I am extremely fortunate to have attended the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Second Quest in Seattle last Thursday night. The evening was filled with excitement, cosplay, beautiful music, and tears (for me, at least).
Waiting for the symphony to start!
Upon approaching Benaroya Hall, we could hear Zelda music streaming from the building. Gleeful attendees milled about outside the doors and en masse in the lobby. There was a pretty even spread of people dressed up, people in street clothes, and people in full out cosplay. I'm going to take a guess and say that a lot of the people there don't usually go to symphonies or operas (people were dropping things and making noise during the performance, and no I don't mean clapping). It was a lot of fun to see people in costume though! It was almost like a mini PAX. A lot of the ladies were wearing Zelda themed jewelry (me included!), and it made me super happy.
Try as I might, the lobby area was just too full for me to find the five winners of the Wind Waker HD art contest. I would have loved to see the pieces in person! I got to see them on the big screen though (before the symphony started and during intermission). There was a slideshow happening on the projection screen that contained the top fifty fan art submissions, including mine! It was a really awesome moment to see my paper sculpt float across the screen.
Sorry the pictures aren't better! Low light + iPhone + front facing camera = yeah, this xD
Once the conductor hit the stage (a lovely woman in a wonderfully sparkly top), we were taken straight into the most stunning overture. As images from Ocarina of Time, Skyward Sword, A Link to the Past, The Legend of Zelda, The Legend of Zelda II, and more danced upon the projection screen, and the music soared and changed, and the lights went up and down and shifted in hue to match the emotion of the orchestra, I couldn't help but cry. I smiled to myself over this game series that means so much to me. I smiled to myself over being in a sold out concert hall full of thousands of other people feeling the same things. I smiled wondering if the seasoned violinists thought that an orchestra for video game music was silly. I smiled over the Zelda games I've finished, the ones I'm still working on, and the ones I have yet to play. I smiled over the ones that made me angry, the ones I hold most dear, and the years of joy that I harvested from playing Ocarina of Time. I sat entranced and fulfilled, while tears pumped out of my eyes. It's a fascinating thing, to cry when we're happy. I wiped away a few tears, and Morgan squeezed my hand.
Next we were treated to two pieces dedicated to handheld iterations. The first was a fantastically done Link's Awakening movement, and the next was for Spirit Tracks. As someone who knows the story of Link's Awakening, but has yet to complete it (SO DIFFICULT), I was particularly enthralled while watching the game's story play out in (a very) compressed form. I couldn't help but tear up again as the Wind Fish awoke and Koholint slowly faded from the screen, and I thought to myself, "I must finish this game."
The King of Red Lions boat was there! You may remember it from PAX.
When the show runners came on stage to announce the start of the traditional four part symphony itself, I had a startling realization: I was in for some Skyward Sword spoilers! I mean, it's my own fault that I haven't finished the game yet. But that's what I do! I get a game, play it hard for a few days, and then stop playing for an indeterminate amount of time. Oh well! The first part was dedicated to Ocarina of Time, my favorite (ties with A Link to the Past) Zelda game. Once this was finished, the conductor took an untraditional break to switch out her conductor's stick for an actual Wind Waker! The crowd went wild. Every game segment that they featured showed the game from beginning to end (severely truncated of course). I haven't played Wind Waker in ages! They also used all HD footage from the Wii U remake, and now I am feeling even more anxious to get a Wii U and play Wind Waker all over again.
During the intermission we headed straight for the lobby (being seated next to the doors and in aisle seats was a real score) and he bought me a Symphony of the Goddesses t-shirt, and a gorgeous tour poster! I was giddy and giggly and full of delight. I had hoped there'd be merchandise to help commemorate the evening! Everything went by so quickly. The show started at 7:30, and before I knew it we were in the lobby for the intermission. We had just enough time to look around and hit the bathrooms before hustling back to our seats.
Wind Waker HD and A Link Between Worlds were playable in the lobby! The shirt is a pretty slick green. Very comfy, too.
The third part of the symphony started, and in no time we were whisked away to A Link to the Past, and I felt both shivers and trepidation: this is yet another Zelda game that I'm working on finishing. I have been attempting to beat it for years, but every few dungeons I get horribly stuck and I rage quit! I watched with curiosity and delight as the end of the game played out before me. In a way it was nice to finally see how the game ends, and if anything it encouraged me to finish it sooner! There were no feelings of, "Well, I've seen the ending so what's the point?" The fourth and final part of the symphony was Ocarina of Time again. No complaints from me! I could sit on a whole symphony for just that game. This one was dedicated to Gerudo Valley. I had forgotten how involving the fortress was! I also got very smiley and reminiscent thinking about how great I used to be at horseback archery. I suppose I should add "replay Ocarina of Time" to my list!
The symphony ended with three planned encores. The first was for Majora's Mask, the second was Dragon Roost Island from Wind Waker, and the third was for Skyward Sword. I'm disappointed that I dislike Majora's Mask so much. It is just too damn difficult, and I absolutely hate having to do the same thing over and over again in a game (that really sealed the deal). But... watching Termina and Skull Kid on the screen I thought that maybe, perhaps, it was time to give it another try. I haven't played it since 2001, afterall. I was extremely pleased to see the dedication to Dragon Roost Island, because that is hands down my favorite song from Wind Waker! And, even though it's my fault, I was a little sad (but certainly not surprised) that they did a segment for Skyward Sword. I braced myself for spoilers, reminding myself that I have had plenty of time to finish it. And then, I watched in awe as the story unfolded in front of me. Then I got SO. EXCITED. to actually play all the way through it!
Symphony of the Goddesses poster! Can't wait to frame it!
The entire evening was wonderful. Added entertainment bonus points go to the incredibly drunk girl who was sitting next to Morgan. It was unreal. I received a compliment on my blooper tattoo while waiting in line for the restroom, and I got another peek at the King of Red Lions boat! If I could change anything about the symphony, I would request that they do a segment dedicated to the songs that are learned in Ocarina of Time. Especially the warp ones! Oh, they're so lovely and magical! At some point in the performance there was a piece dedicated to Twilight Princess, but I can't remember where it fell timeline wise. There were a few scenes shown from the end of the game that I do not remember, even though I definitely finished that one. Guess I need to replay it, too! But damn the snow sledding part. That nearly caused me to quit!
Did anyone else attend the Seattle show? Did anyone go last year? Will any readers be heading to other symphony stops over the next few months? I want to hear more first-hand experiences! :D