Music has been one of the Zelda series strongest points since the very first game on the NES. While the original Legend of Zelda game only had around eight minutes total of music, nearly anyone familiar with video games will be able to recognize any of those songs, and they are some of the most iconic themes in gaming history. Over the years Zelda has never failed to impress with its soundtracks, so it’s no wonder that the live orchestral performance of music from these games has been an amazing hit. The latest performance was in Seattle at Benaroya Hall, which held over 2000 people attending on September 14. Many people were dressed as characters from the games, others donned nice green outfits or various Zelda apparel while showing off their love for the games. There was no one age group there, from young children to older adults, everyone there seemed to equally be excited.
There were a few Zelda-themed items for sale, which could be purchased before or after the show. The highlighted items seemed to be the exclusive t-shirt and poster available. The picture on the t-shirt had many iterations of Link gathered around the Triforce. The poster featured characters from Skyward Sword and had the logo for the Symphony of the Goddesses at the bottom. The other items for sale included a small program that highlighted Koji Kondo, Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma as well as the conductor for the orchestra, Amy Anderson. The other book available for purchase was a music book for solo piano play featuring a wide selection of Zelda music. The last and most fitting item available was a model of the Wind Waker baton.
As people settled into their seats in the main auditorium they were able to hear instruments warming up in the back by practicing little bits of Zelda music that was soon to come. A large screen overhead the stage showed scenes from recently released Zelda games and would occasionally switch to a live camera which highlighted some of the fans dressed up in the audience who would then get a rowdy applause from everyone else.
After the orchestra had finally gathered onto the stage the lights dimmed the announcer walked out, welcoming all those in attendance and introducing the Seattle Symphony as well as conductor Amy Anderson. Once he had finished a brief video recording featuring Shigeru Miyamoto played on the large overhead screen and he too welcomed the audience before wishing all those attending to enjoy thirty years of Zelda music.
The performance began and the screen above the orchestra was overtaken by footage from various games, all synced perfectly with the music. The Seattle Symphony sounded wonderful, they hit every note in these songs like they had been playing it forever. The beautiful sounds and familiar imagery of the games immersed the audience into the performance. There were two breaks between songs where videos played, featuring Eiji Aonuma speaking to the audience and later Koji Kondo. Like Miyamoto in the video before them, they hoped the audience would continue to enjoy the wonder and thrill of the music.
While all the music played was beyond outstanding, the part that stood out most would be towards the end when pieces from Skyward Sword were played. Skyward Sword was the fist Zelda game to receive a fully orchestrated soundtrack, the way they played made it apparent that this was the best way for the music to be heard. When the music had stopped for the last time, the musicians stood and bowed while the audience roared with applause. The performance had started at 7:30 and ended over two hours later, but felt like it had been so much longer in that auditorium in the best of ways.
For any lover of the Zelda series, this is an unbelievably amazing experience. While it’s easy to listen to recordings of the orchestral music, it cannot compare to hearing it live. It captured the essence of what these games are all about: growth and adventure. This performance would have anyone wanting to immediately jump into the games and play them from the beginning. The tour is scheduled to continue through January of 2017, the full list of dates and locations can be seen here for those interested. To anyone who has love for Zelda, or even played just one game and has fond memories, this would be among the highest recommendations of performances to be seen if you have the chance. Hopefully this performance continues to go on even longer so more people can continue enjoying this amazing music live.