For those who call video games anti-social or who think that only a minority of people, “nerds” play them they are in for a shock when going to a performance of Video Games Live: Bonus Round! The evening opened with Video Games Live creator and Video Game composer Tommy Tallarico saying, “Some people think video games are just for little kids, video game music is just a bunch of annoying bips and bloops, video games are the cause of violence.” Well if there was ever a crowd to staunchly disagree it was at Wolf Trap saturday night. People of all ages were out to see the National Symphony Orchestra and a chorus prepared by Danny Ozment perform music from Pacman to Skyrim.
Video Games Live! was created by Mr. Tallarico in 2002 as an immersive audio and video experience to celebrate and support the art of video game music. It is now in its 10th anniversary of touring with two albums and numerous awards.
Emil de Cou the NSO at Wolf Trap festival conductor wrote in the introduction “all the worlds of music are welcome on our stage” and never was it more true than for the Video Games Live: Bonus Round performance. If you are a fan of orchestra concerts –the calm spectators clapping politely at just the right moments– this performance was not for you. Rarely have I seen such audience enthusiasm, energy and sheer joy for the music being performed, it was infectious.
… a fun, exciting, and unique experience.
The National Symphony Orchestra was stellar, conducted with elegance and mirth by Emmanuel Fratianni. They were gleefully cheered on as they had to perform the music, sound effects and all, while select members of the audience got on stage and played super smash brothers live. It is hard to imagine a better way to expose young people to the wonder of the orchestra as with music that they already love and appreciate.
Composed by Nobuo Uematsu, a “famous” composer in the gaming world, “Final Fantasy 8, Liberi Fatali” was one piece that stood out, and I must say that the music was absolutely AMAZING. This song is the introduction when you start a new game, foreshadowing the epic love story between Squall and Rinoa. For the time this game came out (1999), this took video game music to a whole new level. Nobuo said, “screw that”, to conventional video game music, which was usually really short and catchy. He wanted to make something huge and beautiful and he did.They also performed a medley from Zelda. The girl who played the flute for the medley is Laura Intravia, and she became popular via youtube for doing this.
I can promise you that going to a performance of Video Games Live, whether you are a gamer, a musician, a parent or all three, you will have a fun, exciting, and unique experience.
Running time: Three hours with two encores.
Video Games Live: Bonus Round! was their only performance at Wolf Trap. For future events at Wolf Trap click here.