I pre-ordered tickets to the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert months in advanced, so I was really excited when I finally got to attend this event.
The Legend of Zelda is one of the greatest video game franchises in video game history. That may sound blunt, but it is the truth. The music, composed by master composer Koji Kondo, is hugely inspirational to me. To an extent, it somewhat defines my own musical style, mixed with a few other things of course.
I arrived at the Wang Theater an hour early on accident (bad time management) and the line was already outside. The moment people were let in, they flocked to the merchandise. It is a good thing I came early. I did not know there would be merchandise. I got a poster!
Then we all found our seats and waited in anticipation for the show. My seat was incredible. It was really close and almost dead center. You can not get much better than that.
After the extremely talented Rhode Island Orchestra members took their seats, the conductor walked up to the podium, and alas, it was a woman. I heard a girl near me in the audience say, “A female conductor?” Indeed.
The concert opened with a suite of themes from the history of the Legend of Zelda games. This exact suite was performed previously at E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) this past summer. Being able to hear it performed live was a real treat. It included many wonderful and memorable themes such as Epona’s Song, Zelda’s Lullaby, and of course, the main theme. Three gigantic screens showed footage from many of the games in the Legend of Zelda series.
Following that, the guy behind this whole show came out with a NES cartridge of the original 1986 Legend of Zelda. He said, “This is where it all started for me”. After the inevitable applause for that statement, the orchestra performed a series of dungeon themes.
Next, they played four medley’s with an intermission in the middle: Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and A Link to the Past. I will go over each of these in turn.
First up is the classic Ocarina of Time. Many of the ocarina songs were performed, including Saria’s Song, the Song of Time, the Song of Storms, and the Serenade of Water. The three screens kind of summarized the game, taking you from Kokiri Village, through Hyrule Field, and onwards through the game. This summarization happened with the other medley’s as well. The medley concluded with the epic fight with Ganon.
Next up is Wind Waker. The conductor paused here and said something like this: ”It is not customary to stop between the first and second movements, but here I am going to make an exception.” She told us that she has dreamed of being a conductor since she was a little girl, and how she appreciates that the conductor’s baton has been made in to such a recognizable aspect of the orchestra thanks to Wind Waker. (In Wind Waker, you can use a conductor’s baton to magically change the wind’s direction for sailing purposes.)
She then pulled out a replica of the baton from Wind Waker and proceeded to conduct the orchestra with it to enormous applause. Like with Ocarina of Time, the medley and the three screens pretty much summed up the whole game.
Finally, the moment I was waiting for: Twilight Princess! And…. they skipped Ilia’s theme. Why? Who knows. But it was amazing anyways. Koji Kondo really out did himself with this one. Beautiful. Wonderful. Brilliant. Fantastic. Interestingly, the original soundtrack is mostly sequenced on a computer rather than recorded live. Koji Kondo chose to do this because he feels that writing for an orchestra is not as personal. Since I have never worked with an orchestra, I can not really form any opinion on the matter. It did give me an increased appreciation for sequenced music, though. It definitely has some advantages.
The more electronic pieces of the soundtrack were not performed, obviously, even though they are some of my favorite tracks.
And last but not least, a medley for A Link to the Past. This was a very lengthy and impressive medley. I feel that it did the game’s soundtrack justice.
After the applause and the predictable standing ovation, the guy that came out earlier came back and said, “You didn’t think that was it, did you? What about the Gerudo Valley theme? You can’t leave without hearing that one!” He dedicated it to all of the women in the audience and then it was performed in a rather unique arrangement, at least compared to the original.
What happened next was very unexpected. I knew the first encore was coming, but there was no way I could have predicted a second encore, especially one of this caliber. That guy whose name I still do not know came out once again and said, “I see that some people are leaving. Clearly, they don’t know how this thing works.” Then they performed an extra medley for Majora’s Mask! Awesome!
And finally, it was over. I left with my Symphony of the Goddesses poster a changed man. Ok, it was not that extreme, but it will most certainly be something I will remember for the rest of my life. Time to go play some Zelda….