Review: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses (8/10/13)
Written by: Barry Carenza
So I found out from a friend of mine that the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert tour was coming to the NJPAC in Newark, NJ and being the Zelda fan that I am, I had to attend this show. So when the day finally arrived, my fiancée and I hopped in the car and drove down to Newark an hour before the show to beat the heavy traffic and for Street Passes.
Honestly, the evening really could have been called Street Pass meet and greet with a Zelda concert as a bonus. Before I could park the car, we both already had our first Street Pass from someone other than each other. By the time we made it to our seats, we each had 10 connections with another 10 in the Queue as we frantically played through the many Street Pass games so we could keep the people coming. This all came to an end as someone got on stage to announce that the costume contest was about to begin.
Lined up next to the stage were about 15 people in costumes ready to be judged by our applause. Many were dressed as Link (one notable one with Ezlo as his cap). There were a few other characters represented such as a Great Fairy, Zelda, and the winner of the contest, Skull Kid wearing Majora’s Mask and carrying an angry Moon. They won a poster and a tee-shirt and was a nice way to kick off the evening.
Now the concert would finally begin as we frantically finished the next set of 10 Street Passes and welcomed the next 10 waiting in line. The conductor got on stage and began with the opening pieces. They opened Act 1 with an overture. Just a glorious uplifting piece that combined many different tracts (including the only place they played Ballad of the Goddess which I would have loved to hear in its full form live). This song as well as most songs featured visuals from many of the Zelda games projected on a large screen over the full orchestra. They then announced that they would start with three interludes.
The first of which, dubbed “Dungeons of Hyrule” was a medley of many of the various dungeon themes, from LoZ, AOL, LTTP, LA, OoT, WW, and TP. It was interesting to hear one theme flow into the next, especially since they did them out of game release order. After that, they played “Kakariko Village ~ Hope and Calm” which meshed well with the visuals from LTTP, OoT, and TP that they placed on screen. They finished up with “Songs of the Hero” which was a medley of many of the songs that Link plays on his Ocarina in OoT. They made us not to be mad if it started to rain and we all got wet, which was met with laughter, and of course this ended with the “Song of Storms” and I would have laughed if they turned on the building’s sprinklers…which they didn’t.
Now the symphony would truly begin as they played the “Prelude ~ The Creation of Hyrule” which was the song that accompanied the cut scene in OoT that showed the three goddesses creating Hyrule and forming the Triforce, which is also exactly what they played on the screen. It was fitting and probably better suited for those that were there with no knowledge of the Zelda games.
The first movement began as we were all treated to the story of Ocarina of Time. The major plot points of the game were displayed on screen while a beautiful medley of music from OoT played. The crowd ate it up although I felt that there was already quite a lot of OoT music already played and was waiting for more games to be represented.
Before the second movement began, the conductor was given a Wind Waker to use for the duration of Wind Waker’s movement. The crowd exploded and I personally felt it was a nice touch. The Great Sea music began as we saw images of Link and his sister. Again the movement went through some of Wind Waker’s more memorable tunes and culminated with the stabbing of the Master Sword into Ganondorf’s skull and Link and Tetra sailing off for their adventure in the Phantom Hourglass.
At this point the lights were turned on and we were given a 15 minute intermission which many used to buy snacks, use the rest rooms, and purchase souvenirs. Not us. We sat there and continued our Street Pass journey with another 20 or so tags.
When the lights dimmed, they played their intermezzo, “Great Fairy’s Fountain” for a minute or so and advised us all that we were ready for Act II now that we had a dip in the Fairy’s fountain. It was little humorous moments like this that I feel really added to the energy of the show.
Movement three began for the dark chapter that is Twilight Princess. Honestly I felt this was the weakest of the four moments simply because I felt they didn’t pick the best of TP’s songs to use. It was still very enjoyable and was nice to see it represented. The movie that played for TP was very abridged and failed to show most of the important story elements. It did show Midna breaking the mirror at the end, a scene that still gets to me.
I was really expecting the final movement to be Skyward Sword but instead was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be A Link to the Past. The audience went crazy as music from both the light world and the dark world filled the theater and we all got to walk down memory lane again watching Link disobeying his Uncle, freeing Zelda, losing Zelda, and slaying Ganon to claim the Triforce.
At that point it appeared that the concert was over, but thankfully they had more in store. Three different encores would follow, each with a standing ovation by those in attendance.
The first was the song I was waiting all night to hear. “Ballad of the Windfish” from Link’s Awakening (and later Majora’s Mask). This was the Link’s Awakening version and everyone seemed to really be pumped. The only real negative here is that they displayed nothing on the screen. No Link gathering the instruments. No Link encountering any of the colorful inhabitants of Koholint Island. Not even Link approaching the Wind Fish’s egg and playing the eight instruments of the sirens. I really felt this was a missed opportunity, especially since they showed Link’s Awakening footage earlier during the “Dungeons of Hyrule” piece. This was also the only song that didn’t get a movie which still confuses me. It’s not that hard to make a 3 minute video for Link’s Awakening. Hell they probably could just search YouTube and have a fan made one in minutes.
They then played “Gerudo Valley” which represented yet another song from OoT. It is an awesome piece and the orchestra performed it flawlessly. I did find it an odd choice for an encore though.
Finally they ended with a “Majora’s Mask Suite” which was really like a fifth movement. It went through the story of MM from Skull Kid stealing Epona to fighting Majora’s Mask in all three forms. It was great to hear “Clock Town” in full orchestrated glory.
That was the official end of the show, but not the end of the experience. We were not allowed to continue playing through our Street Pass connections in our seats since they needed to begin cleaning up for the evening, but we did go down to the lobby for a few where people were taking photos with the guy in the Skull Kid costume while many others had their 3DS’s out playing their own Street Pass tags. Eventually we were all told we had to go outside where we wound up sitting on some large stone steps to play our connections. It was there that something truly awesome happened.
Before we knew it, There were about 20 other people standing around us, all playing 3DS and we were all chatting, laughing, joking, discussing the concert, Nintendo, the 3DS, and comparing Street Pass statistics. This lasted for about 40 minutes and was very entertaining to hear other people’s thoughts on some of the new Street Pass games.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience. I had a few personal little gripes but nothing terribly major. It would have been fantastic to see more games represented. I read that in the Second Quest version of the concert they have more Link’s Awakening and some Spirit Tracks thrown in, but I think it truly would be perfect if all 17 games were represented (counting A Link Between Worlds since it’s so close to launch now). If you’re a Zelda fan, you NEED to see this concert. If you’re a music lover, you NEED to see this concert. If you’re a 3DS owner, you NEED to go to this Street Pass convention with Zelda concert side-show. I couldn’t recommend this concert enough. I implore you to check their schedule and if they are coming near you, attend this show. It’s truly legendary.
Final Score: 9.75 out of 10