Events, Game Music

Still Alive: Video Games Live March 8 2015 Ottawa Canada (Review)

March 10, 2015 | | 1 Comment Share thison Facebook Still Alive: Video Games Live March 8 2015 Ottawa Canada (Review)on Twitter

Video Games Live returned to Canada’s capital Ottawa for its third performance on March 8, 2015 and performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Choir.  I attended with family who had their first Video Games Live experience and loved every minute. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was happy to hear the performance of a few tracks that were part of Video Games Live Level 4 kickstarter that was successfully funded this past November.

The show continues to follow a formula of blending video clips of video game culture and humor in-between songs, breaking the norms of the traditional orchestra with loud cheering and clapping at anytime, and audience participation through the costume contest and on stage gaming sessions.  The phrase: “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” seems to be a phrase that applies to Video Games Live.

The show still opens with video clips that played during the first performance I saw. The opening video was Brentalfloss’s Louis Armstrong version of Super Mario World. The opening song was Castlevania’s Rock Overture which is always a pleasure to hear and was a great way to start of the performance. This was followed by one of my favorite VGL songs the Megaman Suite which showcases the music of the first two games. The music of Metal Gear Solid followed with Tommy Tallarico demonstrating his mad cardboard box sneaking skills.

Inbetween songs we were treated to the occasional hilarious video. These included a few by gagfilms: Donkey Kong vs. Mortal Kombat, R-Type vs. Space Invaders, and Grand Theft Auto vs. Frogger.

The remaining songs of the first act included Sonic: The Hedeghog, Space Invaders played live with an audience member playing the game, Zelda’s Lullaby a wonderful new arrangement by Jillian Aversa (whose work you may know from OC Remix) and her husband, Mass Effect, The Secret of Monkey Island, and The Tetris Opera.

Before returning for the second act I was happy that VGL was still showing the Ms. PacMan – by the Go! Team which is a lot of fun. The other humours video clips that are still being played with the show were the Top 10 Worst Voice Acting in video games and the Top 10 worst video game titles.

The music resumed with the music of Kingdom Hearts set to the imagery of the Disney characters in their respective films. League of Legends which was the first I’ve heard of the music and I’m now very fond of it. This was followed up by a new version of the Final Fantasy VI: Opera which has beautiful vocals again provided by Jillian Aversa but has a beat that may take some getting used to for those used to the traditional sound of the song. Personally I loved the new take on it, this version is available on the recently released Level 4 album.

The remaining tracks of the second act included Skyrim, Shadow of the Colossus, an audience member name Chris scored just over 347,000 points during an expert Guitar Hero session of the Foo Fighter’s  song “The Pretender”, Street Fighter II, and “One Winged Angel” from Final Fantasy VII.

The encore was the Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross suite, and  performed with the audience Portal’s “Still Alive”. The overall sound of the orchestra was excellent. The choir also performed well but sounded a little muted during the Skyrim “Dragonborn” performance.

The great thing about Video Games Live is that they have local orchestras and choirs perform their shows. This choice is smart as it saves the cost of travelling with musicians, but more importantly it allows communities to experience the wonderful talent of their local musicians.  Conductor Emmanuel Fratianni said something that stuck with me “It’s such a wonderful opportunity to hear an orchestra playing the music of composers that are still alive today!” I wholeheartedly agree, as I am sure does the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Choir who received an overwhelmingly positive audience response and several standing ovatations. Tommy Tallarico said: “We’ll see you next year Ottawa!” Yes you will.

Did you attend the Video Games Live performance in Ottawa? What did you think?

I will be sharing my review of the recently released album Video Games Live: Level 4 soon. I was very happy to see that copies were for sale during the show, physical copies can purchased for a limited time here, or digitally. The Canadian Tour finishes off with three shows in Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 10, 11, and 12, 2015.

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