By Adam Tyler Wolfe
On June 6th at the theater in Madison Square Garden, a packed house of young and old gathered to enjoy the music from one of the most successful game series of all time. Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions takes the audience through a tour of time, covering at least three tracks from every single game generation. These orchestral movements are paired by visuals on three screens which helped to further evoke the tear jerking nostalgia. The audience participation was evident throughout the show as cheers filled the auditorium whenever people's favorite Pokémon came on the screen. Classic moments like dismantling Team Rocket, defeating the Elite Four, and of course the epic showdown with your rival all garnered massive praise from the spectators (though I believe Youngster Joey got the biggest cheer, go figure).
As far as musical talent, the Pokémon Symphonic Evolution orchestra was top notch. The way they were able to put their spin on the now archaic electronic sounds of the Gameboy and bring the tracks to life was truly impressive. Personally I wish more emphasis was placed upon the older games. After all, most of the people attending the concert seemed to be in their early to mid-twenties. I feel as though the audience reaction would have been stronger had the pandered more towards the nostalgia of the first two generations. Team Rocket's Hideout or as they called it "Prepare For Trouble" was my favorite track of the night, closely followed by "…" the battle theme of Gold Vs. Red.
The need to include every game also shafted some crowd favorites. "Lavender Town" in particular was notably absent. That being said, I understand the need to branch out and give the entire timeline the attention it deserves. I did notice a specific drop-off in audience participation post the Ruby and Sapphire movements. The show ended with an encore of two songs featuring a vocalist. The first was of course, "Gotta Catch Them All" which had the entire audience screaming along. Strangely enough the show ended with" Kiseki" the credit song for Pokemon X and Y. Even now I can't for the life of me figure out why they did not end the concert with "Gotta catch them All" but regardless the vocalist was fantastic.
If the Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions tour comes to your area, I wholeheartedly recommend going. Admittedly passed Pokémon Gold and Silver I did not know any songs, the music was still beautiful. The visual element provided a unique prospective that keeps you engaged in the show whether you're having a nostalgia attack or not. Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions is a must see for any diehard Pokémon fan, any parent who wants to make their children extremely happy (and maybe get them into classic music?) or for anyone looking to get some sentimental tears flowing. Hopefully with successful concerts like this, and the Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddess more video game concerts will come to life.