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Throats sore from cheering, hands burning from applauding, but a mind so content it doesn’t matter one bit. These are things that the Zelda fans in Europe were feeling as they left the Legend of Zelda: 25th Anniversary Symphony. Hundreds of fans attended the event on October 25th and Zelda Universe was present.

I had flown all the way from Sweden just to cover this event (and of course enjoy it). I met up with my colleague Charlie (known as cpiddy on the forums) who’s also the assisting editor of the ZU Podcast. We met up early to go through the day, what we were going to do, what to record and which questions to ask people, etc. We headed out hours early with multiple cameras fully charged and our pockets full of 1500 Operation Moonfall cards designed by ZU’s talented graphic artists.

I think we didn’t quite realise how many people would show up for this event and our batteries were almost totally exhausted by the time we were let in. So that’s why we decided to write our impressions of the symphony here, while leaving you with our video on ZUTV.

Hombre and Charlie at the Zelda Symphony

The first thing that needs to be said is that we met some wonderful people over there. Hands were shaken, hugs were shared and the entire crowd of hundreds was beaming with excitement. There wasn’t a single frown in that crowd, even before we went inside.

The Hammersmith Apollo in London was dressed in an appropriate fashion. Banners with the Royal Family emblem and the 25th anniversary symbol pride the walls, booths sold posters and t-shirts and on the second floor there were display monitors and Skyward Sword demos we both got to try out, if only for a minute. With what must have been over a thousand attendees, six puny demo stations weren’t nearly enough. But that wasn’t the reason anyone was there that night.

The music… Oh, God… the music. It was mindblowingly amazing. I know that the concert already is up online after someone from Los Angeles recorded it (which mr Aonuma was not pleased with, he told us), but we’re telling you right now, you can’t really compare the two. This was the sort of thing you had to experience in real life. Not only for the sound quality, but just seeing the orchestra there and interacting with them to some degree through cheering and applauding… it was great, especially with the guests that honored us with their presence that night. As I said, Aonuma himself was there and you could see that he was equally amazed by the presence of the audience as I was. The very same thing could be said for the fabulous Zelda Williams who was actually the host (exclusive for London by the way) of the evening. She was pretty nervous, you could tell. She even misspoke twice and said “Kakariko Valley” instead of Kakariko Village. The only person who seemed untouched by the audience was Koji Kondo who appeared to be modesty personified. He carefully entered the edge of the stage, sat down to play the piano and then left, looking slightly confused as to whether he should go out and say hello to us or leave as quietly as he had come.

Oh right, what was I supposed to say about the music? The evening gave us so many great moments it’s hard to stay on subject. Right, now… I’m not a musician, I’m not technical about instruments, notes, rhythm or anything like that. But that’s okay because I don’t think most people are. I will say though that the classical orchestra did an outstanding job which really showed in themes such as Gerudo Valley which originally featured a guitar as its main instrument. I think that themes such as those allow the orchestra to make small adjustments and take a level of artistic freedom to make these songs sound great and not get boring. Even though me and Charlie had both heard every single song before we were never bored. As for the choice of songs, I personally think they picked the best selection possible which is a difficult task. Zelda has such a wide range of music and every song is somebody’s favourite. This selection was probably the most popular bunch of songs in the series, from Hyrule Field to the final showdown with Ganon.

Now, Charlie and I didn’t sit together, he was sitting a floor above me and I was sitting quite close to the orchestra and I had made sure to buy a VIP ticket. Now, as you may know, the Zelda Symphony is set to go on tour in 2012. We assume that each location will be slightly different so don’t hold me to the details here, but I want to tell you what exactly is included in the VIP ticket and if it’s worth it or not.

A VIP ticket cost nearly twice as much as a regular one. We got a bit better seating as I said which was nice if you like to get close to the action, but it’s not like the regular seats didn’t get just as good of a listening experience. The real treat of a VIP ticket comes after the concert where we were taken to a “meet and greet” with the people behind the scenes. To go along with hat we were given a few special items such as a plastic Ocarina, some Ocarina of Time 3D keychain as well as the latest issue of Edge Magazine (guess why?). There was also a sign saying there’d be pies (I don’t know why, it seemed random and I joked with the other guys in the line about getting into the room to see the whole orchestra eating pie) but there were none. Or Aonuma and Kondo stole them all as they went back to Japan.

