The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses at Riverside Theater
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A night at the symphony conjures up images of tuxedos, opera glasses, and ball gowns. There were a few of those items to be found in the line outside the Riverside Theater Saturday night, but there were also quite a few green caps, cardboard shields, and gold-foil-wrapped Triforces. This was the line for The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses. The vicious return of Wisconsin winter didn’t deter cosplayers from turning up in full Link gear.
The crowd was a diverse mix of all ages, ranging from bemused parents happy their kids were taking an interest in classical music to packs of teenagers wondering why there were “so many old people” in line as they walked past 20- and 30-somethings. The lines stretched across the river and wrapped around the Wells Fargo building; it was a rock show audience for a symphonic concert.
Symphony Of The Goddesses featured a live orchestra playing arrangements of music from The Legend Of Zelda video game series. It was in celebration of the 25th (!) anniversary of the games, but also an excellent example of the burgeoning video-game concert circuit. A screen above the local musicians faded between gameplay screens and hard-working French horn players. The symphony was surrounded by pieces introduced by one of the producers of the concert with an affable, geeky charm. The crowd roared whenever he mentioned a game or a segment where an upcoming piece originated.
The energy level at the show never flagged. The experience played like watching a Zelda expert showing off while having a full orchestra in the next room playing over the soundtrack. The music itself was upbeat and conveyed a sense of the sprawling adventure from the Zelda games. The most impressive arrangements featured pieces built from the older games, with strings and horns replacing chiptune synths. Choral elements added a blockbuster-movie sound to other pieces. The video accompaniment made the most of the music, allowing fans a rueful chuckle over a level that was hard as hell to beat. It also offered lapsed fans and newcomers a chance to bask in the joy of stabbing Ganondorf in the chest to end his evil once and for all—until the next game.