One of the big events we booked months in advance was Video Games Live, a full symphony orchestra and choir playing video game music. Because we booked and paid for the tickets well in advance, I splashed out and got the best tickets available, which turned out to be pretty damned good!! Front row, dead centre! We got dinner served, and free drinks! Amazing.
But nothing on the music itself. This trip has been incredible already for Claire and I, and it seems that there is some greater force ensuring things just... work out in our favour. We spend all Thursday meeting the nicest people, getting amazing sketches, spending real time talking to people I only ever dreamed of meeting before, and then, Thursday evening, VGL seemed to choose it's pieces and guests only for Claire and I.
Here's how te night went:
- Opening Medley
- Metal Gear Solid- Incredible! An amazing piece to kick the show off with! And everyone loved the guard and box wandering around on-stage. The box stayed on=stage for the whole piece, and the following one, before revealing VGL creator Tommy Tallarico, who joked that he was the only one short enough to fit inside!
- Metroid Medley- They covered the entire series, but got the biggest reaction to the Super Metroid piece.
- Civilisation IV- Beautiful and powerful.
- Tron- Got a huge reaction! Great piece.
- Legend of Zelda Medley- as with Metroid, they covered the entire series, but as soon as Ocarina of Time appeared onscreen, the crowd went wild! This was introduced via recorded video by the original composer of the Mario and Zelda themes, Koji Kondo.
- Kingdom Hearts- I was blown away! Disney kindly allowed the video playing to use the cartoon footage instead of game footage. It was spectacular.
- World of WarCraft- Seriously. Playing just for us! Claire nearly died. And they had the original composers on-stage... who we knew we could meet later, as we had back-stage passes! You can only image how Claire felt about this.
- StarCraft II- The perfect follow-up to the WarCraft stuff. They played a new piece, introduced by it's composer, as well as playing the piece used in the trailer, while the trailer played! Nice. I loved this one.
- Super Mario Brothers Medley- This started with Martin Leung playing the Mario Brothers theme on piano, blindfolded!! Awe-inspiring stuff.
- Guitar Hero Competition- Before the show there had been a Guitar Hero competition, and the winner was brought up on stage to play Sweet Emotion on the game, with the symphony backing him, and Tommy Tallarico on guitar assisting. It was incredible. The guy was amazing, and when we met him back-stage later, he told us that he doesn't own Guitar Hero, and had never played Sweet Emotion before! Regardless, he managed to play it on Expert, and score over 200,000 points, winning a tonne of stuff!
- Halo- The crowd went ballistic! Everyone loved this. A girl in Cortana costume came on-stage to do some of the voice bits, and they played my favourite Halo piece, the teaser for Halo 3. As the piece ended and Cortana said "This is the way the world ends", Master Chief arrived on-stage!
- Final Fantasy VII: Sephiroths Theme- Halo was the final piece, with this standing as the encore. Once again, the choir blew everyone away with the power and beauty.
- Castlevania- I don't know if they always do a two song encore, but they did for us, wrapping up the night with this. What a way to end!
But it wasn't the end for Claire and I. We got to then head back to the VIP Area and meet Jason Hayes, composer of World of WarCraft, Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall themselves, Martin Leung, and some of the special guests, including the girl dressed as Cortana! We also talked to the guy that played Guitar Hero, who was visibly shaking still, some 30 minutes after his performance! Nice guy. And, we got to meet Dee Baker!! He had been up on-stage earlier and did a live voicing of the monster for Gears of War, the blind one that you have to orbital strike. He voiced it in-game, and recreated and matched the scenes as the game played! But more importantly for us, he voiced Appa and Momo in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it was a real honor and pleasure to meet and talk to him. While wandering the VIP area, we even got a copy of the just released Video Games Live CD!! Woo!!
After all that, we grabbed a taxi and headed home. This was our first day at SCDD, and we thought it couldn't get any better. We were wrong. So very, very wrong.