Zelda and Hombre getting along

So the line to the meet and greet was probably… two hours or something, and for that kind of price you really need to consider if it’s worth it to you. For someone who’s interested in music production or like to meet the people who put a show together, it’s a great opportunity for you. If you’re not into that kind of stuff then save yourself some money and go with a regular ticket. For me personally, the VIP was well worth it. First was the conductress. I had her sign the plastic Ocarina as well as the event program which I asked everybody to sign) and I gave her a hug and thanked her for an amazing performance. Next was the producer of the show. I asked him how he got this assignment and he told me he just emailed Nintendo and asked if they could do it, and Nintendo said yes. The amazing thing was that they sent the email one day before the disastrous earthquake in Japan, but Nintendo still got back to them. The third person was… I don’t even know who it was, the brief conversation with the producer held me up a bit and we sort of bypassed eachother. I’m sure he was someone important but I didn’t see him on stage or anything. A bit embarrassing perhaps (EDIT: I’ve now been reminded he’s with ZREO and helped produce the symphony. We had a brief chat as ZU and ZREO are affiliates ). Last but not least was the lovely Zelda Williams. What a nice person, she’s just as happy and bright as she appears in the Nintendo videos and on the stage earlier that night. I made sure to thank her for supporting Operation Moonfall and gave her a card. She also signed my Edge Magazine even though I didn’t ask for it (as did the director) and I also got a picture taken with her. All of them were very nice even after having met with probably a hundred fans during two hours before I got there and it was past midnight.

After the show was over I was asked by a camerawoman who I’d previously helped organise the singing of  Song of Time (as can be seen in the video) what the best part of the concert was. I was not ready to make that kind of call on the spot so I said Gerudo Valley which I indeed think was one of the highlights, but I’d like to take that statement back. As I said before, people were quite overwhelmed by the energy emitted from the audience. And throughout the concert, that was really noticeable, we were all… together.

You could notice it in the way a light laughter rolled through the audience as Nintendo made fun of themselves showing how NES Link had trouble getting through a dungeon door. You could notice it in the way heads were bouncing back and forth as the orchestra played Saria’s Song. You could notice it in the revered silence as a new song began. And when the final song was finished, every single person in that hall stood up to applaud the orchestra, for minutes without cease. It was an incredible thing to experience with our fellow Zelda fans, from start to finish. Come 2012, if there’s a Zelda symphony anywhere near you, make sure you don’t miss out. This is not something that can be experienced watching a recording on Youtube. Just like watching a game on TV might be good enough some days, nothing beats going to a big event with your fellow fans – and being part of the legend.

You can watch the video here:

  • http://z10.invisionfree.com/nsmrpg NasiDe

    'I know that the concert already is up online after someone from Los Angeles recorded it (which mr Aonuma was not pleased with, he told us)'

    Because it got online or because of how rude the audience was or both? :/ Truly that was a pretty bad audience, and videos should not have gotten online. Security should have been better, and I can see why Nintendo would be unhappy about those videos getting online.

  • Sage_Of_GaGa

    I wish I could have gone. ;[

    • A_LINK_IN_TIME

      Nice new avatar!

  • A_LINK_IN_TIME

    I'm sure it was one to be remembered!

  • KittiofDOOM (Harley)

    I had such a great time, it was amazing meeting you guys. (I even joined the website xD) I think i'll be right at home here.

    • mcdude910

      Welcome. I'm sure you'll do fine. If you like it, you should get caught up with the newest project, "25 Years in 25 Days". You can head down the front page to see what Im' talking about.

  • Link and Cuccos

    What?? You guys got plastic Ocarinas?! We didn't get that as VIP ticket holders at the LA one. D: However, it was still an epic concert!!! I loved sitting so close to the orchestra!

  • Cereal Bawks

    You should've told Zelda Williams to join this site.

    • http://www.zeldauniverse.net Hombre

      The director, Jason Michael Paul said he visited the site from time to time :-)

      I hope he'll be reading this.

  • Sakume

    It looks like so much fun! Would love to hear it sometime if I get the chance!

