With so many video game companies in my backyard such as Blizzard entertainment & Atlus, I occasionally get the chance to attend events & concerts that ten years ago I never would have dreamed possible due to the stigma of videogames. In a veritable video game mecca however with a constantly rising demographic of people who can understand my love of videogames, I was able to attend Video Games Live Performed by Pacific Symphony at the Irvine Verizon Amphitheater. Hosted by Tommy Tallarico, conducted by Emmanuel Fratianni, and guest conducted by Russell Brower, Austin Wintory, and Eímear Noone, I was able to listen to tracks that I had never thought to hear live. Jill Aversa was present performing vocals as well as the Glendale College Concert Singers with some Gregorian chant. Music from old school games such as Street Fighter II, Sonic, Super Mario, Castlevania, and more started us off with some versus mashup videos such as Frogger vs Grand theft Auto (Frogger didn’t make it to say the least) as interludes.
In an interview with Pacific Symphony, Tallarico describes why he created Video Games Live “I’ve been a video game composer for over 23 years, and the goal was to show the world how culturally significant and artistic video games have become, yet also usher in a whole new generation of young people to appreciate the arts. With Video Games Live, we’ve taken a lot of the things many people can connect with, like the rock-and-roll lighting, cutting-edge visuals, stage show production and interactive segments to give the orchestra a video game flavor so the audience can really appreciate the music itself as well.” Performing some more current generation music, I was blown away by the PS3 exclusive Journey, the first game Grammy nominated for best score soundtrack for visual media in 2013, which was guest conducted by the composer himself.
After that, I was elated to hear the cinematics from World of Warcraft, and the world premieres performances of the ending cinematic to Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm, & the opening cinematics from Diablo III. These were guest performed by Russell Brower of Blizzard entertainment and Eímear Noone, who you may know as the conductor for The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour.
As a tribute to Walt Disney for the inspiration that he has had on southern California, Tallarico set to some classic Disney movie clips to the opening from Kingdom Hearts. Finally, music from Skyrim, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and a amazing performance of One Winged Angel completed the night, but not before an surprising execution of Foo Fighters The Pretender by the preshow Guitar Hero winner with a score on Expert of over 320,000 points and a more interactive game of Space Invaders with an audience member moving back and forth on stage as a ship attempting to complete the first level. If you happen to be in the area and want to hear some of your favorite pieces perfomed live, I suggest checking them out. Their next performance will be free this Saturday at San Diego Comic Con.