Just to get my moaning out of the way, the one thing that annoyed me, and this is more the venue (The o2 Apollo) than Video Games Live directly, is the fact that the tickets said doors at 6.30pm. They didn’t actually open until closer to 7.30. Either the clocks going back confused somebody or something got delayed but, I really hate standing around for over an hour in the freezing cold. Also, the completely pointless priority line for customers of o2, which was completely unmonitored and didn’t actually do anything at all since the doors were opened for both lines simultaneously.
Anyway, enough of that. Once we were in the venue started to fill up nicely. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a complete sell out. The Apollo is a smaller venue which seats around 3,500, and we were in “The Circle” which is basically the upper tier. It’s a nice small venue so even right at the back you feel nice and close. The acoustics are fantastic in there too. The benefit of this was there was a bunch of empty seats further forward which meant we got a better view than we paid for plus got to spread out a bit. Big big bonus for captain long legs here. I don’t think this mattered too much as all the lower tiers and standing areas were fully packed. It’s a shame though because they deserve a sell-out. I’m surprised they didn’t get a bigger turnout considering how popular gaming is in Manchester.
First to come out is Tommy Tallarico, a legendary video game composer and creator of Video Games Live. Tommy then introduces us to the orchestra for the evening, the Hungarian Virtuosi Orchestra. Tommy is a great MC, as well as lead guitar in many songs, and his passion for the show is self-evident. The fact he’s been doing this for so long and still clearly loves being out there every time is a testament to this.
So, time for the music. I’m only going to cover the songs that I really connected with, as there were a few games in there I’d never played or know anything about, so I’ll be skipping those. But we start off on a strong note, as we’re introduced to a video package from Konami legend Hideo Kojima.
Another personal favourite next, and one of the major highlights of my evening, as Yuji Naka takes to the big screen to introduce us to Sonic The Hedgehog. The orchestra played a medley of songs from the first game, Sonic The Hedgehog 1, based loosely on the end credits Medley.
Next Up is Earthworm Jim, a fantastic Mega Drive game, the soundtrack to which was composed by non other than Tommy Tallarico himself. A great soundtrack and an hilarious video package to go along with it.
But the grand finale, and one of my personal all time favourites, singer Riva Taylor (who had appeared earlier that night for a game I don’t recall or care much about) and Tommy lead us in a rendition of Still Alive, the classic ending theme from Portal.
Video Games Live is a brilliant, epic, fantastic, so many words I can’t even being to fathom level of awesome show, and I really heartily recommend that you go if you ever get the chance. We’re really hoping that Video Games Live is back in Manchester soon.