As the first Canadian city on the The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour, Vancouver Zelda fans were treated to a journey into Hyrule and through Termina and Skyloft. A magical adventure through the creation and destruction that the orchestra captured, everything from the delicate fluttering of the fairies wings to the deadly sword fights with the malevolent Ganon. The conductor, Eímear Noone, lead the musicians in an epic four-movement symphonic performance that had the captivated audience applauding and cheering for more.
I attended the symphony with a group of fellow fans, all eager to be treated to the sounds of the Legend of Zelda series. Many of us were discussing what songs we wanted to hear as we mingled with others wearing Link’s trademark green cap and t-shirts bearing the Hylian crest. A number of people showed up in cosplay, mostly Link, but a few Zeldas and other characters too.
Our seats were on the balcony, a row back from the edge – a perfect view for the stage and the giant screen. I had been in the Orpheum once before, catching G3 with Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Joe Satriani in 2003. It’s a lovely venue, with intricate columns and details surrounding the stage and a beautifully painted ceiling with ornate chandeliers. The screen above the stage was filled with an ever changing background overlaid with footage from the games. As the screen changed, the lights on the stage would follow – flames would have red lights, a blue sky would have a gentle hue, or a verdant light for the forest.
Once all the musicians had taken their places, Eímear Noone strode on stage at the front of the orchestra and opened with the iconic Legend of Zelda theme as a melange of clips from over 25 years of the series danced on the screen. Various songs from the games were fused together to create a majestic mix of nostalgia and excitement, most noticeable being the tune of Kakariko Village. Noone then took a break to address the audience and welcome everyone with a passion that tied her in with the rest of us. While I’m sure many of those in the orchestra have never played any of the games, from the way Noone had spoken, it seemed that she had (I don’t know if she has or not).
The first movement focused on the three goddesses creating the land of Hyrule, hence the name of the concert. With the screen playing clips from the 3D release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the music eased more into the game before ending with the climactic crescendo between Link and Ganon. Sailing into the high seas, arias from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker flowed like the wind itself through the conductor’s baton, reminiscent of the game’s namesake item.
Following a brief intermission, a rendition of the fairies fountain formed an interlude ahead of the third movement with Noone asking the audience if we felt “refreshed.” Then it was right on into The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess with compositions from the opening, characters and battles. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past finished off the symphony with a mixture of familiar experiences including rescuing Princess Zelda from the rat-infested castle dungeon and the dramatic light and dark worlds. It brought back a lot of memories for me.
Noone left the stage amid a thunderous standing ovation before rushing right back out to start the encore performance. She began by mentioning that this piece was widely requested by fans both online and at previous events. When everyone saw the video and heard the opening lines to The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, there was plenty of cheering in the audience.
Again, Noone bolted from the stage only to return and lead The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time‘s Gerudo Valley – another popular selection. Repeating as before, the final encore performance featured the Ballad of the Wind Fish from The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses was an amazing performance, well executed and energetically conducted with a great selection. I couldn’t find much of anything to complain about and I’m not going to nitpick over tiny details – I was too engrossed with the melodies and visions of me playing the games again in my head. My only real complaint is the short two hour length; there’s so much more music in the Legend of Zelda series that could have been used, but just to have a taste of it is still pretty impressive. I hope that the organizing group provides a copy of the performance later on – either via CD or download, as that would be something I’d definitely pay for.
The full list of tour dates and locations can be found on the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses web site.
TagsEímear Noone, Gaming, Ganon, Link, music, Nintendo, photos, The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, Vancouver, Zelda
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