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What To Expect From The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses Tour

by Kyle Hilliard on May 22, 2017 at 04:30 PM

This weekend, a handful of Game Informer editors attended the Minneapolis concert for The Legend of Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses tour. It was my first time attending the concert, which has now been touring for years. We were invited to attend by producer Jason Michael Paul and went backstage to take a look around, meet this particular show’s conductor, Kelly Corcoran,‏ and just generally take in the full musical experience.

If you’ve never attended, or are unfamiliar with it, here’s how the show works. A skilled orchestra and large chorus play through a number of familiarly arranged Zelda pieces while gameplay appears on a screen on stage. Just about every console generation of Zelda is explored, even if not every game gets time in the spotlight.

It’s a stirring experience to hear familiar themes expressed in broad, live, sweeping orchestration (as Javy can attest), and though I was never quite brought to tears, I definitely did feel moved during certain pieces. I did tear up during Disney on Ice for no reason, though, so maybe I’m just extra emotional when it comes to live performance.

The Wind Waker got the most attention, with multiple pieces being played before and after the intermission, but Skyward Sword ended up being a surprise highlight for me. Skyward Sword has become, “the motion-controlled Zelda,” for better, but mostly worse, which makes you forget how great the music is. That game is all about soaring, and its music is thematically consistent – which translates to great live orchestration.

A new piece for Breath of the Wild was played, but it was underwhelming. I don’t fault the orchestra for this, but rather the music itself. Breath of the Wild has great music, but it’s intentionally more subtle. So, really, the only piece available to play is the music used for the game’s trailer. It was nice to hear that music without the awkward pause that appears in the game’s trailer, but I was much more engaged by many of the other pieces played during the show.

The screen on stage takes up the majority of your attention, obscuring most of the musicians. I made it a point to look away from time to time to watch the musicians, but I did really enjoy what was being shown. I thought it would be the equivalent of watching gameplay b-roll, but the on-screen footage served as nice summaries for the pieces being played. For The Dragon Roost Island music, for example, we got to see a summarized version of the dungeon from its beginning up to its final boss. For the arrangements that covered the whole of a game, we got to watch summaries of the games in their entirety, which I enjoyed.

The screen also showed periodic, personalized messages from Shigeru Miyamoto, Eiji Aonuma, and Koji Kondo, affording them the chance to thank fans for coming and also offer some explanation about what the music means to them individually, and to the series.

At the start of the concert, producer Jason Michael Paul came on stage to introduce the show and encouraged attendees to applaud and cheer when hearing music they liked. I appreciated the casual tone this set for the rest of the show but was bothered by people clapping over the music, especially since the applause would often happen during the most stirring moments.

My favorite piece, by far, was the final arrangement of the music from Link to the Past. Other than enjoying the music from Link to the Past (though I don’t know if it is my favorite of the series) it was awesome to hear an orchestrated version of the music I have only known in its original chiptune rendition. Just about everything else played that night I had heard orchestrated before, or in the case of games like Ocarina of Time, something close to it with its digitized orchestration.

My personal favorite pieces, Ocarina of Time’s Forest Temple music, and the Lorule Field theme from A Link Between Worlds, were not played, which I found to be very rude considering they knew I would be attending. Overall, however, I really enjoyed the concert and walked with away with a renewed appreciation for Zelda's music, and a strong desire to replay every game featured in the show.

For more on the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour, head here for our 2015 Game Informer Show interview with producer Jason Michael Paul.