Thursday, after E3 2010 was all said and done, Video Games Live made their way to the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Many of you might remember our podcast interview with co-creator Tommy Tallarico. Still, this was the first time this reviewer was able to see Video Games Live in concert.
The show was hosted by Tallarico, who spoke and introduced every song before its performance. The maestro for over half the show was Emmanuel Fratianni, noted video games composer. All this was similar to other shows; however, they pulled out quite a few new elements for their L.A. show. For the first time in their 5 years of touring, they had several guest maestros. The original composers for games like God of War, Uncharted, and Afrika were on stage leading the orchestra. In addition, they had several new songs, including Uncharted and Warcraft 2.
While all of these big names are great alone, they could not have done it without a wonderful orchestra and chorus behind them. The Golden State Pops played the music, and The Southern California Masters Choral supplied the vocals. Both groups were excellent in their performance, and often swept you up in their sound. Several guests also joined in – Metal Gear Solid 3’s composer played saxophone, Laura Intravia played flute, and the Video Game Pianist played multiple songs. One could tell very early on that this was nothing to take lighthearted, as these musicians and composers were the real deal and were very gifted.
During the show, gameplay videos and cut scenes were displayed on overhead screens while the music played. It was an excellent combination of nostalgia and fan-service. Games throughout the years were represented – from Pong to Mario to World of Warcraft. Even if you were not a huge fan of every game, you could still appreciate the music.
Overall, this reviewer would recommend a Video Games Live show to almost anyone. As stated earlier, even if you are not familiar with every game played, there is still much to enjoy. It is unlike any other orchestra you have been to, but it is well worth the trip. Best of all, it is a very family-friendly event, so you can feel comfortable to bring the entire family along for the experience.
Below is the set-list for the entire show. Songs that were designated as new by Tallarico are marked with an * symbol, and songs with guest maestros are marked with a + symbol.
- Retro montage (i.e. Pong, Donkey Kong, Frogger, etc.)
- Shadow of the Colossus
- God of War +
- Uncharted *+
- Afrika +
- Warcraft 2 * (performed by Video Game Pianist)
- Assassin’s Creed 2 (original composer introduced it on stage)
- Metal Gear Solid 3 (original composer played saxophone)
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Laura Intravia played flute)
- The Legend of Zelda (series medley, original composer introduced it via video)
- World of Warcraft background music medley
- Super Mario Bros. (original composer introduced it via video)
- Video Game Pianist came back to play more
- Super Mario Bros. (blindfolded)
- Super Mario World
- Super Mario Bros. 3
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Final Fantasy
- Guitar Hero contest winner (GH: Van Halen “Jump” with Tallarico on guitar)
- Mega Man medley (Tallarico on guitar)
- HALO (Tallarico on guitar)
- Final Fantasy VII (Tallarico and Akira Yamaoka on guitar)
- Castlevania (Tallarico on his famous Spiderman guitar)
- Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross (all guest musicians on stage playing)