As a longtime gamer, one of my bucket list items was to attend a video game concert. I’ve always loved watching clips of grand orchestras on YouTube performing some of the most famous and memorable melodies in video gaming history. So the chance to attend a gaming-themed musical event in San Diego, California was just too good to pass up in early December. While it didn’t have an orchestra, the intimate candlelight concert did feature the talented musicians of the “Velveteen Ensemble” as they played some familiar pieces to the delight of the audience inside of the Chapel at Liberty Station. Unfortunately, because I was not prepared to do a post on this initially, I did not obtain photos of the musicians in action. Once the concert began, I was too busy enjoying the event.
The four musicians put their stringed instruments to work with renditions of the main theme of The Legend of Zelda, “To Zanarkand” from Final Fantasy X, “Radical Dreamers” from Chrono Cross, “Ken’s Theme” from Street Fighter II, multiple melodies from the original Super Mario Bros., and much more. Along with video game themes, the concert also included performances from anime such as Pokemon, Digimon, Naruto, and Sailor Moon. It was such a treat because I love gaming music. The musicians did such a terrific job with their pieces and the dim candlelight ambiance really added to the event.
Although I enjoyed myself immensely, there were a few things that could have been improved. First, because my seat was located towards the front, part of the stage was not viewable. I could only clearly see three of the four musicians without leaning. The balcony was the best place to view the concert in that venue. Next, there was a fellow in the row in front of me that would not keep his mask on properly. So a member of the event staff stood in my line of sight three times during the concert to tell the man to adjust his mask. The concert was advertised as a fully masked event from the start even before tickets initially went on sale. It was ridiculous and quite annoying that they had to warn him a total of four times to adjust his mask. The first time was before the concert started. Lastly, I haven’t sat on a wooden church pew in years. As a result, my back was feeling destroyed about 30 minutes in. It was to my benefit that the performance was just an hour because I wouldn’t have survived any longer. I will have to remember to start bringing a seat cushion to events in the future just in case the sitting surface is hard.
There was one moment that during the concert that elicited a chuckle out of me. When the ensemble started playing the Pokemon theme, there was a fellow behind me that said “God!” in such a way as if he was hearing the greatest thing his ears were ever privy to. It was unexpected and hilarious. But I was glad that he was enjoying himself to that degree. Before the concert began, he was telling his friend about Tales of Arise and how great of a game it was. Unfortunately, he was also spoiling the entire storyline of the game that his friend had yet to play. Part of me wanted to turn around and cut in for the sake of his friend, but I decided against it because it wasn’t my place to do so. But it was disappointing how he was taking away the awesome twists and turns in the game. I guess some people just have to “spoil” it.
I just wanted to share that my concert experience with all of you. “To Zanarkand” and “Ken’s Theme” were my two favorite pieces. The stringed versions of the two themes were excellently performed. At some point, I would love to attend a bigger concert. But some of the orchestras that used to come to California no longer do so. Perhaps if they come to Las Vegas, that would definitely be worth the drive. At least this concert was something I could check off my bucket list. I’m very thankful for the chance to do so.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE VIDEO GAME SONGS?