On Saturday night, I had an opportunity to go to The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses in Toronto. It pretty much speaks for itself: after twenty-five years of amazing music, Nintendo decided to put on a tour of America with a full orchestra, playing four movements devoted to each of the most important games in the series.
The symphony was broken down like this:
- Introduction and opening, with a tribute to some of the more iconic dungeon music
- A number of popular ocarina songs (including the Temple of Time and a jaw-dropping Song of Storms)
- Songs from Ocarina of Time
- Songs from Wind Waker
- Songs from Twilight Princess
- Songs from A Link to the Past
- Encore 1: The Ballad of the Wind Fish from Link’s Awakening
- Encore 2: Gerudo Valley from Ocarina of Time
- Encore 3: Majora’s Mask suite
Yeah, that’s right: three encores.
The entire night was just amazing. The music was carefully planned and synced to footage from the games on a big screen, telling a concrete story for all of the movements and allowing people to get the idea of what the major themes of each was. Each song just flowed into the other, and little moments (like Cuckoo attacks) on video elicited laughter from the crowd.
This wasn’t a typical symphony, as about 75% of the audience was dressed in casual wear or similar. The intermission featured dozens of people playing 3DS’, there were cosplayers dotting the seats, and even people shouting out requests during the encores. This last thing bugged me the most, as I think a lot of nerds get into a big group and tend to want to draw attention to themselves, especially if it gets them a favourable reaction.
It ends up ruining things for me a little bit when I’ve been disturbed from watching an event I paid forbecause some smartass can’t shut his mouth.
Aside from that one little quibble, I was overcome with sheer emotion for most of the night. While I’ve only beaten two of the Zelda games (Link’s Awakening and Twilight Princess) I’ve at least played the others - I understood the emotion that is attached with each moment. Hearing the male choir do the Temple of Time theme brought tears to my eyes, as did the final Ballad of the Wind Fish; choosing to pay homage to a quirky game like A Link to the Past made me happy they appreciated the whole series.
That was the best part, I think - though the musicians themselves rotate from city to city, the MC and Conductress (Conductor?) stayed on through the whole tour. Though they may not gamers themselves, I had a feeling they at least saw the music for what it is: beautiful and evocative.
The moment that just got everyone was when the conductor paused before the Wind Waker movement, addressed the crowd and said that she appreciated the game putting a spotlight on a baton. She then pulled out a replica Wind Waker to conduct that movement with, and continued on as normal. There was this “Oh no, they wouldn’t” moment that was instantly rewarded, and despite the three standing ovations, that was the moment that the theater just exploded.
One piece of plastic, but so much meaning.
If you can, I recommend you go see this show; if you can’t pick up the 25th Anniversary Soundtrack that came with Skyward Sword, and you’ll be able to at least hear what I’m talking about.
Zelda fans will not be disappointed.
I saw this one in LA at the Greek theater. Seriously, the part about sheer emotion is true. I almost cried I was so full of feels! I think my favorite was the whole symphony, but my extra extra favorite was the Ballad of the Wind Fish because that game holds a special place in my heart (it took me like seven years to beat it).
It was just flawless! (Although I wish the conductor had used a Wind Waker when *I* saw it…although it *was* an outdoor concert so maybe raising a wind would have been dangerous.)
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