Video Games Live
(VGL) is a concert series created and produced by industry veterans and video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall.
to help encourage and support the culture and art that video games have become, featuring music from over 25 major titles
. Each featured segment is complemented by projected video footage, synchronized lighting, and on-stage interactive segments with the audience.
Video Games Live claims to be the largest and most successful video game concert in the world, having performed worldwide to over 100,000 people by 2007
The concert's debut performance took place on July 6th, 2005 at the Hollywood Bowl
featuring the Los Angeles Philharmonic
Orchestra. Over 11,000 audience members participated in the largest video game concert to date. Video Games Live was the first video game concert to ever perform in Canada
, The United Kingdom
and New Zealand
. It is also the first U.S. video game concert to perform in Asia at the 12,000 seat Olympic Park Stadium
, South Korea
The concert features a broad spectrum of video game music, including Final Fantasy, Halo, World of Warcraft, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda and Metal Gear Solid, as well as retro arcade games such as Tetris and Asteroids.
In addition to the music, VGL concerts also include video footage from the games, synchronized to the music and projected on large screens at performances. Due to ESRB regulations and the environment of the show, all footage is approved for all ages, meaning graphic violence in some of the game music played (ie: Halo, Medal of Honor, God of War) is never shown during a concert. Some VGL concerts may also include exclusive "never-before-seen" video game footage from games that have yet to be released. In contrast to all the other video games featured, SquareSoft has currently opted to retain exclusive performance rights to their Final Fantasy video footage, preventing it from being shown at the Video Games Live event. SquareSoft previously organized a competing series of Final Fantasy music concerts called Dear Friends: Music From Final Fantasy.
VGL also boasts energetic lighting (also synchronized with the music), special fx, interactive music segments with the crowd, pre and post show festival activities, and interactive onstage games for selected audience members to participate in. Examples include an onstage Frogger competition, and a "live-action" rendition of Space Invaders.
Video Games Live premiered with a sold-out concert in July 2005 at the Hollywood Bowl
. Afterwards, organizers prepared the show for a 25-city tour of indoor venues, beginning with dates in Seattle, WA
and Vancouver, BC
. Due to a number of external and scheduling factors, organizers announced on October 25, 2005 a delay of a full scale tour. Shows were performed to critical success in Seattle and Vancouver.
Having performed 3 successful shows in 2005, they re-launched with an 11 show world tour in 2006 in places such as North America, Brazil, Canada and the United Kingdom. Based on the success of tour in 2006, the show dates expanded to over 30 cities in 2007 and included such groundbreaking locations as South Korea, New Zealand & Spain. Tour plans for 2008 have already begun and dates have started to be posted.
A complete historical record of tour dates and locations may be found at the Tour Dates page of the Video Games Live website:
VGL in the schools and universities
VGL works with the local Visitors Bureau and Board of Education as well as the "Grammy in the Schools" program to raise awareness of the arts, music and culture by inviting classes to performance rehearsals, and "behind-the-scenes" tours as a way of introducing the industry to the youth. Students will also have the opportunity to speak with industry professionals, composers and musicians.
VGL also helps to provide Alfred Publishing with orchestrations and arrangements, enabling over 75,000 schools and universities across North America to play music from favorite video games. This includes arrangements for Drum Corps, Marching Band, and School Orchestra as well as individual instruments such as piano and guitar.
Description of interactive segments
- Frogger: Two people are randomly picked out of the audience to come on stage and compete in a game of Frogger for 90 seconds (one at a time) while the orchestra plays the music to the game and changes it in real-time improvisation to match what the contestants are doing on the stage and big screen projection. The person with the highest score wins a $2,500 laptop or other similar prize.
- Space Invaders: A random person is picked out of the audience to come up on stage to become the video game. The person is tracked on stage and moves left and right to control the spaceship from the game. They are given a button to fire with. The orchestra, once again, improvises the game music in real-time with the competitor's actions. The player has 2 minutes to finish the first level of the game. As an added challenge, each time a bonus ship comes across the top of the screen, the player earns their score amount in cash. However, the player can only win this money if they complete the level within two minutes.
- Guitar Hero: Aerosmith: The winner of the Guitar Hero contest before the concert starts comes out and is challenged to get 200,000 points while playing Sweet Emotion from Aerosmith on Guitar Hero: Aerosmith on Hard. The Orchestra plays along in the background. The winner gets a $2,500 AMD laptop and a Razor Mouse.
Segments featured in Video Games Live
Featured solo performances
Note: All solos do not include the orchestra, but instead a solo pianist or guitar player.