It all started with this innocent statement from my father: “We got Mike tickets to see Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage for his birthday.”
I’m sure you’re wondering who Mike is, but does that really matter? (He’s my brother-in-law, if you must know.) What was truly important and offensive about that one sentence is what seemed to be missing: my name.
I had no tickets. I wanted tickets. So I took matters into my own hands.
Before my husband could say, “but the show is in Tucson,” I’d already purchased two tickets and decided when and where we were going on vacation. Oh well, he did promise to love me in sickness and in health (and I believe my loyalty to Star Trek qualifies as one of these).
And now that the experience is behind me, can I honestly say that it was worth crashing my brother-in-law’s birthday and spontaneously spending our hard-earned vacation days and money on a trip to exotic Tucson?
My intent after the performance was to provide a well-thought-out review – you know, like a food critic or Roger Ebert. I imagined how fancy I would sound using words like “arrangement” and “thus.” Seriously, I was going to be eloquent.
But after all was said and done, I just didn’t feel like writing about the arrangements or the visual clips or how Voyager was underrepresented. I’m not even sure what my critique would have added to the conversation that the many other fan reviews haven’t already said. Hands down it was an amazing experience, both for the ardent Star Trek fan and for the “What’s the ‘T’ stand for in James T. Kirk?” newbie. If you have the chance to see this performance, I highly recommend you go boldly … and quickly.
No, my heart just wasn’t into a symphony review. That’s probably because my heart was full of something that eclipsed all else: an intense sense of family.
That may sound cheesy, but before you pull out your barf bag, hear me out. I did attend this performance with my family, and it allowed us to experience Star Trek together, which we haven’t done since I was a kid.
And, as a matter of fact, I did learn a few things about my own family that I didn’t know walking in. My brother-in-law prefers Deep Space Nine. My sister has never watched Voyager in its entirety. And my husband squeezed my hand at just the right moment because he remembered that I get teary every time I watch the George Kirk death scene from the first Star Trek reboot.
But that’s not really the family I’m talking about. I’m talking about our fan family.
For most non-fans, their unfounded stereotype of Star Trek fans are individuals watching reruns from their basements, armed with their Big Gulps, and sharing “Khaaaan!” memes online.
In reality, the Star Trek fandom is rich and vibrant and diverse and accepting, and we usually enjoy Star Trek together. (Geeking out with yourself is a lonely endeavor, after all.) That concert hall served as a microcosm of the Star Trek community, bringing together more than five generations of men, women, young, old, cosplayer, noob. FIVE GENERATIONS.
What is really unique about the Star Trek family vs. other fandoms is that many of us actually do fall into different generations of fans because of the franchise’s extremely long run. Some got in on the ground floor in 1966, like my parents. My husband, just 4 years older than I, got hooked during The Next Generation years. I would stay up night after night watching Voyager on the now defunct network UPN. Fastforward to today when my niece and nephews are starting their journeys with the reboots.
And like any other family, we are very opinionated. We each have our favorite series, we despise different characters, and we could easily argue until we’re as blue as an Andorian about who the greatest captain is.
But these arguments don’t have a lasting impact on our relationship because at the core, they don’t really matter. What matters is that we’re a family who accepts – and even appreciates – each other’s differences and how our unique and generational perspectives enrich our understanding of the world around us, including the world of Star Trek.
And that is exactly how that concert hall felt when I took my first steps inside. I saw men, women, young, old, cosplayers, and noobs (yes, we can tell). I saw generations, all coming together to celebrate a shared passion. I saw an excited, accepting, welcoming family.
So, my expert review is this: Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage is a celebration of a fan family that’s been living long and prospering, generation after generation. And it’s a family I’m proud to be a part of.
Additional image sources:
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage 50th Anniversary Concert Tour