both!
A side note: Due to the fan-tribute nature of this work, we still can’t offer this project through major streaming services like Spotify or Amazon Music, but we appreciate all the folks who like it enough to want it there. We will continue to post our content for download here on our Music page and streaming at http://soundcloud.com/paletteswapninja.
We are also releasing these songs in video form. The footage we got wasn’t optimal (would you believe Dan accidentally turned off one of the cameras? LOL), but these two videos it should serve as proof that we did, in fact, pull this off. Feel free to share these videos on social media if you like what you see. Those are at http://youtube.com/paletteswapninja or you can just watch them here in a YouTube playlist:
The live performance was a very special event for us, and it seems unlikely that we will ever get the chance to perform with an orchestra again, but we would love to work with any local organizations that feel up to the challenge. And if Princess Leia taught us anything, it’s that we always have hope!
Thanks for everything, spread the word, and MTFBWY!
Good news! The PLSDSP live EP is being mixed & we expect to have the recording out to donors this month. Public release (for free of course) will follow a few weeks after that.
And yes, it’s unfortunately just an EP. We had unrecoverable recording errors on the second half of the show, so this will just be the first 5 songs and a little bit of video. There is a little orchestra in those first five tracks, but not a ton, which is disappointing. It is definitely better than nothing, and doing a “one night only” event meant we were always running a risk of something going wrong. And hey, it did!
All the more reason to do it again, right? Alas, we just can’t afford that; we used the donations to do it once, and we gave the remainder to the Awesöme Orchestra Collective as promised. Maybe someday we can make it happen, knowing what we know now!
Anyway, stay tuned to your mailboxes shortly if you are a donor, and set your calendars for early May for the public release! (And how pretty is the cover, featuring photography by Sandy K, Smith?)
Last night’s live performance of Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans with Awesöme Orchestra Collective was everything we’d dared hope it might be — an inspiring night of making music for and with an audience, taking our silly idea to its unlikely sophisticated conclusion. We were thrilled at how it went, and we can now confirm that there is no better way to make your live debut as a band by playing with a 90-piece orchestra. Really not bad for our first gig.
Several special thanks are in order, as unlike the album, this was not a two-person project:
And of course, we appreciate everyone who gave this event time, money, or attention. To us, it’s like we haven’t shut up about it for six months, but we knew we had one shot at this, and we really did need all the help we could get! So if nothing else, thank you for enduring our fundraising campaign. We were not only able to cover our costs but we’ll be donating the additional funding directly to AO so they can continue their musical adventures around the Bay Area.
We will release much nicer photos, audio, and video as we get them cleaned up and edited, but here are a few of our behind-the-scenes shots — they do not do justice to the energy in the room and the positive, collaborative spirit of everyone involved.
Our hope is to release the concert as a live album, free as usual. Watch this space. We’re going to take a nap.
The artwork was created by Tony Baldini (he of Nerdy Show/Lightning Dogs renown) especially for this shirt. You choose the size! You choose the color! Your shirt will be shipped directly to you, no muss, no fuss. Shipping is $2.99 so we intentionally set the price for the standard shirt to be about $25 out the door. The shirts are all in a special section of our merch shop. But be warned: When the fundraiser is over, we are retiring this design. You only have until October 31, 2018 to get this shirt in any form. After that, it will disappear, like so many dead Jedi.
And don’t forget — since you are donating to the cause, you get a link to the recording of the show in advance of its public release. We’re hoping to get audio and video, but let’s see what we can actually pull off! However, Spreadshirt does not reveal your contact info to us when you buy a shirt. Just drop us an email with your order number to make sure you’re on the list when we send out the early links.
For what it’s worth, we expect to make about $7 on every shirt we sell, which will help us cover our expenses related to putting on this event. The classy venue comes with a cost, as do the costumes, the plane tickets, all kinds of stuff. And remember, if you are coming to the show, we have tickets available, including some some premium seats with souvenir packages while they last. But we figured if you can’t come to the show, the shirt might be a little more attractive than a simple “please gimme money.”
Truth is, we don’t like talking about money, let alone asking for it. We have always given away our music for free because we like making it and want to share. Heck, we found a non-profit orchestra that wanted to work with us, so any funds we raise beyond what we actually need to break even on this show are being donated to them. This is not about making profit, this is about making something cool together.
Be the envy of both of your friends and get this t-shirt before it’s gone! Thanks for your support of the band, the event, and this fundraiser.
Performing the album live with a full orchestra is something we might only get to do once, so Jude and I really want to make this everything we feel it can be. Hertz Hall was designed for symphonic music — it will sound phenomenal — and we want to have the show recorded in both audio and video formats, which we will release publicly at a later date. So to make all of that happen, we’ve come up with a three-prong, one-time fundraiser:
DONATE: If you just want to donate a few bucks, we have an account on PayPal — anything helps! All donors will receive a download link for the live recording of the show in advance of its public release, and your names will be included in the credits (if you want that). So please make sure you include your email of choice somewhere in there — we’ll assume it’s your PayPal address unless you say otherwise.
VIP TICKETS: UPDATE: VIP & VIP Plus tickets are no longer available — thank you for the enthusiastic support! Standard free seating is still available on a first-come basis. Doors open at 6pm! If you plan to attend in person, we’re setting aside the first few rows at $20 per seat. If you donate $20 through PayPal and specify that you want a “VIP ticket” (please note if you’re planning to attend with friends or family, you can get as many $20 premium seats as you want until they’re gone), we will have a VIP list at the door with your name on it. And if you really want to shoot the works, a super-generous $40 $30 gets you a literal front row seat second row seat plus a souvenir packet including a laser-cut PLSDSP keychain, a desktop R2 model, some PLSDSP guitar picks, a custom replica of the infamous plans themselves, and other goodies that we are still putting together. There are only a limited number of these special seats, so claim your “VIP Plus” package early! Same email contact rules apply — let us know where we can send you a link to the recording when the time comes.
LIMITED EDITION T-SHIRT: If you cannot attend but you like getting physical stuff for your donation, we are selling a limited-edition t-shirt which will only be available for the duration of this fundraiser. It features a commissioned illustration by Tony Baldini of Lightning Dogs fame. (Since Spreadshirt doesn’t show us your email when you order, you’ll need to drop us a note with your order number so we know how to send you a download link later.) More info on the shirt is here.
All the funds we’ve received so far from the release of the album are being applied to our costs here, but it’s not quite enough. That said, any funds we raise in excess of what we need to cover our costs go to the Awesöme Orchestra. Nothing will be wasted and we will not take advantage of anyone’s generosity. We just can’t pay for all of this out of pocket.
We’ve put together an amazingly talented band with players and singers from around the country, plus the Awesöme Orchestra is appropriately named. They will also perform selections from John Williams’ film score as part of the show, and we have a few other fun things planned too. The venue seats more than 600 people, and the show will be appropriate for all ages. Cosplay is strongly encouraged! A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
We are thrilled that we get the chance to perform the album live, and we are committed to doing this as well as it can be done. If you can help — either by donating some money or simply spreading the word about the event and the fundraiser — please do. It’s deeply appreciated. Here’s the Facebook event if you’d like to share a social media reminder for the event, and to spread the word about the fundraiser, just send folks to this page, please!