The Phoenix Symphony Presents rePLAY: Symphony of Heroes
The Phoenix Symphony is well known for hosting creative and amazing shows. Their musicians are extremely talented, and the music they perform is beautiful. Usually, this musical world doesn’t overlap into the gaming world – until now.
The symphony debuted a new show called rePLAY: A Video Game Symphony of Heroes on June 6. The show was conducted by Miriam Burns and narrated by Nigel Carrington. Simply put, the show was, as they say, a showstopper.
Not only did the symphony exquisitely play multiple songs from some of the greatest games ever made, but a screen displayed some of the most inspirational and famous scenes from almost every game. The scenes matched the music perfectly – some of trailers, some of gameplay, and some of concept art: all matched together to create a homage to the games as well as to tell a story.
As a whole, the entire show was meant to tell, as Carrington put it, the “story of a hero, being told through the stories of other heroes.” These stories were each of the other games, all separated into their own chapters and preceded by brief narration. The narration explained what piece of the story the next song was going to tell, and each chapter had it’s own title to highlight that piece. There were a few pieces that I felt really stuck out and made the biggest impression. (For a full list of what was played as well as chapter titles, see the end of the article.)
Halo was one of these pieces. The theme song was Chapter 16: Master of Two Worlds, and was the second-to-last song played. I’m not a huge fan of the Halo franchise, but I have to admit, the music is certainly powerful and amazing. Before even a note was played, the audience was screaming and whooping, the screen having shown what song was next. The music was both daunting and empowering at the same time. My heart was beating steady and strong to the beat, and it honestly made me want to play the game just so I could hear it again. This song was so epic, and so well-played, that the audience thought the show was over afterwards. Cheers, whistles, and a standing ovation swept the hall, all of which lasted almost five minutes. Then people started to leave, thinking that such an astounding piece had to be the finisher, and were startled when the last piece began to play.
Another song that really had my attention was Chapter 4: Crossing of the First Threshold, which featured music from Bioshock. Not only was the music heart pounding and thrilling, but the scenes which shows on the screen was captivating. Quite a bit was gameplay, and it was as enchanting as if you were actually playing the game. At one point, an underwater scene was played, depicting beautiful creatures viewed from within a ship. It was so incredible that a little boy in the audience gasped and said “Woah!” A short chuckle from the crowd followed, then it was back to being sucked into the music and video.
One of my favorite videos played was for Portal 2. The music was, of course, fun, with flutes and chimes dancing along with the robots. A beautiful opera voice accompanied the music, and Atlas and P-body starred in the video. The narration started the fun for Chapter 8: The Temptress. Carrington reminded us that “sticking your head in the oven is not always worth the cake that is promised.” It got quite a rise out of the audience, and even more so when the video ended with the image of a cake, candles flickering on top. This was certainly a fun piece, complimented perfectly with the video, and really released a lot of the building tension.
My all-time favorite piece was for Chapter 10: Apotheosis. This chapter was all about Chrono Cross. I was so happy, I sighed. Openly. Unfortunately, there weren’t any scenes from the game, but I was so enveloped in the music, it didn’t even matter. It was beautiful, starting gently with the flute and guitar, then jumping into the fast-paced and adventurous side. The audience was audibly silent, letting themselves fall into the music and the nostalgia. To me, this song was where the symphony musicians shone the brightest. Not only were they under pressure from the lack of video, meaning the music had to be even better, but the music from Chrono Cross has been hailed as some of the best video game soundtracks, meaning the bar was set very high. The symphony went above and beyond expectations on this song, and reminded me how important Chrono Cross was to my childhood.
A few other great songs were featured, including Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and Shadow of the Colossus. Overall, this show was amazingly epic, and the musicians were certainly worthy artists to play such life-altering songs. If they replay this Replay next year, I am for sure going again.
List of chapters with featured games:
Introduction – The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion
Chapter 1: (Unknown) – Journey
Chapter 2: Refusal of the Call – Mass Effect
Chapter 3: Supernatural Aid – Guild Wars
Chapter 4: The Crossing of the First Threshold – Bioshock
Chapter 5: The Belly of the Whale – Lair
Chapter 6: The Road of Trials – God of War
Chapter 7: The Meeting with the Goddess – Dragon Age
Chapter 8: The Temptress – Portal
Chapter 9: Atonement with the Fallen – Metal Gear Solid
Chapter 10: Apotheosis – Chrono Series
Chapter 11: The Ultimate Boone – Final Fantasy
Chapter 12: Refusal of the Return – Lost Odyssey
Chapter 13: The Magic Flight – Castlevania
Chapter 14: Rescue from Without – Shadow of the Colossus
Chapter 15: The Crossing of the Return Threshold – Kingdom Hearts
Chapter 16: Master of Two Worlds – Halo
Epilogue – The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
Disclaimer: We were provided free tickets by The Phoenix Symphony in exchange for our fair and honest review.