Tommy Tallarico began Video Games Live, a show that gathered gamers around the globe to listen to their favorite video game tunes from a live orchestra, in 2005. The show went international only a year later, bringing all gamers together to enjoy what they grew up with. The magic of Video Games Live is that even if you don’t know the song, you still have a great time listening to it. Tommy does a good job in including the crowd in the show by doing cosplay contests, game competitions, and meet and greets with all the composers. Everyone can find a magical moment at Video Games Live, including us! Here are our impressions of this year’s E3 Video Game Live show.
Tatjana Vejnovic, Managing Editor
The greatest part of Video Games Live’s E3 performance was the second to last song: Guile’s Theme. Not only does Guile’s theme go with everything, but Eric and I screamed for the musicians to play it for a good ten minutes. I grew up with Street Fighter, so hearing Guile’s Theme was very nostalgic.
I’ve been to three other VGL shows, and this one definitely had the best ending. Tommy had everyone stand up, and when we did, he took a panoramic photo for everyone to tag themselves in on Facebook. That was right after we all sung Portal‘s ending song in unison.
This was my fourth time seeing Video Games Live and I loved it. Although the songs change from show to show, the production definitely needs a new intro video, as it does get old fast.
Eric Guzman, Staff Editor
Man, what a night. I’ve never attended a concert in my life but, VGL has set the bar high. The night was filled with nostalgia-inducing moments that plucked at my heartstrings. The emotions began to flourish when the orchestra began its Sonic medley; hearing “Green Hill Zone” almost brought me to tears.
The Zelda medley was another magical moment as the orchestra covered music from Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, and finally Skyward Sword. Laura Intravia (Flute Link) opened with the intro theme to Ocarina of Time, which was an amazing rendition. In all honesty, if the sounds I heard had a face, it would be the most beautiful face I’ve ever looked at. I was impressed with all of Intravia’s covers, but what blew me away was the Hyrule field cover. The passion, love, and appreciation for the piece was there, the piece sounded amazing. During the performance I looked around and saw many people with their eyes closed. It was that emotional.
Tatjana and I also had one of the funniest brofist moments of all time. The Team Rocket motto was played during the Pokemon medley, and Tat and I recited the motto word for word, all while our bewildered Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Wilson looked on in disbelief. It was priceless.
I made it through the night without shedding a tear…or so I thought. The show closed with a Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross medley, and I had a very personal moment. The timeless Chrono Cross soundtrack helped me get through some tough times growing up, so before the piece was over I noticed a steady stream of tears run down my face. It was that beautiful.
Timothy Torres, Senior Reviews Editor
After E3′s robotic presentations — I wonder if Reggie is solar-powered or runs on fossil fuels — it was a relief to see actual human beings on the stage of L.A.’s Nokia Theatre. Showmaster and electric guitarist Tommy Tallarico let the unrehearsed snarks fly (he frequently fudged the name of the chorus and made fun of a presenter’s obnoxious tight blue pants), but it was a technical gaffe that made my night.
It was time for the Guitar Hero segment of Video Games Live, when the winner of a pre-show contest came on stage and to play the music game with orchestra accompaniment. Tommy introduced David Paich from the band Toto to play piano as the Guitar Hero contest winner Starslayer got ready to play Toto’s “Hold the Line”, a track usually unavailable on the game. They hacked the game to get it in there! As the game booted up the track and everyone got ready to play their instruments, plastic and real, the song was nowhere to be found. There was sound. No one knew what to do at first. Toto sat at the piano as the other musicians shuffled around onstage trying to figure out the problem. At first Tommy had Paich play his most famous song, “Africa”, on the piano. Then he had pianist “Video Game Pianist” Martin Leung come out to play requests from the audience. Everyone shouted their choices. Immediately I yelled “Chrono Triggerrrrr!” Tat and Eric wanted “Guile’s Theme.” Tommy, trollish as ever, chose the theme from Angry Birds. Martin complied until everyone had enough. The creators of Monkey Island, Ron Gilbert and Tim Schaefer, were onstage earlier accepting an honor, so he had Martin play Monkey Island music next. After that, Martin played the Dragon Quest theme and by that time the problem was fixed and we were all rocking out to Toto on Guitar Hero live.
That little episode reminded me why live shows are so compelling. Anything can happen! Of course, the video game music was good, too! Martin Leung played an excellent medley of Rare games on the piano, including Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark and “Aquatic Ambience” and “Bramble Blast” from the Donkey Kong Country games. The Sonic the Hedgehog medley brought me back to my early days playing Genesis with my brothers. The bombastic Pokemon medley caught everyone by surprise, and despite the painful fan art displayed on a screen above the orchestra, “Aeris’ Theme” from Final Fantasy VII got me right here. Al Lowe, the creator of Leisure Suit Larry, played sax solo in a great surreal moment, and for the show’s closer he, and every other guest performer of the night including Silent Hill producer/composer Akira Yamaoka, came back out to help perform Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross. It was quite a time.