Having never been to a Video Games Live concert before, we went into the series’ LA concert not quite knowing what to expect. Tommy Tallarico told us in an interview that his reason for co-creating the project was to prove how culturally relevant games have become. Walking out of the two hour show, it’s safe to say he succeeded.

Unlike past editions of Video Games Live, June 17’s performance, at the Nokia theatre, incorporated an all-star line up of video game music, with the composers personally present to conduct the orchestra. Taking place during the same week as E3, when the majority of the gaming industry converges onto LA, probably helped Tallarico assemble such a cast.

Some notable guests included God of War composer Cris Velasco, Metal Gear Solid series composer Norihiko Hibino, and Greg Edmonson, who conducted the debut performance of his score for Uncharted 2.

If there’s one warning we would give to potential audiences, it would be to not have their heart set on hearing that all time favourite track. This is because there’s just so many songs to choose from (Tallarico says they have produced 60 for the show), and time is limited. However, given the nearly twenty different songs played during each concert, you’ll likely hear at least a few melodies which are close to the heart.

One thing we weren’t expecting was for the show embrace the fandom of gaming so graciously. Not only are prestigious composers brought out on stage, but so are members of the gaming community who have gained popularity through online websites such as YouTube.

Martin Learn, also known as the video game pianist, performed multiple Mario tunes at a blinding speed. Learn held his own against a full orchestra. Judging from the crowd’s reaction, he was arguably the highlight of the show.

Another viral guest was Laura Intravia, revered online for expertly playing the soundtrack for Zelda on her flute. Dressed as Link, Intravia’s quirky segment is filled with inside jokes to warm the hearts of Zelda fans.

We won’t go into any other details in case you’ve got tickets for the next VGL concert. What we can say is how apparent Tallarico’s love for video games is made during the show. His involvement during the production is constant and his enthusiasm never lets up. In an interview with FOX News, the composer admits he’s not making as much money with VGL as he would actually writing music for games, but that the former is too much fun to pass up. The man loves what he does and it shows.

The experience of listening to music from a game played live amplifies the artistic value of this component of the video game industry. You may not realize how important the music is, until you can listen to it without worrying about losing that last life or beating a high score.

In our interview with Tallarico, the co-creator of VGL predicted the Super Mario Brothers theme will still be hummed by people hundreds of years in the future. One friend of CVGames jokingly told us this prophecy sounded disturbing. But after listening to the Mario theme played by a live orchestra, you might ask yourself: is it?

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By Mark Melnychuk – 06/30/10

Screenshots for Video Games Live LA Concert Impressions