Video Games Live, the brainchild of world famous composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall, came to London on the 24th of October and Ready-Up were there. Not just as visitors, oh no, we were PART of it!

The Ready-Up team were running the pre-show event in the Royal Festival Hall in London. On floor 2 we had the Cosplay event with our very own Shaz doing her bit and turning more than a few heads in the process in her Sakura costume. On floor five we brought the noise! We had two full Guitar Hero: World Tour bands set up and in between those a Guitar Hero: Aerosmith installation which was used for a competition, more on that later. Before the show started Kirsten took our cosplayers on stage and a winner was decided by the audience.

The attendees ranged from long-term gamers (those who played Pong and Defender) to the new school, next generation who’s skill frankly leaves me wondering where my dexterity went. Also along for the experience were some parents, a couple of whom showed some significant skill on World Tour, which leads me to believe that when the kids have gone to bed, there may be some sneaky playing going on!

The purpose of us all being there was of course, the Video Games Live concert and part of that concert is that one very lucky gamer gets to go on stage and play along with Tommy Tallarico and the entire orchestra conducted by Jack Wall. The individual is the winner of the Guitar Hero: Aerosmith competition, and the competition goes like this, everyone has to play Sweet Emotion on Guitar Hero: Aerosmith on Hard level and the highest score wins. Our first winner was Tom Chaplin who rocked up a considerable score. When it came time to do the on-stage performance, our Tom was introduced by Tommy who also announced what was going to happen, that the whole orchestra, he and Tom would play Sweet Emotion live with Tom repeating his Hard level performance via an on-stage Xbox 360 piped through to a HUGE screen over the stage area. At this announcement there were whoops and cheers from the audience and not a few shouts of “Expert.. play it on Expert”. Tommy laughed at this but Tom simply shrugged and said “Sure, why not”. The result was epic, Tommy wailing away on his axe, the orchestra providing that sonic depth that only an orchestra can and Tom sliding through the track as if he’d written it. The response from the audience to this display of collective virtuosity was fantastic and more than well deserved.

The concert itself was amazing. I must admit here and now that I’ve never actually taken much notice of the music behind my games, it’s simply been there adding to the ambiance like a sort of auditory cloud scene, you know the sort of thing you don’t actually look at but would miss if it wasn’t there. After this event though, I see this element in a whole new light. These pieces of work are simply brilliant, even when we peer back in time to the days of Super Mario and Tetris we have iconic tunes which, when transferred to the orchestra and played against a back drop of stunning visuals create a show which is simply a must see.

The effects are more profound and far reaching than the simple experience of the event though. After the show I heard more than a few people saying “I’m going to get [game] out again after hearing that”, such is the evocative nature and impact that music has on us.

During an interlude in the music, the editor of the Guinness Book of Records came on stage to tell the audience about the new Gamers Edition of the book and also to present Tommy and Jack with a plaque commemorating them as record breakers for the most number of game music concerts held in one year. Tommy also received a further record as the individual who has worked on the most published games titles, a massive 272!

There is a CD out called Video Games Live: Volume 1, it debuted at number 10 in the US Billboard chart and I now know why. I’ll certainly be buying it here as it was released in the UK this week.

In summary, the Ready-Up team and Guitar Hero set the stage, and Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall with their orchestra raised the roof and blew the doors off! If you get the chance to go to one of these shows, make it happen because you will love it!