Reviews from other concerts:
However, the heart of video games will always be fun. Tallarico took time out from all the music appreciation to insert some actual gameplay. Audience members were invited on stage to play classic titles like Space Invaders and Frogger on a big-screen projector while the orchestra played the game music in real time. As time counted down, the orchestra would speed up the tempo just like the classic soundtracks as an alert for the player to hurry.
With strobe lights, a big video screen, mirror balls and an electric guitar, it was clear that "Video Games Live!" is not a typical symphony concert. And to have the Utah Symphony give two acts of video-game music life in a place other than the TV was nothing short of a rush.
The most stunning video game music pieces play heavily on emotion, and have done so as effectively as their movie counterparts. The show's rendition of BioShock's eerie original music showcased a string section that built a heavy tension that makes a hesistant gamer's heart pound before opening that door. In contrast, the tone of Super Mario Bros., played by the precise fingers of pianist Martin Leung, suggested a lighthearted and playful vibe that's just as iconic, if not more, than the Mario franchise itself. Heroic pieces like the music of Metroid, Halo 3, and The Legend of Zelda captured the exact march rhythms that inspire joystick warriors to charge valiantly into battle. In fact, the gap between cinema and video game music was bridged when film composer John Debney, who scored films like Passion of the Christ and Sin City, took the stage to conduct his work from PlayStation 3's dragon adventure Lair.
By the end of the show, the symphony did exactly what narrator and game composer and "Video Game Live!" co-founder Tommy Tallarico said it would do — "Show how culturally significant video games and video game music is in the world today."
Conducted by video-game-music composer and "Video Game Live!" co-founder Jack Wall, the symphony, aided by the Snow College Choir, took the nearly sold-out audience on a journey from the early days of video gaming to the present.