  • OniRyo

    I also got a picture with Zelda Williams(she had no glasses on when i was with her on the picture though!), it was one of the best nights i ever had. :)

  • OniRyo

    I'm also in the front btw(even though i should've gone to the box office for the VIP, i'm in the middle of Luigi and Mario, the guy with the long hair :p)

  • Soeroah

    I intend to go if it comes to Adelaide, South Australia. It'd be the first concert I've ever gone to, if it happens.

    • http://twitter.com/LysiaAdventures @LysiaAdventures

      I'd be ecstatic if it came to Australia full stop. I'll fly interstate to see it if I have to!

  • The annoying bird

    That's me playing the demo at 1:10… I think!

  • MoronOfTime

    I hope everyone that went had a great time! (though of course they did, who wouldn't?) I'm gutted that I couldn't go, but oh well :D Skyward sword, here we come! ~

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Thareous Thareous

    I can't wait to get the symphony disc.

  • inventori

    Nice Article! You wrote exactly the feeling I had I couldn't put into words. It was really…amazing!!
    I can't stop telling ppl. from my work how awesome it was and propably getting on their nerves listening…but I don't care XDD. BEAR IT! HARHAR!
    I went there with my boyfriend ( who made this able for giving me this trip as christmas present *yay* ) and my friend who had birthday on the concert. We are from germany and came only for this concert to London. By the way, London is a really pretty city.

    Anyway, thankx for this article XD! Nice job!

    Did you give everybody the Moonfall Cards?

  • Hylian Overboard

    I don't think I saw you around but it was a fantastic night altogether, had great fun. I met the guy with the Ezlo hat though as I was in the queue for the meet and greet, he was great to talk to.

    And after listening to the Skyward Sword theme for nearly 15 minutes straight it's now very much stuck in my head xD

  • Hylian Overboard

    Oh, and the producer was Jared Moore, who is also the producer for Twilight Symphony with ZREO. The quality of the performance means I have no doubts about the quality of TS, cannot wait for it.

    • http://www.zeldauniverse.net Hombre

      YES, that's who the third guy was, thank you :D

      *edits post*

  • themisssinglink

    Dang this is such a classy review! Hombre, Charlie, you two rock for this, and it looks like you had such a great time! Also, I think that's the first time I've EVER seen Koume/Kotake cosplayers, though shame on you for getting them mixed up. ;)

    Awesome job, guys!

    Hope that the symphony comes to Seattle soon. So many geeks here would flock to it!

  • http://twitter.com/Jonoridge @Jonoridge

    Had an amazing time! The concert was just overwhelming… As sad as it sounds it was the best performance of anything i've ever been to!

    Regarding the VIP tickets… was "kind of" gutted that we didn't get to meet Kondo or Aonuma but oh well still an amazing night

    Saw you guys filming but didn't realise it was ZeldaUniverse lol I kinda ruined your "We love Zelda" shout you wanted everyone to do by shouting "HEY! LISTEN!" lol sorry about that ;)

  • DAVVE

    I WANT MAJORAS MASK ON 3DS!

  • Sallychan

    I also felt that the best thing about the concert was audience. Of course hearing epic Zelda music performed by an orchestra was amazing, but it was a truly unique and powerful atmosphere. Everyone was there because they LOVED Zelda games – how cool is that?!

  • http://twitter.com/renatomiceli @renatomiceli

    I was there! It was really awesome! Every single fan of the series should've been there!!! :D

  • wiseguy

    i remember when i found out what zelda was in third grade, i had no idea how big it was

  • Ganonlives

    I am plesantly surprised to see such an enormous crowds at the show over seas. The lines in the video were tremendously long but a quick question, didn't people buy tickets in advance? Secondly, piracy, didn't see the on line version from the LA show nor do I want to see it (as a gerudo by nature) even I don't watch pirated video. Lastly I hope that this swings all the way to NYC. As a musician I am dying to see this so if it comes here to NYC then please let me know. I know for a fact there are a bazillian Zelda fans here. Lastly TWINROVA, the very first time I have ever seen the evil witches in cosplay. I love it. Keep up the good work ZU.

    Much Darkness To You All
    GanonLives

  • OniRyo

    The crowd was indeed totally amazing, because how amazing this concert was and if the world tour won't be really big next year i will be going to even to the US(while i'm from the Netherlands) to check out the concert once again!.

    Great impression btw, i forgot to say that on my first posts.

  • Omza

    Really?! You cut me out?! I was the first person you interviewed…

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