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What It Was Like At The Surprise "Star Wars" Concert At Comic-Con

Lightsabers! Ewoks! Fireworks!

At the end of the epic Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday, director J.J. Abrams announced a surprise free concert of Star Wars music for the 6,500 fans in attendance — happening immediately after the panel was over.

So over 6,000 people slowly exited the panel and walked roughly half a mile to the Embarcadero Park outdoor concert venue behind the Convention Center.

The crowd was led by a legion of stormtroopers headed by Kevin Doyle, a man who walked more than 500 miles to Comic-Con in honor of his late wife, a major Star Wars fan.

Everyone appeared to behave kindly and politely, even though it took roughly 75 minutes for everyone to arrive at the venue.

Everyone was issued a special pass for the concert, which included a tearaway ticket…

…that could be redeemed for a free (toy) lightsaber.

The venue was also selling beer and wine, as well as some basic outdoor concert-y food, but most people seemed to be content just with their free lightsaber. And why wouldn't they be?!

(It was a lot of lightsabers.)

Thank you! #StarWars #SWFanConcert @starwars @bad_robot

Finally, after everyone had arrived and had time to settle in, Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy took to the stage.

"This is amazing!" JJ Abrams with Kathleen Kennedy at the #StarWars concert

The crowd first began chanting "J.J.! J.J.! J.J.!" But after they died down, someone yelled "Kathleen!" And the crowd then started chanting "Kath-y! Kath-y! Kath-y!" It was a deserved tribute, given that Kennedy, who is also the president of Lucasfilm, is the top creative executive overseeing all of the new Star Wars movies — which will start opening roughly once a year for the foreseeable future.

And one of the directors of another Star Wars movie, Christopher Miller — who, with his creative partner Phil Lord, will be directing the origin story of Han Solo — was watching from backstage.

At the Star Wars concert at #SDCC The lightsabers are not real

Then, Miller, and everyone else, got to enjoy Ford pretending to hobble on stage while using the toy lightsaber as a cane.

(Don't worry. He was fine.)

Abrams handed the mic to new Star Wars actor John Boyega, who led the crowd in taking a massive selfie with the rest of the cast of The Force Awakens.

This was the view Carrie Fisher (aka Princess Leia) had from the stage.

Favorite photo of fans getting their force on at the ComiProm .....FANtastic+

After the cast said goodbye, longtime Star Wars composer John Williams gave a brief video introduction. The 83-year-old composer said he was in Los Angeles working on the score for The Force Awakens (no music from that film played at the concert).

"You fans have always been what's very special about Star Wars," he said. "And in December, we'll all be joining together on a great, grand new adventure."

And with that, the San Diego Symphony, conducted by Sameer Patel, began their performance.

The concert itself ran a little less than 30 minutes. But it still managed to pack in several distinct orchestral themes familiar to any Star Wars fan, starting with the foreboding "Imperial March."

Of course the Imperial March comes first! #SWFanConcert #SDCC #StarWars

As the music played, relevant clips from the six Star Wars feature films were shown on the giant screens surrounding the orchestra.

Now one of my favorites, Anakin's Theme! #StarWars #SDCC #SWFanConcert

Perhaps not surprisingly, Anakin's theme — tied to the less-than-beloved prequel trilogy — provoked some audible hisses and boos.

It was much less than one might expect, however — there was a genuinely warm and friendly spirit to the concert from start to finish.

By contrast, the Ewoks — historically mocked by hardcore Star Wars fans — drew some significant cheers when the orchestra segued into Williams' bouncy, playful theme for them.

The biggest reaction, though, came during Princess Leia's theme, which included three impressive solos that each drew loud, even raucous whoops and applause.

Before the orchestra began the final section of the concert, they paused for an extended video thanking fans for their decades-long devotion to Star Wars.

And then… fireworks!

It was the perfect conclusion to a delightful evening.