Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Entertainment: Video Games Live

Tonight we went out to see Video Games Live, a live show created and produced by Tommy Tallarico (formerly of Electric Playground) that uses an orchestra and choir to re-create memorable video game trailers and songs from the movie or cut scenes in the game. I think he originally developed the idea because he himself is a video game music person and he wanted to show that video game music is more than just a bunch of bleeps and boops.

The show opened with a montage of music from old and original video games, including Pong, which I really enjoyed because the orchestra made the bloop and blop sounds. There was also a lot of music both from the introductory game music and music gameplay. It was quite interesting. Laura Intravia, a classically-trained vocalist came in and did some opera-type singing which was spectacular. She also sang a few other songs and did an interesting dueling skit with her flute and a flower that had its own "flute" that she composed and arranged . Apparently she also composes music for video games; she's very, very talented.

Also making an appearance was Martin Leung, whose claim to fame is that he played the Super Mario Bros music on the piano while blindfolded. I don't play the piano so I don't know how difficult it is to play while blindfolded but it must be possible. He repeated that performance during the show and also played a couple of other times. He seemed very talented and his fingers were very fast.

In addition to composing music for video games and being a television personality, Tommy Tallarico plays the electric guitar. He played on five different guitars during the show. Most of them were sort of standard but one was a "steampunk guitar" which had a rifle barrel and sight above the frets. I don't know if the rifle actually worked but it was interesting, too.

No video game show would be complete without people playing video games. Two volunteers came up and played Frogger during the show and both received a prize of some sort. The doors also opened an hour and a half early so that people could play video games before the show, and the highest-scoring Guitar Hero player got to perform Jump by Van Halen on Guitar Hero on-stage. If he got a score of 240 000 or more while playing the Hard version, he got a prize. He chose to play the song on Expert and he hit every single note, which apparently hasn't happened on the tour ever. It was amazing to watch this guy play the song perfectly - and of course he scored over 240 000 points and won the prize.

There were a few other funny things during the show, like the worst vocal actors and the worst titles ever. The whole show was quite entertaining even if you don't know all of the video games (I definitely don't) and even if you don't like Tommy Tallarico (which I don't - I used to find him annoying on the show). I'd recommend the show if you're at all interested in video game music.

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