Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions: London

I’ve now experienced many video game music concerts and know what to expect when going to them.  However that hasn’t stopped me from attending them and enjoying them.  In the same vein as The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions aims to be a musical celebration of everything Pokemon.  The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra were on hand to perform again as they had 2 days prior at the Tomb Raider – Live in Concert, where they gave a solid performance. 

I admit when everyone went crazy for Pokemon in the late 90’s early 2000’s I didn’t really get stuck in.  I only started playing the Pokemon games when Diamond and Pearl came out.  I think I was a bit intimidated by how popular it was and that my skill level wouldn’t match the skill level of my peers.  Also, as with anything that becomes insanely popular with children, it’s dismissed by many adults.  When I did start playing the games, I really enjoyed them, so I was coming into this concert as a relatively newer Pokemon fan.  I was interested to see how the music of Pokemon would translate to live orchestra.

The Concert

The concert opened with the Main Theme of Pokemon.  The opening was suitably punchy and it was a great arrangement, however it wasn’t the best performance.  The brass were too stogy and not powerful enough, they also drowned out the strings on several occasions.  A shame as if it’s performed well it’s a great arrangement of an iconic piece of music.

After the main theme the producer Jeron Moore came on stage as the host.  He was a great speaker who engaged with the audience really well, interacting with everyone.  I even got a little joke in, when he asked everyone who they picked (Charmander, Squirtle or Bulbasaur) I shouted Jigglypuff!  His response was perfect.  “No I don’t want you to fall asleep, I’ll send you your Jigglypuff in the post”.

After his speech it was time for “Pallet Town”.  It was an effective performance even if it didn’t sound like the Pallet Town that I remember.  It was very light as expected to start off with, I felt like it became a little too heavy in places but overall it was a good performance.  This was followed by “Prepare for Trouble”.  There was some great percussion work in this piece and overall it was a very effective action oriented performance and arrangement.  This was carried on in “Born to be a Champion”, though I would’ve liked more percussion to keep the beat going throughout and it ended a bit abruptly.

After that we were treated to a more lyrical piece in “Ecruteak City”.  Here the orchestra sounded full and engaging and provided some great variety, even if it didn’t get a huge applause.  The orchestra continued to perform well with “Song of the Towers” and “…”  I liked the background effects that they had on the big screen such as the earthquake during this piece.  We were then treated to “Ancients of Hoenn”, Pokemon has never sounded this epic before, but this arrangement really hit it out of the park.  The arrangement success was continued with “Falling Ashes” and “End of the Road”.

“Dreams and Adventures” was emotional and very successful too, we were then treated to a medley of tunes from the various numbered routes found in Pokemon games.  It was a very classy and effective arrangement and performance.  Electronics then came into play during the next piece “The Lake Guardians” and they worked.  They complimented the orchestra without being overly distracting or taking away from the live performance. 

One of my favourites of the night was the funky version of the Pokemon Centre theme we all know and love.  This was followed by some more epic music, which you wouldn’t expect from Pokemon, with “N-Counter”, some emotional music with “Farewell” and “An Eternal Prison” and some excellent fight music with “Friends, Fights and Finales”, which was a fitting ending to the night before the inevitable encores.

Jeron Moore then came back on stage to introduce the encores of which there were two.  The first was the Pokemon Theme Song from the TV show (I wanna be the very best….).  Personally I felt the arrangement was weak, it didn’t move enough.  They also didn’t have the words on screen and so not enough people were singing along and it ended up being awkward, a shame as this could’ve got the crowd really going.  I would’ve added a drum kit, had the words on screen and maybe even brought in Jason Paige himself to sing the song, that would’ve brought in more excitement.  The second encore was “Kiseki”, which was a much better arrangement and a great send off, even if I thought it didn’t work as a sing along, it’s a great song but it’s not sing along material, so once again it ended up being awkward.  It would’ve been better to hire a singer to do it on stage. 

Overall

Overall I thought this concert was good.  Not the best concert I’ve been to, there were a few misses, but nothing to stop this from being a concert celebration of everything Pokemon.  If you’re a Pokemon fan and this tour is in your area I’d highly recommend going.

Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions: London Joe Hammond

Do you agree with the review and score? Let us know in the comments below!

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Posted on June 12, 2017 by Joe Hammond. Last modified on June 12, 2017.

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About the Author

When I first heard the music of Nobuo Uematsu in the Final Fantasy series at about 17 years old, my love of video game music was born. Since then, I’ve been revisiting some of my old games, bringing back their musical memories, and checking out whatever I can find in the game music scene. Before all of this I’ve always been a keen gamer from an early age. I’m currently doing a PGCE (teacher training) in primary school teaching (same age as elementary school) with music specialism at Exeter University. I did my undergraduate degree in music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. My main focus at the moment is my teaching and education work, though who knows what will happen in the future. I like a variety of music, from classical/orchestral to jazz to rock and metal and even a bit of pop. Also when you work with young children you do develop a somewhat different appreciation for the music they like.



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