Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Video Games Live concert at the Orpheum Theater in Phoenix, Arizona. Hosted by video game composer and founder, Tommy Tallarico, VGL is an international concert that performs iconic music from video games such as The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros., Halo, and Sonic the Hedgehog. As the orchestra and choir perform, videos from some of the games are shown on a large screen behind the orchestra. Though I had previously attended the concert in Los Angeles at the Nokia Theater, I decided to check out the one in my friends’ hometown of Phoenix.
The Video Games Live concert in Phoenix was presented by the ProMusica Arizona Orchestra and Chorale at the elegant Orpheum Theater; not as large as the Nokia Theater, but it looked luxurious with its decorative paintings and sculpted pillars. What’s more, the tickets my friends and I had were front row Pit level seating. I was so close to the stage, that I could nearly see Tommy Tallarico’s guitar collection.
The show opened with a funny live action Ms. Pacman video where Ms. Pacman was running from ghosts around a city. Several video game parodies like this were played throughout the show, most of which provided by Dorkly, and presented some very nice humor to the event. As the Ms. Pacman video ended, the lights grew dim and the concert began.
One of the show’s opening numbers was a very uplifting and heroic performance of The Legend of Zelda Main Theme. As the orchestra played the music, footage from various games in The Legend of Zelda series were shown on the screen including A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, and my personal favorite Twilight Princess.
As one of the numbers ended, I suddenly heard a familiar lullaby. To my surprise it was none other than the Jigglypuff Song and as this comforting tune ended, it introduced the musical score for Pokemon. The orchestra performed battle music and other iconic themes while the screen showed clips from the Pokemon games and anime. About halfway through the song, the screen suddenly read “Say it with us!” The orchestra then played the Team Rocket motto while the audience quoted the speech from the anime.
Before Tallarico introduced the next number, he asked the audience if there were any Disney fans. I was ecstatic because I immediately knew what video game the next song was going to be from. He then told the audience to shout the name of the game, and in a loud voice I proudly shouted, “KINGDOM HEARTS!!” The orchestra played the Hikari-Kingdom (Orchestra Instrumental Version) from Kingdom Hearts. This incredible song can be heard in the game after leaving the title screen idle for a short while. Instead of showing footage from the Kingdom Hearts game, this number showed clips from the Disney movies featured in it such as Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and The Lion King. This was by far my absolute favorite number in the concert because I grew up watching most of these movies and it was great seeing them alongside my favorite Kingdom Hearts musical score.
The show concluded the evening with the song featured in the Portal credits. This was an interactive part of the concert because the audience was encouraged to sing along to the lyrics of the music.
Overall, I was really impressed with the concert and I was more than glad I was able to go to it. I highly recommend attending Video Games Live for anyone that’s a fan of video games as well as music. Alternatively, you can download the soundtracks on Amazon.