So concluding my extended weekend of fun, I attended the Video Games Live concert in London's Royal Festival Hall yesterday with Bungle, TK, BH and Lazerus. Went into London a bit early to wander about London before the show, which consisted of visits to Cybercandy, Play 2 Win, Las Vegas (the arcade!) and Ed's for food.
Got to the venue at around 5pm, but there didn't seem to be any real evidence that there was anything going on there. No big posters or signs about the event or anything. The site said that at 5.30pm they would have Xbox 360s set up with games which are going to be released for Christmas on display to play but 5.30 came and saw nothing happen. So just ended up hanging around the main foyer with DS in hand. Lots of other people there also had DSes like last year, however I didn't have Mario Kart with me and that seemed to be all people wanted to play. Queued up for merchandising as they were setting up the stand and nabbed myself a poster and overpriced programme as I missed out on those last year. Was a bit disappointed that they didn't have the new VGL album available for sale like the site suggested it would be, all they had in terms of CDs was a soundtrack to Earthworm Jim by Tommy Tallarico, one of the show's organisers and presenters.
As time progressed, lots and lots more people turned up, including cosplayers. There was a Purple Tentacle from Day of the Tentacle, Bub or Bob from Bubble Bobble, Manny from Grim Fandango, a female Phoenix Wright and Maya, Samus from Metroid Prime and fatkraken
's Link Wolf from Zelda Twilight Princess (left), though I'm not sure if it was her in the suit. Master Chief was also there but he was only there courtesy of Microsoft and wasn't actually some guy who happened to have a Master Chief suit. Purple Tentacle won the costume contest over Link Wolf, mostly for comedy's sake as it was such a great and unusual idea.
Thanks to Kittiah and his group, at around 7pm, 30minutes before the show was to start, we discovered where the aforementioned 360 demo pods were. Turns out they were all the way up on the 5th floor. How we were supposed to know this, I've no idea. Anyway, once there we found that the games on offer were pretty lame. The only games on display which weren't actually out already were DDR Universe (I think), Viva Piñata Party Animals and Guitar Hero III. The rest were games like Halo 3, PGR 4, some football game and a selection from the Live Arcade.
On to the show. We took our seats smack bang in the centre of the front row, right behind the conductor. While the conductor was obscuring the video screen during the performances, I still felt we had great seats as the video wasn't that important. I was initially disappointed with the pieces they played, starting with the exact same retro medley and Sonic The Hedgehog medley they played last year. However, they turned things around by doing one of the first performances of Bioshock and an exclusive of Outrun 2 SP's Magical Sound Shower Euromix performed by the composer, Robert Jacques. Their other exclusive was the music to the game of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, however they expected the audience to go wild at this, but instead because the game was made by EA, the announcement was treated with booing. The composer of the song came on stage after the booing too which he must have felt embarrassed about. Later on in the show, they played Tron which had been in VGL's playlist since before last year's show but it was the first time they did it in London. They also performed the music from Starcraft 2 for one of first times since they played it in Korea for Blizzard for the announcement of the game.
Another disappointment was the fact that both the competitions they put on were identical to the ones they did last year. Both Space Invaders and Frogger. Despite being in front row and having a good chance of getting selected to play, I opted out letting others have a go. Last year we had no chance as we we far far away from the stage. The prize for Space Invaders was an arcade cabinet full of MAME games which the guy didn't win but got an Xbox 360 and Halo 3 just for playing, and the prize for Frogger was an Xbox 360 Elite with Halo 3 and 12 months Live subscription (you couldn't tell the event was sponsored by Microsoft eh? :P).
The show concluded with performances of Halo 1, 2 and 3, the latter being accompanied by Tommy Tallarico on electric guitar and an encore of One Winged Angel. The climax didn't seem quite as special as last year as both Zelda Twilight Princess and Halo 3 hadn't been released yet, but it was still good all the same. I recorded 11 of the songs on my phone's movie camera as last year they said it was OK to do so but as long as you leave the applause in. While I was recording, one of the double bass guys kept on looking at me suspiciously and talking to his fellow double bassist. I suspect he was probably just telling him that they're going to be on YouTube :P. Got an especially good recording of Halo 3 as both Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, the conductor lept from the conductor's stage at the conclusion of the song.
Didn't hang around for the meet and greet so we just went off to Waterloo to get the next train home. All of us thought we had a fantastic night out and most likely will do the same again next year :).
PS. I've got to transcode the videos and stuff before I can YouTube them, but sure enough they'll be up soon!