11 Best Touring Video Game Orchestras
Music in video games has the remarkable ability to transform an experience. From epic openings to character-specific themes, the musicality of a game ...
Music in video games has the remarkable ability to transform an experience. From epic openings to character-specific themes, the musicality of a game can elevate it to new heights. Depending on the nature of the game, the music can be something light and whimsical, or when emotions soar, it can be captivating and poignant. Regardless, it should be unforgettable.
It comes as no surprise that there is a multitude of concerts dedicated to celebrating the finest video game music. While some concerts focus on a specific game series or title, others take a broader approach, offering music from a selection of well-known and exhilarating games. If you desire an intimate evening immersed in some of the best gaming musical compositions, a number of these video game orchestras are still on tour. Alternatively, if you prefer a tranquil evening at home, you can listen to many of these concerts online, including those that are no longer touring.
Updated on September 15, 2023, by PJ Molloy: There is something truly magical about video game music, and nowhere is this more evident than in the endlessly talented video game orchestras that bless the world with beautiful arrangements of some of the greatest video game music of all time. Now that the pandemic is behind us, music venues have reopened, and video game concerts are making a comeback. Some are scheduled for tours until 2024, while others, unfortunately, have ceased but can still be experienced through platforms like YouTube or Spotify. However, should anyone claim that video game music is not a true art form, show them these breathtaking video game orchestras and witness their argument crumble.
11 Press Start: A Symphony Of Games
Who would have thought that there would be a video game orchestra organized by the same mind behind the Super Smash Bros. series? Press Start: A Symphony Of Games started in 2006 with performances and toured for ten years, both in Japan and internationally.
The tour was organized by video game legends, including the composer of Final Fantasy, Nobuo Uematsu, the composer of Kirby, Shogo Sakai, and the director of Super Smash Bros, Masahiro Sakurai. The orchestra performed stunning interpretations of music pieces from Super Smash Bros, Mega Man, Donkey Kong Country, Xenoblade Chronicles, and much more.
10 Kingdom Hearts World Tour
Kingdom Hearts is renowned for its beautiful, emotive, and epic melodies. The Kingdom Hearts World Tour is a breathtaking opportunity to experience these magnificent musical compositions. This impressive video game orchestra made its debut in 2017 and toured globally until 2018.
The concert attendees had the opportunity to listen to fan favorites such as the deeply moving "Dearly Beloved" and the character themes for Sora, Riku, and Roxas. If you wish to experience the outstanding arrangements of these songs, the orchestra has released a complete album that you can find online.
9 Sonic Symphony
The Sonic series has phenomenal soundtracks, and the Sonic Symphony is a dream come true for fans of the fastest creature. This video game symphony tours worldwide with a full orchestra and a rock band, and is supported by series composer Jun Senoue at selected shows.
The Sonic Symphony performs beautifully orchestrated versions of famous Sonic songs from the Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Saturn, Dreamcast, and the modern era. As a highlight, the rock segment of the concert features hits like "Live And Learn," "Escape From the City," and "Reach For The Stars." As of 2023, the orchestra is still on tour with dates scheduled well into 2024. If you are unable to attend one of their live shows, you can watch the entire performance on the official Sonic The Hedgehog YouTube channel.
8 A New World: Intimate Music From Final Fantasy
The Final Fantasy series is no stranger to beautiful and epic music. From grand and thrilling battle themes to pieces that evoke the strongest emotions, the series has offered music that spans from one extreme to another.
A New World takes the finest pieces from various games in the Final Fantasy series spanning over 30 years and combines them into a poignant orchestral concert. It is an intimate performance in a smaller setting, arranged by Arnie Roth and Eric Roth of AWR Music Productions, both internationally acclaimed conductors.
7 The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses
Although it hasn't been performed recently, the Symphony of the Goddesses is renowned for its dedication to The Legend of Zelda series. The Zelda games feature some of the most iconic musical pieces in the gaming world, and this orchestra presents music from fan favorites such as A Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Twilight Princess, and Wind Waker.
This video game concert was originally planned as a promotion for the 25th anniversary of the series but later extended over multiple seasons, with the third one being called "Master Quest." The orchestra toured continuously until 2018. Although it has been less prominent in recent years, you can still listen to the concert online.
6 Pokemon: Symphonic Evolutions
As you probably know, Pokémon is a game series where the objective is to catch them all. If you are a Pokédex completionist, you know how long such an achievement can take. It's important to have good music in the background during that time, and fortunately, the Pokémon series delivers exactly that.
From 2014 to 2017, a video game orchestra called Symphonic Evolutions toured, celebrating the best Pokémon musical pieces from both the games and the anime. The concerts always ended with an encore of the original theme song of the anime, "Gotta Catch 'Em All."
5 Assassin's Creed Symphony World Tour
The Assassin's Creed games have been immensely popular for years. It is a series that delves into the history of different civilizations across time and space, and it's no wonder that fans have fallen in love not only with the rich stories and characters but also with the music.
The Assassin's Creed Symphony World Tour features an 80-piece symphony orchestra and a live choir. Like many video game concerts, it includes synchronized gameplay footage set to the music. Throughout their performances, they have showcased over a hundred musical pieces from ten different games.
4 The 8-Bit Big Band
If you're looking for something special, The 8-Bit Big Band is a jazz and pop video game orchestra that performs their own arrangements of some of the most beloved gaming melodies. They take fan favorites and give them a twist to reinterpret them in a fresh and exciting way.
From Super Mario 64 to Katamari Damacy and Earthbound, there's something for everyone. Although it won't sound exactly like the versions in the original games, it adds an additional jazz layer to the classic melodies and guarantees a good time. They even won a Grammy in 2022 for their rendition of "Meta Knight's Revenge" from Kirby Super Star.
3 Video Games Live
Video Games Live is more than just a video game concert. It is a comprehensive experience. It offers not only music from some of the best games performed by a full orchestra and choir but also synchronized light effects, solo artists, and interactive segments. When you attend one of their performances, you will be treated to beautiful interpretations of music from Metal Gear Solid, Halo, Sonic The Hedgehog, and much more.
The concert is organized by people from the gaming industry and actually serves as a love letter to gaming and the good it can do. It is also listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest, most successful, and longest-running video game concert.
2 Final Fantasy 7 Remake World Tour
Most video game orchestras cover an entire series or even a variety of games. But when a tour specifically focuses on a particular game, something special awaits you. The concert tour for Final Fantasy 7 Remake features a large orchestra performing music by Nobuo Uematsu.
Expect favorites like "Flowers In The Church" and the epic yet menacing "One-Winged Angel." All of this will be presented alongside electrifying high-definition video scenes created specifically for the concert. If you're a big fan of Final Fantasy 7, you should definitely take the time to seek them out and experience the beautiful melodies.
1 Game On!
There's something to be said about a shared experience with strangers. It can happen at the cinema, in the theater, or in this case, at a video game orchestra. Game On! presents music from some of the world's best games in their purest form.
From the lively music of The Witcher 3 to the animated melodies of the often overlooked Guild Wars 2, there's something for everyone at a Game On! concert. In reviews from concert attendees, it has been noted that between the pieces, you can hear people whispering about how epic everything sounds with a full orchestra.