Last year "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses” concert series helped celebrate the 26th anniversary of one of the most beloved video game franchises of all time. This year's tour, appropriately subtitled "Second Quest," somehow manages to surpass expectations, delivering a masterful journey of sight and sound through the rich 27 year history of "Zelda" games.
The orchestra led with the main overture and theme song to "The Legend of Zelda," with visuals from throughout the entire series. It was followed by a diverse selection from the original Game Boy favorite "The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening." There was more than just music playing though: Viewers were guided through an optical journey too, with an overhead screen showing video starting from Link's shipwreck on a mysterious deserted beach to his "awakening." This was the case for other movements too, taking attendees into the adventures of the games.
While the Nintendo DS title "The Legend of Zelda: Spirit tracks" may receive some flack (it's certainly one of the more unique games in the franchise), the music surprises (It's the one "Zelda" game this author never managed to play). Many members of the audience were captivated by "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time" movement, and laughter riveted throughout the crowd at many of the memorable moments in the game which were accompanied by the "fun" music from that particular installment. "The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker" then proceeded, with its cell-shaded animation coming from the newly remastered HD version now available on the Nintendo Wii U.
During the short intermission the franchise's affect on gaming culture couldn't be missed: Many of the attendees were debating their favorite installments and some were even dressed in varied cosplay outfits. The usual suspects were there (Link and Zelda), in addition to a few surprises such as Gerudo guards and the mailman. Aside from major video game conventions like PAX, this author has never seen as many Nintendo 3DS devices gathered in one place before. There were countless Street Pass notifications for everyone.
After the break the concert picked right back up with the "Gerudo Valley" theme, followed by the dark and ominous tones from "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess." Perhaps the most anticipated part of the program for this author was "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past," after which the orchestra made not one or two but an amazing three encores to the cheering crowd's delight. A selection from "The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask," was played, along with the "Dragon Roost Island" theme from "The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker." The orchestra went out with a bang, performing the "Ballad of the Goddess" from "The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword."
It may be hard for some to believe that music from a video game can elicit tears from a grown man, however this author isn't ashamed to admit it. For "Zelda" and classical music fans alike, this is one astounding concert series you don't want to miss.
We're looking forward to next year's tour, and the incorporation of the new music from "The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds."
For another review of the concert from an artist's perspective, check out this companion piece by Marjorie LaPrade.
- An amazing musical and visual journey through "The Legend of Zelda" franchise.
- Witty comments and explanations of the show by the symphony's producer and lead creative Jeron Moore.
- The concert and nostalgia can create an overwhelming emotional response that'll send chills down your spine.
- The performance was so engrossing that it seemed "short," despite multiple encores.
- The live video of the orchestra was slightly pixilated and really oversaturated with color from the stage lights. This fault may lay with the specific venue's equipment rather than the production itself.
- You may cry in public.
Please note this review was based off a free press pass.