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VSO – The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest @ Orpheum Theatre – October 16th 2013

Oh man, I’m going to geek out hard, so there’s your warning right there.

Video games have always been a big part of my life, starting when I was a skeletal, pale child who rarely ventured outside because books, games, and other adventures I could lose myself in always seemed that much more appealing. I remember playing and watching others play the very first Zelda game and since our family always had a Nintendo system, it’s been a series that I’ve been able to keep up with through-out the years (for the most part). I put countless hours into playing A Link to the Past for the Super Nintendo, and blasted through as many of the other games as I could, always making sure I collected every item and found every secret. It was because of all this history I’d had with the series that something like ‘The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest’ was right up my alley.

As Clay and I got there, we found that (as expected) it was a huge draw for others as well. With tickets that ranged from about $55-$80, they pulled a pretty big turn-out. There was a lot of merch that I’m sure racked in a lot of cash as well, as fans piled into the line-up to get their Zelda everything. I was tempted to take a look but knew that it would be better just to walk on by, averting my gaze.

We took our seats and laid eyes upon row after row of musicians in front of a giant projector screen with the Triforce emblem on it. The orchestra did their little tuning warm-up and then conductor Susie Benchasil Seiter started things off with an Overture that included the Zelda opening theme, Ganondorf’s theme, and Zelda’s theme. As the piece moved along, there were clips from different Zelda games that accompanied the sound, which was synced up perfectly. With each scene change on the video, or strong movement of a character on the screen, the orchestra hit hard with incredible timing.

After the overture, the emcee for the evening came out and did his introductory spiel, original Zelda cartridge for the NES in hand. We were then to hear a piece made to celebrte the 20th anniversary of the Link’s Awakening game for the Gameboy, followed by Spirit Tracks for the Nintendo DS. As the piece progressed, a CG background relevant to the in-game video was put on the screen, which was a nice touch, as it really added to the atmosphere of the part of the game being shown.

It probably doesn’t even need to be said, but the music to Link’s Awakening and Spirit Tracks were beautifully done with plenty of stand-out solo work done on violin and flute (which continued throughout the whole performance). Afterwards there was a prelude that worked as an introduction piece for the Godesses and the Triforce, which is a song that always twists my head around with it’s timing and instrumental parts that don’t quite fit together so much that they go back and force themselves into place. To be able to hear and play the melody within the dischord is more than enough to applaud for.

Then we had two pieces for games that have recently gotten HD updates; Ocarina of Time and Windwaker. I feel like Ocarina of Time could easily have a whole night to itself, which kind of made the overview of sound they had put together felt like it didn’t quite cover all the bases. Not that I thought it was bad or anything but with Windwaker, I felt like it gave a much better video and sound overview of the entire game and it felt satisfying, whereas Ocarina of Time, not so much.

After the intervention they play the Gerudo Valley theme, which only moments before I had said it would be really cool if they’d played the song during their Ocarina of Time section. So that stuffed a sock in my mouth right there. I then got extremely frustrated with my piece of garbage pen which seemed to only work when I was scribbling away, trying to get it to work again. Not that anyone cares.

Things then moved into Twilight Princess territory, and finally A Link to the Past. While I don’t have an awful lot to say about Twilight Princess (other than it was another amazingly composed and played piece), I can talk about A Link to the Past for days. As I gushed above, I’ve played that game numerous times and to see it on that big screen with an orchestra playing the music rather than 16-bit sound that I was used to definitely brought a big, dopey smile to my face.

Things then continued with a 3 part encore (insert 3-hit boss joke here; which actually happened) with Majora’s Mask, Dragon Roost Island, and Skyward Sword’s main theme. Majora’s Mask was the only other one that just felt kind of rushed as an overview of the game, though when being followed up by two pieces with a much smaller scope game-wise, it’s to be expected.

Basically I loved everything about the night. The visuals were amazing, the orchestra was dead-on, both with each other, as well as with whatever was going on with the screen above. Though I have my small nitpicky parts, there was nothing that didn’t blow me away. If you love Zelda, yes it is worth it and if you love music, then yes it’s worth it too, maybe just save a few bucks and sit further back.

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