TL;DR - You can watch an archive of the Comic-Con concert here http://www.twitch.tv/twitch/b/433486043
At some point, you may have stumbled across this blog I wrote last June when I was invited to be part of the choir performing on-stage for the Video Games Live concert being held in conjunction with E3. It was a strange and magical experience, and I was instantly on-board when I found out we had been invited back to perform in not one, but two VGL concerts this summer.
So apparently my home town decided it was classy enough to need metered parking up until 10PM but not classy enough to install parking meters that take credit cards, which was a fun thing to deal with after fighting through an hour-and-a-half of rush-hour traffic trying to escape West LA. I eventually got to rehearsal which was rehearsal. Some of the songs were repeats from last year and some were new. "The Song of the Dragonborn" (footage from us last year!) made a triumphant return. The most notable additions were a song from a next-gen game (sekrit!) and "One Winged Angel" which always seemed like an odd omission from last year's concert. I mean, if we're talking about orchestral music from Japan, that's the song right?
I knew that Russell Brower was going to be back so this time I came prepared to nerd out and get my copy of the CE soundtrack from Diablo III signed. What I didn't know was that two other Blizzard composers were also going to be there. Neal Acree, who did a lot of the music for Heart of the Swarm, and Jason Hayes, who has been responsible for tons of Blizzard stuff including World of Warcraft, were guesting as conductors for songs they had composed. If only I had known, I would have tried to dig up more CE soundtracks buried in boxes somewhere in my home. Russel did recommend that Neal sign my D3 CD since he did a fair amount of the music for that game as well.
On the day of the concert I dropped my daughter off with my mom before heading down to Irvine. It was a crazy song and dance, trying to make arrangements for a full day's worth of childcare, but we made it happen. After arriving at the Verizon Amphitheatre a few minutes ahead of our call-time, I set about to find the choir and ended up with an interesting walking buddy. Derek Duke, yet another Blizzard composer, was there and he helped me find my way to the stage.
It's funny, all in all we did a total of four Blizzard pieces and, on my way back to the car after the concert, I overheard one of the audience members saying, "I think I would have liked this concert better if it wasn't this concert. I just wish they didn't have to kowtow to Blizzard just because it's in Irvine". All I could think to myself was that this kid clearly didn't get it. The whole point of VGL is to pay homage and respect to the people who have, in a way, created the soundtrack of our lives as gamers. What better way to do that than to put those composers in front of an audience of thousands with a full orchestra and choir at their disposal to show them what making music really means?
Other guest conductors included the return of Austin Wintory, the composer for Journey and the upcoming Banner Saga, and Eimear Noone, the recording conductor behind a majority of Blizzard's soundtracks as well as the conductor for The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess concert tour.
They cut out the solo acts this year but kept the audience-participation sideshow in the form of a "motion controlled" Space Invaders, with the orchestra providing the soundtrack, and a Guitar Hero score challenge on "The Pretenders" by the Foo Fighters, with the orchestra and Tommy Tallarico wailing on guitar in the background. The original challenge was to play the game on hard, and when the contestant requested that he be allowed to play it on expert instead the audience lost it. They were clapping and screaming the entire time, getting especially into it whenever he activated Star Power. #eSports I guess?
The concert was a ton of fun and I'm really excited for the upcoming show this Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con. Actually, I had originally planned for this blog to be a big mess of text covering both concerts. However, I recently learned that, as part of a sponsorship by Ubisoft to promote Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, the concert is actually going to be free admission on a first-come first-served basis. On top of that, the entire thing is going to be streamed live by Twitch! It's probably going to be crazy packed, but if you're in the area it might be worth considering heading down to the venue a few hours earlier and scoping out the line. You might get a free concert out of it! Otherwise, I'd strongly recommend that everyone check Twitch on Saturday around 7:45PM PDT when I'm sure the VGL stream will be sitting right up at the top.
And hey, if you tune in, you might even see me! Then you can say to yourself, "Hey, I know that guy", and it will be cool for like 3 seconds before you forget all about it.
Oh right, the worst Burger King in the world! Well, we had a dinner break in between our rehearsal and the show and so, with extremely limited options, we decided to go to Burger King. It was Wednesday so I went for the $4.99 Whopper meal "for here", rings instead of fries, and started waiting for my "fast" food.
They were still quite a few numbers behind me, I saw them serving number 37 immediately after placing order number 44, but it was only a few minutes before the person standing in front of me in line received his food. I knew I was next. I saw the Whopper sitting on the warmer and some onion rings in a weird plastic scoop/tray thing over the salty, greasy abyss of fries. The guy arranging the orders grabbed the rings, the Whopper, and put them in a bag.
My heart sunk as he grabbed the receipt clearly labeled number 50 and headed for the pickup window. He then proceeded to serve my friend who ordered after me, number 47, and a few other people waiting at the drive-thru. I was about to say something when the girl working behind the register noticed me looking antsy. She saw my ticket, sad number 44 still sitting up there, then shouted to the back for more onion rings.
Finally, after a few minutes more waiting, the rings were done. The girl was extra nice about it and stuffed as many rings as should could into the small container before piling a handful of extra ones on top. The food was fine and we still had plenty of time, but I have never waited for anything close to the 15 minutes it took them to serve me my "fast food".
Whatever, fuck that place. See you (you see me?) on Saturday!