For more than 30 years, the music of "The Legend of Zelda" has transported players to a digital world of heroism and adventure. Now, gamers and music lovers can experience that iconic soundtrack live at "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses" at the Saenger on Dec. 15.
Concert producer and creator Jason Michael Paul knows the magic of Zelda music goes beyond the notes. These songs, like the games they come from, represent experiences shared by millions all over the world.
“It’s got the sheer breadth and scope of 30 years. There’s a lot of memories that have been had. I think that with any video game, once you start playing you grow with it and it becomes a part of your DNA. ... This is something that I’m going to pass on to my kids,” said Paul.
Paul designed "The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses" as a classical symphony that will appeal to both hardcore fans and the uninitiated.
“With these concerts, I try to create something that you don’t necessarily have to be a fan to appreciate ... you can close your eyes and just be taken away. The visuals are an added bonus.”
Paul takes pride in the show’s ever-evolving set list and the fact that it’s the first video game concert to be a true symphony.
“I have a vast catalogue of worlds that I can pull from ... and the great thing about this show is that it’s arranged like a symphony. This was the first video game music concert that actually had four movements. That was a first.”
Breaking up the four main movements of the symphony are interludes featuring songs from other games in the series, as well as short video interviews with series creator Shigeru Miyamoto and composer Koji Kondo.
“I was fortunate enough to be in Kyoto shooting the videos, standing in the same room and learning these things. That’s what I’m trying to get to you, that connection to the creator’s intent,” he said.
Accompanying the symphony is a massive screen displaying exciting moments from the video games as the songs from that particular game are played. All of the footage is custom-tailored to create an experience that looks as good as it sounds.
“The footage is all captured by us, and that streamlines the process. It’s a lot more work for us upfront, but at the end of the day, it saves a lot of work and frustration, and Nintendo doesn’t have to worry about getting assets to us.”
The journey from Paul’s first video game concert series back in 2004 has been a long one. Since then, he has produced concerts all over the world, and feels that the current Zelda symphony is his best work yet.
“When Play! was around ... I was a kid doing things on a shoestring budget, and I was still figuring things out. I think that this show is the best representation of what I’ve learned from all those trials and tribulations.”
Creating a concert series that encapsulates the magic of a series as beloved and long-lasting as "The Legend of Zelda" isn’t easy, but being a fan yourself helps.
“This show is my baby," Paul said. "I’ve been to almost every show since it’s creation. It’s a blessing and a curse because it’s a lot of responsibility of course, but it’s one that I hold very close to my heart.”
Paul believes the show is a great opportunity for parents to introduce their children to live music on a grand, symphonic scale.
“We have generations of fans who come to this show. I’ve had young adults where this is the first concert they’ve been to in their entire life.”
The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15
Where: Saenger Theatre
Tickets: $42 and up