I'm going to have to post about this eventually so let's get it over with.
Video Games Live was great. It was healthily above that which I expected. There were a few surprises and a few highlights, as well as the inevitable selection of Zelda, Metal Gear, Final Fart-Punch Fantasy (which I will discuss in a moment) and Mario, all of which seemed more like formality than anything else.
For those of you who don't know the set up, Tommy Tallarico hosts, Jack Wall conducts, and video game footage is projected onto a screen in choreography with the music. The orchestra is comprised of whatever urchins they can scrabble off the street without anyone noticing, which is not a way of saying that they are bad, but that they are different depending on the venue. There are a few little ideas thrown in like Special guests and contests to mix it up, and the event is generally treated less as a concert and more as a bit of fun.
First of all, the bad. There was a lot of Square loving, and in the music department, I'm fine with that. They've made some pretty nice music although it doesn't hold any significance to me, because I detest square with a very misguided and all-consuming passion. But there was a lot of it, with Final Fantasy getting 2 separate performances and Kingdom Hearts getting its own set. It must have comprised 20 - 30 minutes of the show with quite nice, but overall quite samey music. Despite this, Square being the massive parachute dicks that they are clearly didn't approve of this, and must have denied VGL the right to show footage of their games. There may be more to it than I'm accounting for, but it was still a little tainting. In spite of this, I was denied the very thing I attended for, to hear the Beyond Good and Evil soundtrack suite, but when you have over 50 sets to choose from, you're only going to be able to do so many of those in ~2 hours, so I can take that.
But there was a lot of good. The audience participation made it feel alive, helped in part by Tallarico and Wall who between them managed to make the audience feel comfortable with being gamers. Some douchebag called out "The Blindfold is a Lie!" when Martin Lueng came to do his very entertaining bit, but that blatant silliness was all part of the atmosphere, and it was good. The audience hit its peak with an excellent Guitar Hero set that had them cheering and goading and laughing and sighing in response with the player's performance. I guess you had to be there.
The highlight for me was the Mass Effect rendition, which drew me to tears. It was the same feeling I got when I first played the Fahrenheit Car Chase - laughing and crying like a madman; that feeling of utter, epic brilliance - even beauty, if I might be so pretentious. And of course, I got to meet Jim again as well as Wardrox this time. I like Jim. He's a pretty cool guy. I wouldn't have found them if it wasn't for Wardrox's giant offensive Mohawk, saluting the sky like a great stream of morning urine.
Overall, the event was worth the money, and I got a Little Big Planet Tshirt from the place in Covent Garden out of it as well so at the end of it, my advice to you is this: If Video Games Live comes within 100 miles of you, go and see it. Sacrifice everything you're doing and go see it. If you need to book holiday time in work, go check the Tour Dates. If your family is holding you back, kill them all and blame it on that evil global warming. If you have cancer, talk to some rich people and get them to send you to one.
Go and see it because even though I, one of the most critical, over-analysing people I know, had things to complain about, I didn't care about them for the fact everything else was so much fun. You'll know what I mean when you come out at the end shaking with excitement and glee.