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Balrog
06-14-2007, 06:41 AM
My wife surprised me with tickets to Video Games Live! I'll have to report back on how awesome it is.The site says it has music from Mario™, Zelda®, Halo®, Metal Gear Solid®, Warcraft®, Myst®, Kingdom Hearts®, Castlevania®, Medal of Honor™, Sonic™, Final Fantasy®, Tron, Tomb Raider®, Advent Rising, Headhunter, Beyond Good & Evil™, Tom Clancy medley (Splinter Cell®, Ghost Recon™, Rainbow Six®), EverQuest® II and a and a special retro Classic Arcade Medley featuring over 20+ games from Pong® to Donkey Kong® including such classics as Dragon's Lair, Tetris, Frogger, Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Outrun & Robotron.

I wish it said just this: Mario™, Zelda®, Metal Gear Solid®, Castlevania®, Sonic™, Final Fantasy®, and a special retro Classic Arcade Medley featuring over 20+ games from Pong® to Donkey Kong® including such classics as Dragon's Lair, Tetris, Frogger, Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Outrun & Robotron.

Excitemike
06-14-2007, 06:46 AM
That's a lot circle-R's.

(have fun)

Balrog
06-14-2007, 06:57 AM
I copied the list from the site and was too lazy to remove the circle-R's, my bad.

openedsource
06-14-2007, 07:00 AM
You'll have to let me know your impressions of the full orchestral arrangement of the theme from PONG.

alexb
06-14-2007, 01:47 PM
The Pong bit is likely going to be one of those gimmicky things where the music dies away for a few seconds and one or two of the musicians, probably in percussion, are going to mimic the doot, doot, dootdoot sounds of the ball going back and forth. There's no point in arranging something before the NES era. All you're going to get is interpretative Philip Glass type stuff. Which is fine, but is bound to disappoint when what you want is Dancing Mad played by a real orchestra.

I've been to Dear Friends in Atlanta in '05 and Play! at Wolf Trap National Park in '06. Both were good, but I liked Play! more because I've already heard Aerith's Theme and One Winged Angel so much that I'm sick to death of them. Plus, the venue (a giant outdoor theatre made of cedar) and the use of video was a lot better. Plus, the MGS theme, played by the National Symphony Orchestra (never mind they were showing scenes from Snake Eater). I wish they'd released a CD. Oh, and they played OWA at Play!, too.

At the encore at Dear Friends, they came out and played One Winged Angel, which wasn't on the program but wasn't any surprise. (How could they not play that? That's right. They couldn't.) Then they played it again. Then they played it a third time in double time. It was probably just a bit too much. But the fat girl in fifth row center wearing the white mage costume probably loved it. I should check and see if they're going to be anywhere near me with VGL. But yeah, what's with all this deadweight like EQ and Medal of Honor. That shit's so derivative and generic I doubt the composer could hum the melody.

shivam
06-14-2007, 01:49 PM
i went to the final fantasy concert at e3 that one year, and it was incredibly dull. call me when Mizuguchi puts on a Music of Rez and Lumines rave =)

alexb
06-14-2007, 01:54 PM
Dear Friends was the export of that concert. It was a bit dull, but it was cool hearing Terra's Theme played straight by an orchestra, rather than the arrangement in Grand Finale.

Vahn16
06-15-2007, 12:58 AM
Oh shit, it's coming to my area in less than a week! I need to buy tickets. Although, if it were going to sell-out, I think it already would have.

Edit: Video Games Live, I mean.

Vahn16
06-22-2007, 12:42 AM
Time to use a Phoenix Down on this thread. I went to Video Games Live, so here's my impressions. There might be a few problems with it, since I took it straight from my 1up blog. So without any further ado, my Video Games Live review thingy.

Video Games Live is the most amazing concert I've ever been to. That's not saying a whole lot considering that I don't go to that many concert. Video Games Live was different from other concerts, though. It was created to give gamers, real gamers, more enjoyment than anyone else.

How was it different, you ask? Let's break it down. VGL also had people on-stage performing. Any normal person who saw them probably wouldn't have been overwhelmed with their showmanship. They weren't rock stars. That's not to say that they weren't extremely talented; quite the contrary, in fact. The astounding part was, an orchestra was putting on this show. I never thought an orchestra could put on a show in which there was cheering every throughout the different songs, and a giant screen showing video game footage in the background. Orchestra's are supposed to be full of stuffy, uptight people. Well, Tommy Tallarico and co. turned the Dallas Symphony Orchestra into a "rockin' good time."

The greatest thing about the VGL, however, was the atmosphere. Every thing about it catered to gamers. There were on-stage contests in which audience members played video games in order to win prizes (money and a $2,500 laptop). Let me just say, motion controlled Space Invaders was pretty fun to watch. Remember that screen in the background that I mentioned earlier? It didn't just show random footage from the featured games; it showed scenes that everyone recognized. Uproarious cheers could be heard throughout each piece. Lastly, although your mileage may vary, the audience was great. It was pretty obvious that this was the exact audience the show was made for. For instance, when Tommy Tallarico announced that the next song would be the "last one" of the night (got to have an encore), and he asked the audience what we wanted, everyone shouted "Halo!" in unison. There were more moments like that than I could count (well, maybe not that many, but you get the point). Outside of the performance, everyone was really kind. I had a good time talking with the other people who attended the show. It brought out the best in the gaming community.

