Video Games Live Glasgow: A Scottish Report

Video Games Live Glasgow: A Scottish Report

Video Games Live, a concert dedicated to the music of the computer games we play, took place for the first time in Glasgow on June 26th 2008. Richard Jacques was there (as you can see, plotting some evil scheme) as was Tommy Tallarico (Earthworm Jim, Metroid Prime) and many other composers of legend. Two brave souls, JJ4Eva and ForeverSonic, entered the concert as boys and emerged as men. Or something. Here’s their account of the night. Take it away boys.

Report by JJ4Eva

A nice rainy day of June 26th 2008 sees our two travellers James “JJ4eva” Maloney, and Simon “ForeverSonic” Shirley making their way to Glasgow for a big Scottish event. That event is Video Games Live, the first time the musical concert has ever been held in Scotland.

The day started off well, with JJ and ForeverSonic meeting none other than Richard Jacques outside of the concert hall in the late afternoon. Much conversation and laughs were had. We met Sonic, Mario and Ai Ai outside of the Glasgow Royal Concert hall. A lot of pictures were taken with Sonic and co keeping our men happy until they were called away back inside.

We had arrived early and spent most of the day waiting for the show to begin, but once VGL kicked off at about 7:30pm I was blown away. I must say, as my first time at VGL I thought it was the most awesome thing I’d ever been to. The atmosphere of the crowd and of the hosts/musicians was awe inspiring. Everyone was here for one thing whether they were playing or listening, and that was to enjoy themselves.

It began with a mini-Pacman video by ‘The Go Team’ and then progressed onto the arcade melody roughly 10 minutes long but had everything you needed in it – Pong, Space Invaders, Asteroids, Frogger and of course Tetris. We then received a ‘surprise call’ from Solid Snake announcing the host Tommy Tallarico onto the stage, who gave a warm welcome and introduced the next soundtrack to be played which was of course, Metal Gear Solid.

Moving on we had the “Space Invaders Challenge”, which consisted of a lucky contestant running backwards and forwards on stage with a “trigger”. The aim was to complete a stage of Space Invaders using your own body. It’s pretty crazy, and had everyone cheering the lone defender on as he struggled to zap the invaders. It’s something that has appeared on previous VGL tours, with our own T-Bird taking the challenge in the first UK concert a few years ago (see how T-Bird did in the 2006 London VGL video on Youtube).

We then moved onto the UK Premiere of the Metroid section. Jack Wall (the composer) and the orchestra played the original Metroid theme and the Samus Aran melody in homage. This was followed up with Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix and then Civilization IV.

It was time for Richard Jacques to take the stage to play an Outrun set on Piano that lasted roughly 7 minutes and was performed with perfection. It got everyone clapping to the rhythm of Splash Wave, the amount of energy in those original tracks – and in Jacques’ performance – really has stood the test of time.

After this we had a section for the Myst series followed by a quick video by Koji Kondo which introduced the Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess theme. The Zelda performance was very atmospheric and brought back a lot of good memories as the video played clips of past games in the Legend Of Zelda series. With the intermission ending the next challenge “Frogger” began and 2 combatants battled head to head to win the prize.

A firm favourite with the RPG crowd, the Square Enix section began, which involved tracks from Kingdom Hearts and featured a special Final Fantasy Medley played by Martin “The Video Games Painist” Leung.

Next was the section most anticipated by JJ and ForeverSonic, introduced by none other than Yuji Naka himself, the Sonic section! As Green Hill Zone’s theme began the hall was filled with cheers. The Sonic the Hedgehog Medley was the tune you would recognise from completing the Mega Drive classic – a mashup of all the Zone themes from Sonic 1, complete with video clips of the major Sonic titles in the past 17 years.

This was followed up by Blizzard entertainment’s own section, consisting of World Of Warcraft/Warcraft I – III music, and Starcraft II music. The Mario Medley came up after that, and consisted of the original Mario Bros theme, followed up by the Mario World Overworld theme being played again by Martin Leung – blindfolded. He carried on to play other Mario themes before returning to the overworld theme and playing the “speed up” sound, with rapid and accurate piano playing.

After a short Tetris section played, getting faster and faster with the whole crowd clapping in the background, the Halo section was performed by the orchestra. This was a long section consisting of ALL 3 Halo themes, with Tommy Tallarico playing along with the orchestra on Electric guitar towards the end.

The Halo trilogy wrapped up the Video Games Live concert, but we all wanted more! Our calls for an encore were thankfully heard, as Tommy came back on stage adorning a Spiderman guitar, and played Final Fantasy 7’s ‘One Winged Angel’, along with a special version of the Castlevania theme.

And that was that. As quick as it started, the night came to an end. It felt like we were only in there for ten minutes, it was an incredible feeling amongst the crowd. Outside the hall the Meet and Greet took place, where we took our place in line to meet everyone involved in the concert. We got out flyers signed and had another quick chat with Richard Jacques. All in all, it was an unforgettable evening and well worth going to see when it comes back round.

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.