Video Games Concerts Growing

In 2001 when Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall created Video Games Live, no one knew whether audiences would be interested in a concert of videogame music or whether the videogame generation actually go to an orchestral concert. However, in July 2005, the critics were silenced when the first concert filled the famed Hollywood Bowl making it the biggest videogame concert in history. Subsequent performances in venue after venue continued to sell out along their newly scheduled tour. Major corporate sponsors jumped on board, and in the beginning of 2006, almost five years after Tallarico and Wall’s first ideas were set to paper, they announced the first videogame music world tour.Success, of course, breeds competition. With other concert producers trying to create VGL-like concerts, Tallarico and Wall are more focused than ever on their original vision. “We want entire families to be able to come to the show, and we make sure that even if you don’t play video games, you’ll have a great time,” says Tallarico, who hosts the concerts personally. “We’ve tried to keep the ticket prices low and the entertainment value high so that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”Indeed, VGL’s ticket prices are significantly lower than other game music concerts. A quick comparison of ticket prices in upcoming shows in Toronto reveals that VGL’s concert is about one-third the cost of other events in the same area, with VGL ticket prices raging from $39 to $59 CDN while the competition’s tickets start at $65 and go to $155 CDN.When asked about emerging rival concert tours, Tallarico says that they welcome the other concert events. “I think it’s great that people are really excited to hear videogame music,” he says. “Each of the other concerts has their own angle, whether it is music from only one game or a concert focused on reaching a more high-brow audience that doesn’t mind paying high prices for tickets. Video Games Live is a completely unique experience than anything else out there for a lot of different reasons and it’s important to make sure that people don’t get confused about what each has to offer.”Tallarico goes on to explain some of the details surrounding the VGL events, which help to differentiate it from other concerts. “As part of the VGL experience we have a lot of free pre- and post-show activities, including costume contests, previews of upcoming games, game competitions and meet and greets with game designers and composers. Other game concerts are charging up to $155+ to meet composers after the show. We definitely don’t subscribe to that mentality. How is that helping to further our industry? We want as many people as possible to come to our shows and experience what the videogame industry has to offer, especially families. Last year at the Hollywood Bowl ticket prices started at $1.”As far as the concert itself is concerned, VGL is the only concert that features constant and synchronized gameplay footage on big screens, synchronized lighting, special effects, classic gaming segments and on-stage interactive segments where selected audience members play games while the orchestra accompanies them live. Other events and prize give-aways also take place during the show including a $2,500 laptop each and every performance.Because Video Games Live is the only concert put on by the videogame industry itself; companies such as Bungie, Blizzard, Kojima Prods., Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Sony, UbiSoft, Sega and Disney have all personally helped out in creating and producing exclusive video segments for VGL.Video Games Live also works with the local Visitors Bureau and Board of Education as well as the "Grammy in the Schools" program to raise awareness of the arts, music and culture by inviting classes to come down during rehearsals for a tour and "behind-the-scenes" look at the show as well as speaking with industry professionals. Video Games Live also partnered with Alfred Publishing to bring VGL music arrangements to over 75,000 schools across North America.“I feel that one of the biggest things that differentiates us from anything else out there is the combination of each and every element of production we use,” says Jack Wall, fellow game composer and concert conductor. “It’s the excitement and energy of a rock concert, the power and emotion of a symphony and the stunning cutting-edge visuals, technology, interactivity and FUN that videogames are all about.”Wall adds, “The key is that we’re actually a part of this industry, so we make sure that the concert experience reflects the love and passion we all have for what we do and create.”More information about Video Games Live is available at www.videogameslive.com. Upcoming world tour dates including the return to the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 21, 2006, can be found at www.videogameslive.com/index.php?s=dates

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