Sunday, 16 September 2012

BLOG: The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses @ Sony Centre (September 15, 2012)

This blog will be about my thoughts and experience at The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses concert. It's a concert featuring The Legend of Zelda music, performed by an orchestra and choir (when needed). The Legend of Zelda is a video game series (though I will refer to it as simply "Zelda" for the rest of this blog). I have to say right now, it was a pretty cool concert!! XD

Me and The Legend of Zelda
To my own disappointment, I'm not that much of a Zelda fan. Or rather, I haven't played many Zelda games, so I can't say anything more than that I'm not much of a fan. Growing up, I never owned an N64 or a Gamecube, so I missed out on a lot of the franchise. My only exposures to Legend of Zelda long ago was A Link to the Past for the SNES, and the North American cartoon series where Link kept saying, "Well, excuuuuuuuuse me".

The only other game I've played was Phantom Hourglass for the DS. Both A Link to the Past and Phantom Hourglass were fun, but for some reason (I blame it on that North American cartoon version of Link -- he was pretty annoying), I just wasn't drawn to the series. I never got excited whenever a new Zelda game was announced and released.

So... attending this concert that featured only Zelda music, I had no idea what to expect. But... I had a slight doubt in the back of my head that I would fully enjoy it (Zelda fans, please don't get offended!). Whenever I think of music for almost any first-party Nintendo game, I think of tracks that have a quirky, bouncy, light, bright sound to them -- not particularly moving and emotion-evoking. It's great music for when you're playing a game -- don't know for when you're just sitting and listening to it. Zelda being a first-party Nintendo game, I figured it would fall under that same kind of style.

The Little Details
Date of Concert: Saturday September 15, 2012
Venue: Sony Centre (Toronto, Ontario)
Time: 8:00 PM
Ticket Price Total: $72.22
Seating: Orchestra Aisle 2, Row NNN, Seat 11
Went with: Sister and her fiance

7:15-ish PM -- @ Sony Centre
When we got there, there was a long line up outside the Sony Centre. The doors haven't opened yet. I was a little surprised at the crowd. I kinda thought we were early. The person in front of us was wearing this really cool green jacket.

Really cool green jacket.

Once we got inside, we checked out the souvenir stand. I was set on buying a programme and an ocarina (if the price was reasonable). I figured that selling ocarinas would make a ton of sense at a Zelda concert. But... the stand was only selling a T-shirt and poster.

I was surprised. Where's all the cool stuff like there was at the Final Fantasy concert? Not even a programme? To say bluntly, I was a little let down. My sister's fiance was hoping to get some kind of soundtrack.

One thing that I found really interesting about this crowd were all the 3DSes floating around. Almost everywhere I turned, I saw somebody or a small group of attendees with their 3DSes out -- very different from the crowd at the Final Fantasy concert, where I didn't see any.

Many attendees were also dressed in green and carried / wore trinkets and such to express their fandom. It was really neat. I saw somebody wearing a necklace with the Zelda symbol. I saw somebody wearing a green hat with a pom pom Navi stuck to it. I saw somebody wearing a stylish green suit and a stylish green tie. And I saw a bunch of cosplayers:

 Link. Notice the chainmail?

 Another Link.

 From Skyward Sword.

 I don't know where these two are from. I love that little chicken plushie.

 Link and somebody from Ocarina of Time. I love that master key thing on Link.


When the auditorium doors opened, my sister, her fiance, and I went downstairs to the Orchestra level and we saw a small station with two Wiis set up and an area where you could take a picture with a Link cosplayer.

 Wii station.

 Taking a pic with Link. That is not me, by the way. It's a random attendee.
I didn't get his permission to put this pic up, so I covered his identity.

Inside the auditorium, it was packed. Strangely, two seats beside me were empty -- maybe I should have invited more people to come along. 
Just like at every other video game music concert I've attended, there was a huge screen above the stage to show accompanying video game footage.

Since there wasn't a programme available, this is a rough guess for some of the pieces. If anybody was there and sees something that needs correcting, please let me know. The name of each piece is most likely off, but almost all of them were medleys.

Zelda series: Overture
Zelda series: Dungeon Themes
Zelda series (?): Kakariko Village
Ocarina of Time: Ocarina Medley
Zelda series: Prelude
Ocarina of Time: 1st Movement
Wind Waker: 2nd Movement


Zelda series: ??? (some harp and string piece)
Twilight Princess: 3rd Movement
A Link to the Past: 4th Movement

You'll find out later.

