Video Games Live in Toronto!

This Sunday, they hit Mexico City for two massive shows just a few hours apart, but this past Monday, they hit Massey Hall for the fourth time putting on the epic video game concert series known as Video Games Live. I of course had a chat with my good friend and creator of the show, Tommy Tallarico (I’ve met him a half dozen times, so I can now say ‘friend’, right?), which you’ve no doubt already read. Right? You’ve read it, right? R2D2 made an appearance, if that entices you a bit to check it out!

Anyways, being my third time seeing the show, I can say that it is actually quite different from the last two. The set lists of course had their similarities in that Halo, Zelda, and Mario were present (well, duh!), but the way they were arranged was completely different. I’m not just talking about the order, though. Mario’s symphony came in the form of Martin Leung on the piano (the famous blindfolded video game pianist you know from YouTube), while Laura Intravia, a.k.a. FluteLink, took us through the Legend of Zelda series.

We also got a brand new treat in the form of Baba Yetu from Civilization IV, the first piece of music to ever win a Grammy! Two incredible live singers dazzled the audience with their deep, rich voices that really brought the song to life. Coupled with the beautiful visuals, it felt like a mix of The Lion King and Age of Empires, and it really was an incredible piece.

In addition to the other staples like Castlevania and Warcraft, in between every few compositions, the video screens would display some amusing videos, such as the Worst Video Game Titles of All Time, or What Would Happen If ‘a’ Game and ‘b’ Game Collided? These were fresh and new, and very much a welcome addition. The innovative Video Games Live classic Guitar Hero and Frogger competitions still occurred, along with a first (to my knowledge) PROPOSAL! Yes, a marriage proposal! Tommy psyched out the crowd when he welcomed a couple on stage to supposedly compete in Frogger on stage, when he passed over the microphone to the guy to say something before the show. He said something that stuck: “In video games, they teach you two things: kill the bad guys, and always save the princess.” He got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend to marry him – now that’s a match made in nerd-heaven.

To top it all off, Tommy Tallarico maintains that he always sticks around to meet every single fan at the Meet and Greet after the show, and he means it! He stays for two, sometimes three hours, after every show to meet the people that make this all possible – us! He is the only person I know of to take this time to really interact with people, sign some stuff, shake their hands, take a photo or two, and take suggestions for the next show! I’ve seen three shows, and somehow they do it right every single time.

If you have any sort of inkling that you’re a nerd, geek, fanatic, or fanboy, you absolutely must not miss this show next time it rolls into town. They just finished their Canadian tour (16 cities in 21 days!), but they’ve done nearly 200 shows in about 6 years, and their schedule isn’t slowing down anytime soon, so chances are, your city is next! Until then, I’ll leave you in the words of Tommy Tallarico – some of the most real words I’ve heard in a very long time:

“Some people think video games are just for kids.
Some people think video game music is just a bunch of bleeps and bloops.
And some people think video games are the cause of violence.