The Video Game Orchestra at The Boston Symphony Hall

Last night Hamu-chan and myself got the pleasure to experience something every gamer should hear once in their life.  The Video Game Orchestra or “VGO” is a full chamber orchestra put together and founded by Shota Nakama.  Last night they played in the Boston Symphony Hall to a full house.

Shoto Nakama came to America when he was just 18 to pursue his career in music.  Having played with several bands over the years he eventually made his way to Berklee where he came up with the idea for VGO.  The group has played at many locations across New England and I have had the pleasure to hear them twice before at the last two PAX East conventions.

The orchestra is made up of many talented students from Berklee and across many cultural backgrounds, including Japan.  When you hear their rendition of Super Mario Bros., you will not only have visions of your childhood but your ears will also be treated to something amazing.  Shota describes the music as “Rockestral” and it makes sense because it’s not often you have a full symphony hall cheering in the middle of any ordinary orchestral piece.

The night started off with a tribute to TV and film, with pieces played from Lord of the Rings, Twilight, Steel Magnolias.  Before intermission the first half was closed off with Alan Silvestri conducting to both Forest Gump and Back to the Future suites.

Next up was what most of the audience was there for, the video game music.  Starting off of course was the Super Mario Bros. Suite with every stage from the iconic character’s first title being played.  This was followed by the Myst Suite.  I forgot how much I actually remembered of old PC point-and-click puzzle game but hearing those tunes brought back memories of  picking up pages and watching full-motion video of insane men.

The next song was one I had never heard before, Baba Yetu from Civilization IV.  But the song won a Grammy Award and was not surprising after hearing the rich melody and vocals.  Then came the music from the PS3 title Afrika, another game I have yet to play.

The last three songs to round out the night were also the night’s best.  First was the Metal Gear Solid Suite which primarily featured Snake Eater.  I could see the opening scenes of Metal Gear Solid 3 as the lead singer belted out the powerful lyrics.  Then came a huge favorite, the Final Fantasy VII Suite.  My favorite moment of this was when the full chorus sang “One Winged Angel”.  Hearing the symphony hall echo “Sephiroth!” sent chills up my spine. Then came the last piece which was the Chrono Cross Suite.  Three hours of music and the night still felt too short, but nonetheless a wonderful experience.

If you would like to find out more about VGO you can check out their main page here.

Written by Bryan

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One Comment

  1. Hamu-chan says:

    That was a really great concert! Enjoyed it so much, Awesome!!!!!

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