8:00 PM-ish -- Music Start!
Once the conductor appeared, everybody clapped. As she raised her baton, the crowd went silent. Then the Overture began. It started with the familiar, nostalgic, heroic melody of the main theme -- then working its way to an intense, suspenseful sound with intense choral voices. It was a great start.

After the Overture (and after a massive round of applause and cheering), a guy in a suit appeared onstage (let's call him the emcee). He spoke a bit about Zelda and his own fandom to it, saying that it all started with "this", pulling out the gold NES cartridge of The Legend of Zelda. Then he went on to introduce the next few pieces. Unfortunately,I couldn't hear everything that he said.

Dungeon Themes made my skin crawl. They showed a lot of footage from the various dungeons in A Link to the Past. Yes, that game was fun, but it brought a lot of memories of me going through each dungeon (especially the long ones) with this worry that I would die before beating the boss (and would have to start the dungeon over). 'Cuz, you know, back in the SNES days, before you could save just about anywhere -- if you died (and had no fairies or potions to help you), you died.

Kakariko Village was nice and soothing. Everybody laughed when they showed footage of Link being attacked / chased by all those chickens in A Link to the Past and in the other games. Doing that was always a bit of a guilty pleasure for me -- and I always found it funny that they would even think of adding that bit of retaliation to the games.

Everything else up to the Intermission was more or less unfamiliar to me. Unfortunately, I couldn't connect the music to anything and the pieces were just okay to me. Even the video footage didn't help me all that much (though I must say -- those clips of Ganon being defeated were more graphic than I could imagine for a Nintendo game). I also found some parts a little too brassy.

Before the 2nd Movement featuring music from Wind Waker, the conductor brought out a Wind Waker baton, saying "[It would only be appropriate] that we conduct the Wind Waker movement, with the Wind Waker."

9:00-ish PM -- Intermission
I did absolutely nothing during the Intermission. I just stayed in my seat and spoke with my sister and her fiance about the concert so far. My sister's fiance was enjoying it immensely so far. My sister and I both enjoyed the pieces that we could connect to. Out of us three, I was the one with the least amount of exposure to Zelda games. My sister's fiance had the most, having played all the console games of Zelda, except for Majora's Mask. My sister played the two NES Zelda games and A Link to the Past. I tried playing the NES games, but stopped after getting lost and frustrated.

9:20-ish PM -- Second Half
The first piece after the intermission was some harp and string piece with some choral voices. It sounded really nice and ethereal.

The 3rd Movement featuring music from Twilight Princess was great. I've never played Twilight Princess, but the music -- it was very nice. Dark, grim, intense. Great stuff.

The 4th Movement featuring music from A Link to the Past was great. The video began -- with the very beginning of the game, with Link in his house, awoken by Zelda's plea for help. The music was the orchestrated piece of that beginning. Right away, I was taken back to my memories of starting the game, trekking through the dark and rainy night, and rescuing Zelda with that suspenseful track playing -- it sent shivers down my spine. Then the video went on to tell the story of A Link to the Past, right to the battle with Ganon, the music accompanying the footage perfectly through every scene.

Once the 4th Movement was over, everybody clapped and cheered, giving a standing ovation. The conductor left the stage. A few minutes later, the conductor and the emcee appeared.

9:50-ish PM -- Encores
This is a little funny just to say, the audience ended up giving a standing ovation for this concert four times. After each one (except for the last one), the emcee would appear and announce they would do one more encore. Everybody would cheer and clap afterwards and sit back down.

So we had three encore pieces.

Link's Awakening: Medley
Ocarina of Time: Gerudo Valley
Majora's Mask: Medley

The encores were great. I loved the build up and the intensity of the first one. Majora's Mask was okay.

My most favourite one (and most favourite piece from the concert) was Gerudo Valley. Even though I've never played Ocarina of Time, upon hearing it, I was... FULL of... elation. It's a little hard to describe. I have no concrete word to express what it does to me. I want to swoon. I want to crave it. Oh my... I just want to...

Like what I did at the Final Fantasy concert, I recorded the Zelda concert with my cell phone. Below are the first two encores (I hope I didn't just overhype Gerudo Valley). Just the sounds, no video. So just click play and do other things if you want to listen to it. The volume may be a little low and the quality may be crap (my cell phone is crappy).

The show ended around 10:15 PM.

 Encore 1: Medley from Link's Awakening

Encore 2: Gerudo Valley from Ocarina of Time
(I love how the emcee says "Hey, listen!")

Overall Experience
Overall, I enjoyed Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The first half was okay... but the second half was amazing. Now I want to play more Zelda games. I'm almost certain that I would have greater appreciation and connection to the pieces I heard today.

Thanks for reading! As always, feel free to comment. :)

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