Game Music

Comic Con 2010: The Video Games Live “Bonus Round,” Including World Premieres

July 29, 2010 | | 5 Comments Share thison Facebook Comic Con 2010: The Video Games Live “Bonus Round,” Including World Premiereson Twitter

While we already told you all about our time at Distant Worlds during Comic Con, there were, in fact, two concerts for fans to attend. The Video Games Live performance took place on Saturday night at the San Diego Civic Center, just one block away from a massive Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube concert. Quite the clash in concert goers that evening, for sure.

So what is this “Bonus Round” business all about? As Tommy Tallarico explained during the show, this was Video Games Live’s third stop in San Diego during Comic Con, and this show in particular not only had a huge number of composers and industry guests in attendance, but also saw many of these guests come on stage to either introduce, perform, or conduct their music. There were also two world premieres at the show, making it even more special.

Hit the jump to find out what was played and what we thought.

Let’s start by describing the scene outside. The same with most shows, fans could purchase Video Games Live products as well as other soundtrack albums at the store, which included Tommy Tallarico’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2 of all things. There were Guitar Hero setups, free giveaways, and a pre-show costume contest that was actually held on stage with Jon St. John (the voice of Duke Nukem). Of course the adorable little kid dressed up as Mario won.

Well, on to the music. Here’s what they performed:

01. Classic Gaming Medley
02. Sonic the Hedgehog
03. God of War
04. Uncharted 2
05. AFRIKA
06. BioShock
07. Interactive Frogger
08. End of Nations
09. Warcraft 2 (Martin Leung)
10. Final Fantasy VIII – “Liberi Fatali”
11. Castlevania
12. Silent Hill
13. World of Warcraft
14. StarCraft II
15. Shadow of the Colossus
16. Super Mario Bros. / Super Mario World (Martin Leung)
17. The Legend of Zelda (Martin Leung)
18. Tetris (Martin Leung)
19. Guitar Hero Van Halen – “Jump!”
20. Halo
21. Encore – “One Winged Angel”
22. Encore – Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross

One of the most interesting things was that this how was performed by the Golden State Pops Orchestra, an orchestra based out on the Los Angeles area who have put on their own videogame music concerts in the past, which we’ve covered here on OSV. Steven Fox, the conductor and musical director of the group, even took over for VGL conductor Emmanuel Frattiani for one of the segments. They’re a great orchestra, and it was good to see them again.

About those special guests. Gerard Marino conducted the God of War segment, complete with two batons in Kratos style, and he proceeded to throw them out into the audience like drum sticks after the performance. Greg Edmonson conducted the Uncharted 2 segment, which had only been performed one other time in VGL history. It turned out to be one of my favorite segments of the evening along with Shadow of the Colossus, which I also had not seen live. Wataru Hokoyama conducted AFRIKA, while Garry Schyman conducted his BioShock music.

This show also saw a world premiere. Frank Klepacki was in town with that amazing guitar he rocked out with at his only other VGL appearance in Las Vegas a couple years ago (Tommy noted that he and I are the only two to have seen Klepacki play live at both VGL shows).  He performed a track from End of Nations, which is due out next year. Epic choir, distorted electric guitar, and a powerful orchestral backing with some amazing brass provided a nice look into the game’s soundtrack, making it one of the most memorable pieces of the evening.

Other highlights included a bubble machine during the Castlevania segment and Tommy’s array of guitars that he rocked out on during a large number of the segments, including Castlevania, Silent Hill, and Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross, and Martin Leung had a surprisingly large number of segments during the show. He gets a standing ovation every time, as the fans really love his work, so I understand why he’s featured so prominently in the show. His new Zelda segment debuted at this performance, working in the original overworld theme along with an amazing arrangement of the Zelda II temple theme.

While VGL usually performs the bombastic opening cinematic for World of Warcraft, they instead performed a suite of town and tavern themes that I think is from the BlizzCon VGL shows.  It was a lot of fun, and I definitely prefer this one over the opening cinematic. I also got a kick out of the photos of Final Fantasy cosplayers and chocobo fan art during the “One Winged Angel” encore, which interestingly used a lot of images from that Korean-made live action Final Fantasy VII thing that Square Enix stomped out of existence. Finally, during the second encore (Chrono Trigger / Chrono Cross), while Tommy handled most of the guitar work, Gerard Marino and Frank Klepacki also came to the stage at the very end to rock out.

It’d been awhile since I’d seen Video Games Live. A lot has changed in terms of new segments and a new conductor, but a lot hasn’t in terms of the rock concert approach of the show. Fans really love Martin Leung and the interactive segments, so it’s good to see that they’re still an important part of the show.  This one, however, was special in that so many of the composers were present. It really makes a huge difference when the composer can tell you directly what their inspirations were for their music, and it’s a treat to see them perform or conduct the orchestra. I know these kinds of shows typically only happen in California, but I hope to see more of them in the future.

Finally, where the hell is my Mega Man 2, damn it?!

Anyway, what are your thoughts regarding the Video Games Live tour? Are you looking forward to their PBS special that’s supposed to start airing this weekend?

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