Posted on January 22 2015 by James Evans
Spoiler Warning: This post will contain a general overview of the Symphony of the Goddesses Master Quest performance. If you do not wish to know what to expect out of the show before going to see it, do not read this post. If you want to know what it’s about or want to know what to expect, feel free to read my experience below.
Last night marked the opening of the third Symphony of the Goddesses Tour, titled “Master Quest”, in Nashville, Tennessee. This latest edition of the Legend of Zelda Symphony debuted new music and visuals from
A Link Between Worlds and Majora’s Mask 3D, adding to the already breathtaking arrangements directly approved by Eiji Aonuma and Koji Kondo. The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses features an arrangement organizing the music from Ocarina of Time, The Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and A Link to the Past into four movements that are worthy of the Hero of Hyrule himself, and I was privileged to experience it first hand.
Walking into the Schermerhorn building instilled an immediate sense of…confusion. The building was beautifully crafted and had an elegant air about it. I was dressed in my good suit and my wife looked stunning in her dress with a
Kokiri Emerald necklace tastefully revealing her fandom. This regal perspective was abruptly halted as we entered the lobby, where we reminded that this was no ordinary event. T-shirts sporting the Hylian Crest were common attire and the occasional cosplayer clad in a Halloween store’s “Elven Hero” costume could be seen, proving that this was just as much of a convention concert as a symphonic orchestra. Everyone there was a fan and was excited to be social with strangers, not a common practice at the more “formal” events. So Krista and I grabbed a couple of drinks and found our way to our seats, just in time for the lights to dim.
Cue the conductor, Vinay Parameswaran. A thunderous applause welcomes him in and from my seat I can see the pure excitement in his face as he dropped the downbeat for a concert paying tribute to a series that probably meant as much to him as everyone else in the room. A triumphant fanfare filled the hall and I could feel the tension of hundreds of fans holding back screams of joy out of respect for the performers.
Zelda overture welcomed us all into the adventure the same way it did when the original game was released. It was as if we turned the game on for the first time and sat in awe, anxiously awaiting to press the start button and begin our adventure. Believe me, it’s one thing to hear the powerful works of Koji Kondo through a set of speakers, but the overwhelming sensation of hearing a live performance is enough to send chills down your spine and make your hairs stand on end.
At the closure of the overture, tour producer Jason Michael Paul came out on stage to welcome us to the event and presented us with the performance line-up. What would follow was a beautiful collection of pieces from the series including ”
Gerudo Valley“, “Boss Battle Medley”, “Suite from Majora’s Mask”, and “A Link Between Worlds”. These pieces truly captured these musically vital moments in the series’ long history. They are songs that made their mark in every fan’s hearts and minds alike.
“Gerudo Valley” is easily one of the most iconic songs in one of the most iconic games of all time, so it goes without question why it was included. “Boss Battle Medley” allowed fans to relive the epic duels between
Link and the many formidable foes he has faced throughout Hyrule’s darkest times. “Suite from Majora’s Mask” and “A Link Between Worlds” closed out the interludes and symbolized where the series now stands and prepares us for the adventure to come.
Now we are finally at the main course; the pièce de résistance. The Symphony is broken up into a prelude and four movements, bringing some of the most musically influential moments in the series’ history to life. It started with “The Creation of Hyrule”, which many of you will remember being told by the Great Deku Tree in
Ocarina of Time. Each movement thereafter would tell the story of the game it was named after. Logically following the story of creation, the music and video took us on through “Ocarina of Time”. From meeting Saria in the Lost Woods to the collapse and destruction of Ganon, the epic adventure that many fans started with was embodied in just ten minutes of music.
So, what could follow a performance of what is believed by fans and critics alike to be one of the best games of all time? How about something believed by many to be one of the best soundtracks of all time? “The Wind Waker” took sail and presented a light-hearted arrangement that was accompanied by Toon Link on screen. His expressions were captured perfectly by the music in the game and the feelings that came from that were made even stronger through a live performance; a great note to leave on for intermission.
Everyone takes a breather to grab some drinks and talk about the first half of the performance, smiling uncontrollably. After fifteen minutes, everyone takes their seats and the music continues with the famous music of the ”
Great Fairy’s Fountain“. The smiles continue and everyone is falling into the relaxing tranquility of the piece. However, as we’ve come to know from the
Zelda series, that tranquility was about to be harshly interrupted.
The sound that came out of the horns and across the strings next were darker, more disheartening, and somewhat horrifying. But isn’t that kind of the theme of
Twilight Princess? So it makes sense that just as we come back and got comfortable, we’d be introduced to something to put us right back on the edge of our seats, and “Twilight Princess” did just that in spectacular fashion. Being my wife’s favorite game in the series, she struggled to hold back her excitement as we recalled the most powerful moments throughout the game, including Zant’s threat on Zelda’s life and the restoration of the Spirits of Light.
The fourth and final movement really hit home to me. In fact, just before “Twilight Princess”, Jason Michael Paul returned to the stage to present the last two movements of the Symphony: “Twilight Princess” and “Time of the Falling Rain”. Of course, when “Twilight Princess” was mentioned, the hall filled with excitement and applause. The latter, however, didn’t receive as much recognition. A few hands clapped and a couple of woo’s broke the silence, but nobody knew what to expect.
An image appeared on screen of a pink-haired boy lying in bed, awoken by a man taking up sword and shield and leaving hurriedly after hearing a cry for help.
A Link to the Past holds a very special place for me, and for the first time ever, I could hear it the way it was meant to be heard. A final fight with Ganon and the restoration of Hyrule brought an end to the epic Symphony, but that wasn’t the end of the show. This was the Master Quest edition, there was more to be explored.
The Finale presentation was a beautiful closure to the event. According to the producer, we were treated to an arrangement of
Majora’s Mask with correlating “never-before-seen” footage of the new 3D version of the game. While nothing new was presented, it did offer a sort of presentation that got us excited about the future of the series. It was like a well-written story.
The show opened up touching on everything that we were going to experience, took us through the adventure, and ended by reminding us of what the last two hours were all about. Pieces from practically every game in the series were given their time, and when the last note fell, the audience stood in a roaring applause wondering where the reset button was or if we could possibly get a “New Game +”. But alas, that would not be. The show was over and we were all left with an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction, very similar to the feeling I know I have when I beat a new
To call this event a normal symphonic performance would be a lie. The only way I can think to honestly describe it is to call it a live multimedia experience. The Nashville Symphony and Nashville Symphony Chorus were able to masterfully capture the essence of the
Legend of Zelda series in a way that will stick with me forever. But this was just my experience.
As with every
Zelda game, every individual will see and feel things differently. But if there is anything that is made overly apparent out of this evening, it’s that the music composed by Koji Kondo has taken the Zelda series to new levels. What could have been just another adventure game has become a phenomenon that is being recognized by more than just the gaming community. That music, and the series as a whole, is capable of bringing hundreds of thousands together to agree on one thing: the Zelda series has changed our lives forever.
If you want to see this performance for yourself, check the schedule
here and get your tickets now. If the tour isn’t coming near you, don’t get discouraged. This show will tour again and I would guarantee that it will be better than ever.
Let us know in the comments below if you plan on going; and if you have already seen it, share your thoughts and feelings below.