Video Games Live! 2009 Singapore Tour Review

Video Games Live! 2009 Singapore Tour Review

VGL Loot
VGL Loot

Another big video game music orchestra concert arrives in Singapore, just slightly under a month after Distant Worlds was here. This is a very different concert for a different crowd – or it could be just the Friday Night Effect. People from all walks of life were at the show, compared to the mostly teenage and young adult crowd at the Distant Worlds concert.

At the stadium, there was a pre-show festival with companies giving away free stuff – Razer, Infocomm Asia Holdings and New Era were there, along with other companies which seem somewhat related to games – Cristofori was there to promote themselves, and AXN and Animax promoting their channels. A Guitar Hero competition and a cosplay competition were being held as well. There were a few video arcade with classic games loaded there too, like Pac-Man and Street Fighter II. Due to space constraints, the festival had to be split between the North and South entrances, which made a few people quite confused.

The stage
The stage

Before entering the Indoor Stadium, I was in queue at the priority queue as I had my SIS Star Pass on me, but the ushers directed me to the premier entrance on the ground floor below since I also had premier tickets, and thus, I wasted quite some time in queuing twice to enter the stadium. Additionally, why are premier ticket holders not being admitted ahead of people with SIS Star Pass? Who has more priority? I sincerely hope that SISTIC improves on their service regarding the issue of premier tickets and SIS Star Passes.

Meet the Pyro
Meet the Pyro

There were quite a few cosplayers hanging about in the festival area after the competition – to name a few of them – King of Fighters, Team Fortress 2, Final Fantasy series, Link, Patapon, Macross Frontier and Advance Wars. There’s even an “official” cosplayer dressed up as Enzio Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2, which came from the New Era booth.

The cosplay competition finalists
The cosplay competition finalists

Before the show started though, the Starhub, AXN and Animax commercials were being played and repeated quite a few times, which was kind of irritating – couldn’t they have gotten more sponsors? Thankfully, they were being shown for a short time, and there were two video clips shown on the screen before the emcee came on stage – one was a Flash animation titled “Yuri and me”, and the other was a video clip of Ms PacMan running around in New York, with a funny poem opening the video. The emcee then introduced the finalists of the cosplay competition and announced that the guy cosplaying as the Patapon won the competition. Finally, the concert started proper with Jack Wall as the conductor.

The programme:

  • Classic Arcade Medley
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Dragon’s Lair & Space Ace
  • Tron Montage
  • Martin Leung’s solo of 10 Final Fantasy songs on piano
  • Space Invaders interactive game (with orchestral backing)
  • Martin Leung’s solo Tetris Piano Opus No. 1 on piano
  • Diablo 3 Theme

INTERMISSION (20 minutes – with “LOADING ACT II” video clip which was really 20 minutes long. Also, the usual Starhub/AXN/Animax spam)

  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Warcraft Suite
  • Snake Eater from Metal Gear Solid 3 (With Norihiko Hibino on saxaphone)
  • Super Mario Brothers
  • Martin Leung’s solo of Mario Brothers Theme on piano
  • Chrono Trigger Theme & Chrono Cross Theme
  • Guitar Hero competition – Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith (with orchestral backing)
  • Halo Suite & Halo 3 Theme
  • Encore: One Winged Angel (VGL variation) and Castlevania Rock

There was a part whereby a member of the audience went on stage to play Space Invaders, and it was fun to watch and cheer him on, even though he didn’t win the prize. Two finalists for the Guitar Hero came on stage as well to play Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion with the orchestra providing backups. The NUS Symphony Orchestra was somewhat okay, with the exception of One Winged Angel. Its also hard to tell if the orchestra was good or if they were winging it, because the sound system in the stadium was terrible. In choosing the NUSSO, quality of the performance might be affected, but I believe that they can improve their standards in playing video game music, since most of them are young people who most likely have played games before (hopefully NUSSO organizes a local video game concert so that its cheaper to attend…). The NUS choir was passable, but somehow the volume of the choir seems to be drowned by the orchestra occasionally – perhaps another sound system problem? Additionally, Norihiko Hibino only came on-stage once to play one piece, and the audience didn’t have a chance to interact with him, compared to the PLAY! Symphony two years back.

Pluses:

  • Great, behaving crowd
  • Great music
  • Good lighting effects
  • Properly synchronized video clips
  • Funny video clips and lots of inside jokes in the video clips as well
  • Incorporation of audience participation in their programme line-up
  • Plenty of washrooms

Minuses:

  • Poor sound system
  • Ushers seem un-coordinated
  • Lack of interaction from and with Hibino

Final Grade: B+

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