Now I'm going to break off from a normal review, and highlight some the, uh, highlights of the show:

Video Game Pianist: Yes, the Youtube phenomenon was there, and played an excellent Final Fantasy medly. When he moved from Tidus' Theme (FFX) into Terra's Theme (FFVI), the audience went wild. That audience reaction changed his look of concentration into a big grin. It was such a great moment.

Metal Gear: The actual music was great, of course, but the little act on stage took it to another level. A soldier came out on stage, seemingly searching for something. Then, a cardboard walked right behind him (cue audience laughter). As the soldier got further away from the box, there was a sound. The soldier noticed, and an exclamation point lit up above his head. Was it a Metal Gear cliche? Yes. But who cares, seeing it live made it hilarious all over again.

Civilization IV: I wasn't really expecting the music for this one to be so great. I regretfully haven't played much Civ VI, so that might be why. The CG on the big-screen matched the music perfectly, and portrayed the game wonderfully.

I don't want to give everything away, so I'm going to stop here. Needless to say, there were a ton more moments that sent the audience into wild frenzies. There wasn't a single moment where I wasn't fully engaged in what was going on on-stage. So was VGL the ultimate concert of all time? Probably not. Was it the ultimate show for gamers? So far, without a doubt.

shivam
06-22-2007, 01:00 AM
civ 4 has such awesome songs, its not even funny. Baba Yetu is the greatest version of the Lord's Prayer i've ever heard.

Balrog
06-22-2007, 06:05 AM
I really enjoyed it last night. Overall, I thought the whole thing was face-meltingly awesome. Here's my two cents on what they played...

Awesome:
Mario, Zelda, Halo, Metal Gear Solid, Medal of Honor, Final Fantasy, Sonic, and a and a special retro Classic Arcade Medley featuring over 20+ games from Pong to Donkey Kong including such classics as Dragon's Lair, Tetris, Frogger, Gauntlet, Space Invaders, Outrun & Robotron

Okay:
Warcraft, Myst, Kingdom Hearts, Tron

Never again, please:
Advent Rising

MIA:
Castlevania, Headhunter, Beyond Good & Evil, Tom Clancy medley (Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six), EverQuest II, Tomb Raider

My pre-show encounter with the Video Game Pianist:
Me: OMG! I saw your video on youtube, you're awesome!
VGP: Thanks.
Me: What are you playing tonight?
VGP: Super Mario Bros. and Final Fantasy.
Me: Final Fantasy VI??!?!
VGP: It's a medley.
Me: Awesome!
VGP: (Awkward silence.)
Me: (Awkward silence. Nods head and walks away.)

Also: cosplayers

nadia
06-22-2007, 06:09 AM
I usually don't feel any ill will towards cosplayers (some are truly awesome) but God, talk about any excuse to dress up.

Jakanden
06-22-2007, 06:35 AM
I went to Play! awhile back and had a blast. People went crazy when they played the Halo theme as well as One Winged Angel.

Another thing that impressed me was the amount of older non-gamers there. I talked to some people afterwards and they were stunned that video game music was like this. The majority had the impression that VG music was still in the 8-bit era.

Kolbe
06-22-2007, 08:27 AM
Man, I would really love to go sometime. Ask them if they're coming to Mexico.

Vahn16
06-22-2007, 11:42 AM
Afterwards, at least at the one in Dallas, there was a meet-and-greet with some of the people who put on the show and some game developers. It was mostly people from id, Gearbox, and Raven studios. There was also a guy who's working on Duke Nukem Forever. I asked him how it was progressing, and he said, "Check back in about a year." So, DNF, 2008. Confirmed.

locit
06-22-2007, 11:51 AM
Hey, I went to the Dallas one too! Did you stay after and buy the CD like I'm wishing I would have?

Concerning the show: Tommy Tallarico was a bit of a jackass (par for the course, really), but otherwise a great concert. My favourite bit was the Sonic the Hedgehog medley. It was amazing to hear the Green Hill Zone theme done by an orchestra. Admittedly the entire medley was actually the closing credits bgm from the first game, meaning it took little to no work to transcribe, but still!

There was a really stupid Medal of Honor bit with footage of war refugees, and a really terrible Tron segment, but otherwise great stuff! It was fun to see some of the older orchestra members forced to play music they would never touch in a squillion years of their own volition. The choir got into it, though! Even the old guys!

On cosplayers: there was a 40-year-old dressed as Ico. It was silly!

Balrog
06-22-2007, 12:02 PM
I didn't stay either. I had to work today and it was a three hour drive back.

Merus
06-23-2007, 10:27 AM
I went to the Play concert in Sydney last night: they held it at the Opera House, which was awesome, and they roped in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, which is somewhat creepy in the "forced to play music they would never touch in a squillion years of their own volition" way. Surprisingly, there were a few old-timers who didn't appear to be babysitting kids. I can only assume they had season tickets and decided that it was free.

