April 2, 2007

Halo at Video Games Live concert

The evening of March 31, 2007, Louis Wu and I (and my son, Rafi) met at Yale's Woosley Hall in New Haven, CT for the phenomenon that is Video Games Live. The premise is video game music played by a symphony/choir. We had a great time! It definitely ran the gamut of games - starting with Pong and moving onwards. Did we get to hear Halo theme music in all it's symphonic glory? Does a grunt crap in its hermetically-sealed, methane-filled pants?

Below the fold there be more commentary, and actual VIDEO!

There was audience participation (in random picked audience members playing a game on the large screen with a chance to win prizes) and Jack Wall, the conductor and veteran composer of video game music was not acting like a stereotypical conductor. He was jumping, bopping, etc., to the music. Tommy Tallarico, another video game music veteran, is the host and he also brought his inner video-game geek to the event. My 11 year old son, though unfamiliar with some of the older video game music, still enjoyed himself. I would recommend anyone that hasn't had a chance to catch this tour to do so if it passes by. Check out their schedule here.

Below is the youtube link of the entire Halo portion of the concert I filmed off my digital camera. I'm actually impressed I got as good a vid as I did. They played the full Halo theme, and as a cool bonus they ended it with the Halo 3 trailer music: "Finish The Fight" If I had to criticize, the video in the background was basically just a pastiche of cutscenes, with not terribly strong links to the music as it played. Don't get me wrong... where there was a flourish - or any kind of emotional tug, the video followed suit, but in general, if you were an avid Halo player, the scenes did not really match the music. Too bad they couldn't have generated some custom vid that did a better job. I would have even preferred a medley of different Halo tunes with scenes of the levels the music was used in. Still, it's a minor quibble, and when they got to Halo 3, since the music was meant to follow the trailer, there was no issue there. Well, except for Tommy himself showing up with a Steinberger guitar strapped on. It would've been nice if we actually heard the guitar, but it really didn't sound all that good. Whoever was running the board didn't get a clean enough sound. Anyway, near the end you can hear me laugh when "Bungie" flashes across the screen, mainly because it was at that moment that I realize that in a twisted fashion, the concert is one giant 'attract' event for the forthcoming Halo 3. No other video/music composition in the concert ended with the developer logo and upcoming release date teaser. It was quite funny.

I don't mean to speak ill of Tommy and actually wish to give him major props for specifically giving all attendees permission to take pics and video and spread the wealth! He's eager for everyone to get a taste of the concert. Thanks Tommy for understanding the power of internet pic/video sharing. Many other symphonic pieces were played - Warcraft, Medal of Honor (with a very visceral *real life* montage of the horror that was WWII), Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts, Advent Rising (a game that came and went, but the music, composed by Tommy himself, easily surpassed the game's own failings), and we were even treated to the incredible Martin Leung, the Video Game Pianist that's all over youtube. His skill is unmatched, and to think he did it all with no sheet music!

My thanks to Mr. Louis Wu for his assistance in navigating around Yale and letting us bum some nice seats up on the balcony! And of course he's offering the video over at HBO at the best resolution possible.

Posted by bs at April 2, 2007 5:25 AM | TrackBack

"If I had to criticize, the video in the background was basically just a pastiche of cutscenes, with not terribly strong links to the music as it played. [...] the scenes did not really match the music."

Having watched the video, I think the intent was to summarize the plot of the two games. Aside from some very minor points, the cutscene footage is used entirely in sequence.

Given the length and variations in the theme itself, that they were able to hit many of the key events and scenes as well as match up the occasional flourish I think isn't bad, given that the thrust of the event was the music rather than the video.

Posted by: Narcogen on April 2, 2007 11:03 AM

Man, those lights get old fast. Thanks for posting this Mig!

Posted by: Gholsbane on April 7, 2007 2:46 AM

I was there, if only we could record this in a better audio format. It sounded SO amazing there, it sounds mediocre in the video.

Posted by: Flyboy on April 18, 2007 5:24 PM

I think it matches nicely

Posted by: Dave on April 19, 2007 12:08 AM

Great performance of two of Marty's masterpieces.

Posted by: Obliticutter on April 19, 2007 3:11 AM

Unbelievable. Just gives me chills to listen to the crescendo on the "Finish the Fight" piece, or maybe thats because it means Halo 3, SOON! Thanks for the footage!

Posted by: Chris on April 19, 2007 2:47 PM

wow the light show basically ruined the whole thing, couldnt see the video 90% of the time

Posted by: brad on April 19, 2007 3:58 PM

I agree that the video and music didn't quite synchronize. Ha ha, It's still hilarious to see the Bungie logo at the end...

Posted by: Blaise on April 21, 2007 12:10 AM

Since YouTube is under maintenance and you can't comment there...

The Montage going on in the back reminded me of how amazing the Halo series is- Even Halo 2 in comparison to the Masterpiece that is Halo 1. Then- Halo 3... It's all coming back baby. THAT is why I'm renting a theatre to play the H3 campaign in.

Posted by: Eisen Feuer on April 21, 2007 5:18 AM

nice man wish i was there to see it lol. Can't wait tell halo3 comes out hoora!! im on xbox live as bml masterchief see you on the battlefield.

Posted by: brandon laethem on April 22, 2007 1:59 AM

is it just me or is finish the fight to short im sure theres more to it marty should start spilling the beans

Posted by: on April 22, 2007 5:03 AM

wow that was the gayest thing ive ever thing the music doesnt go with the "CUTSCENES!!!"

Posted by: ummm... on April 26, 2007 1:34 AM
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