For the past few years now, we’ve seen more symphonic video game concerts make the rounds, just because there are so many fans that have become appreciative of the music being featured in their favorite titles. Tommy Tallarico’s done a bang-up job with his Video Games Live tour, and we’re also seeing shows dedicated to the likes of Kingdom Hearts and Metal Gear Solid as well (even if they don’t have wide touring exposure yet).
But then there’s The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a tour that’s been making the rounds for some time now. It’s Nintendo approved, and features a number of melodies from both classic Zelda games (like A Link To the Past and even Link’s Awakening!) as well as contemporary (like the more current Breath of the Wild, which got two different segments). It’s become something of a fan favorite, and for good reason.
The tour recently made a stop in Denver during this weekend’s Denver Comic-Con event, and the show’s producer, Jason Michael Paul, invited me backstage to get a good look at the setting and see what makes the show tick. To be honest, it’s really just a combination of a devoted orchestra – in this case, the hometown heroes at the Colorado Symphony Orchestra – and a great conductor, Kelly Corcoran. Not only that, but a trio of video screens surround the stage, engulfing fans in each experience so that they know which games the songs derived from.
The set-up is fairly simple, and not nearly loaded with the kind of fanfare we’ve come to expect from other shows like Video Games Live. But in this case, simpler is better, as it allows us to focus more on the music and, more importantly, the games that inspired them.
The playlist, which ran at just about over a two-hour time frame with intermission, included a number of great Zelda experiences, including Skyward Sword, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and, obviously, the games mentioned above. There was a great spectrum covered – even oddball favorites like A Link Between Worlds got some love from the symphony. In all, the show packed a wallop with each new melody, with the fans growing louder and louder in applause for Kelly and company as they got through each one.
The video presentation that accompanies each song is wonderfully well done, combining gameplay segments with clips of the orchestra playing along, so you really get an idea of how well the show as an entirety comes together. There were times we wanted to see more gameplay – like with a boss battle in Twilight Princess – but, in all, it was an exquisitely done presentation that made the concert come alive.
And the performances were superb. Each member of the orchestra was on their A-game for the whole concert, right down to the smaller harps, the larger tubas and even the xylophone, which came in handy during a couple of segments. And Kelly got into the act as well, waving a Wind Waker wand instead of the usual conductor baton.
There were also segments featuring various members of the development team behind the Zelda games, including Shigeru Miyamoto and Koji Kondo, talking about their love for the series. My only gripe with these segments was that the subtitles were a little smaller than expected, and it was hard to make out what they were saying at times as a result. But that’s minor, as they eventually completed their pieces and let the orchestra continue with their performances.
While it would’ve been nice to see a little more cosplay action (or something to tie in with the orchestra) on the stage – sort of like what Video Games Live does – The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses is still an outstanding experience for anyone who’s a fan of the series, especially for those that have grown up with it since its humble beginning. The performances are superb, and the video clips help tie in with the experience overall, making it something really special for those that have a fondness for this series. If it comes to your town, don’t think – book your tickets and go! (Oh, and don’t forget your plastic sword and shield.)
Disclaimer: A ticket was provided by the organizer for the show.