Actually, the whole thing bothered me some. Here I am, in the main hall of an iconic Australian building, with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with all these people, to listen to video game music. There are actual people other than me playing these things?

The conductor made it all better, though, as he was fairly warm towards the audience and seemed to enjoy the whole thing. They played music from Mario, Sonic, Shenmue, Metal Gear Solid, FF6 and 7, Kingdom Hearts, Silent Hill, both Chronos, WoW, Zelda, Halo, Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey (Oddworld has screwed up my ability to spell 'odyssey').

No gimmicks for Australia unfortunately, other than a video screen that showed footage from the games occasionally and made the topic area of games look very, very small (war! fighting! more war!) but being in a proper opera house allowed them to do something very exciting: Dancing Mad. With organ.

I have to say, I can see why they don't perform Dancing Mad all that often. The arrangement they had come up with leaned too heavily on the organ, and I suspect it's not so good an orchestral piece in the first place thanks to the large organ solo around the Final Form. It may have just been that the organist wasn't good enough to do an organ solo, though, as I'm sure he flubbed a few notes.

Chrono Trigger/Chrono Cross was excellent. Both opening themes are excellent, to my ears, and both were performed excellently.

Silent Hill was interesting, in that it leaned a lot on electric guitar and drums, so it didn't particularly 'orchestrally' at all. I hope that perhaps the orchestra enjoys the challenge of doing something that sounds closer to a rock band than an orchestra.

Metal Gear's one of the few pieces they played done by a Western composer, and they mentioned that it was a 'hard' piece to play. They then tried to play all the instruments at once. There were a couple of arrangements where they fell down by trying to overload the songs, and lost the musical thread in getting all the instruments right.

Surprisingly, Halo was a bit meh, even though it's a really unique theme.

Naturally, due to contractual obligations they encored with the ubiqitous One Winged Angel. Now, this is interesting because Australia actually has a native orchestra that plays video game music (Eminence, who did the performance for Romeo x Juliet), and their show also encored with One Winged Angel. So I got the opportunity to directly compare. I've never really liked One Winged Angel, as it has almost no cohesion, and not in the 'you're fighting an insane half-god, so it's supposed to be disjointed' way. It's very bombastic but it's like Uematsu took melodies that weren't enough to make a whole song, then stuck them together, added Latin and called it done. Amazingly, the Play arrangement managed to make the song sound cohesive, and it was a genuine pleasure to listen to. Eminence were less adventurous, but they had won over the crowd by that point so I doubt it matters much.

I think I enjoyed the Eminence show more: they didn't go straight for all the popular games, and would occasionally backtrack to a game that had good music but wasn't top tier. They also had the composers for some of the games there, and got them up to speak to the audience. None of them knew English, so the lead violinist hilariously did his best to translate. (I still giggle over the violinist apologising to the audience for his poor translation skills, and handing the microphone back to the composer, who then launched into a full minute of Japanese to the composer's face slowly falling.) I also saw the hosts of 'Good Game', which is a non-lame gaming show here in Australia, and got their autographs. But I think Play was a better performance, and they'd done some good work with most of their arrangements, getting them to match to the games while still having them work on their own. And they were certainly inventive in translating the clipped notes of some of the themes (the Sonic title theme, for instance) into an orchestral piece without losing the lo-fi character of it. So, I think gaming wins: there's certainly room enough for two orchestras and the different appraoches mean some good music all round.

My only real disappointment is that when I saw the electric guitar I hoped they were going to do something from Psychonauts. They didn't. (I guess the Psychonauts music rights are hard to get a hold of.)

reibeatall
06-23-2007, 10:32 AM
Shit. I knew I was forgetting to do something this month.

Vahn16
06-24-2007, 09:56 PM
Hey, I went to the Dallas one too! Did you stay after and buy the CD like I'm wishing I would have?

Concerning the show: Tommy Tallarico was a bit of a jackass (par for the course, really), but otherwise a great concert. My favourite bit was the Sonic the Hedgehog medley. It was amazing to hear the Green Hill Zone theme done by an orchestra. Admittedly the entire medley was actually the closing credits bgm from the first game, meaning it took little to no work to transcribe, but still!

There was a really stupid Medal of Honor bit with footage of war refugees, and a really terrible Tron segment, but otherwise great stuff! It was fun to see some of the older orchestra members forced to play music they would never touch in a squillion years of their own volition. The choir got into it, though! Even the old guys!

On cosplayers: there was a 40-year-old dressed as Ico. It was silly!

The only cosplayer I saw was a little kid dressed as a Storm Trooper. It was kind of odd considering that Star Wars wasn't even mentioned at VGL, let alone was any music played. Locit, did you go to the one on Wednesday or the one on Thursday?

As for Tommy, did you get to talk to him after the show? He seemed really nice, and also *Gasp!* somewhat humble. Talking to a lot of the people involved was one of the coolest parts of the whole thing for me.