The Alabama Symphony Orchestra surprised me by inviting Video Games Live to play in Birmingham. The inner nerd in me shed a tear of joy, as I have been looking forward to seeing one of these performances for a long time.
I had no idea really what to expect when arriving at the BJCC. I had read that the pre-show events had costume contests, gaming competitions, meet and greets with game composers and all that. Needless to say, we were somewhat nonplussed by what was offered.
There was a Guitar Hero 3 competition, but you couldn’t hear the music… and it was displayed on two small LCD panels with a large mosh of adolescent boys attempting to achieve plastic guitar glory. However, the winner went on to play on stage with the Symphony as he attempted to break 175,000 points playing Expert level on Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion”. I have to admit, that was pretty cool. And the guy won too… handily.
The costume contest had a few entrants. What could you expect from Alabama? We had a Lar Umlaut from Guitar Hero, Ayane from Dead or Alive, Ness, Reno from Final Fantasy, and hand full of other lesser known characters… and we had the winning costume: a three person representation of Pong. I wish I had taken a picture. Simple, clever, effective.
The actual concert… well, it exceeded my expectations. It was an incredible night. The symphony was simply excellent. I will definitely return to see them perform again, whatever it is that may be playing. If it weren’t for some pesky union rules, I’d have shot some video clips to share from last night’s performance. Here is a sampling on what we were treated to last night:
- Final Fantasy®
- StarCraft® II
- Metal Gear Solid®
- Kingdom Hearts
- Interactive Space Invaders
- Interactive Guitar Hero™
- God of War™
- Civilization IV
- Classic Arcade Medley featuring over 20+ games from Pong® to Donkey Kong® including such classics as Dragon’s Lair, Tetris, Duck Hunt, Ghosts ‘n Goblins, Gauntlet, Punch-Out, OutRun and more…
If I had to pick my favorite sequence, it would be between the Classic Arcade Medley, the Final Fantasy Piano Medley, or the Metal Gear Solid suite.
The only complaint I had about the performance is the grandstanding done by Tommy Tallarico. No doubt the man is talented… but we were there to see the Symphony, not him galavanting around the stage.
If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend attending one fo these events. They are simply spectacular and brought back some very found childhood memories.