Arts & Culture

Review: Video Games Live at Concerts in the Garden

Tommy Tallarico, creator of Video Games Live, performs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at Concerts in the Garden Friday, June 19, 2015.
Tommy Tallarico, creator of Video Games Live, performs with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at Concerts in the Garden Friday, June 19, 2015. Star-Telegram

All the audience members needed were their Wii remotes and XBox and Playstation controllers.

On Friday evening, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Emmanuel Fratianni, teamed up with video game composer Tommy Tallarico to perform the music of some of the most popular video games from the past 30 years.

The music: Tallarico, who has performed and produced the Video Games Live concerts for more than a decade, said his goal is to bring a generation of gamers to the symphony. The orchestra started off with music from Castlevania before moving on to Sega’s hit Sonic the Hedgehog. All of the songs were relatively short. Some pieces featured an 18-person chorus, singing in foreign languages, including Russian as blocks of Tetris fell into place on the screen behind them. As the orchestra played, scenes from each video game were shown on three screens behind the musicians.

The mood: A younger crowd that clearly plays video games attended the concert on the humid, sticky night. Some came dressed as their favorite character from Final Fantasy or as Mario from Super Mario Bros. Before several songs, the crowd cheered as the video game creators introduced their game in a short video clip. And before the concert started, gamers could try their hand at Guitar Hero, with the highest scorer invited on stage to perform with the symphony in the second act.

Memorable moments: Some of the loudest cheers came during short video clips shown in between songs that pitted classic arcade games against modern-day console characters. Sonic the Hedgehog ate all the dots in record time against Pacman, and Mortal Kombat quickly destroyed Donkey Kong.

But the crowd favorite was when Grand Theft Auto crashed its way through Frogger’s busy street and pond logs.

Concerts in the Garden

Through July 5

Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Saturday: The Music of the Eagles

Sunday: ABBACADABRA, the Ultimate ABBA Tribute

Tickets: $22-$50. Children 10 and under are admitted free to the lawn area.

817-665-6000; www.fwsymphony.org

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