There’s something pretty special about the Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses. Go to any concert and the crowd is a sea of lights, camera phones held high to capture what’s happening on stage. The crowd at a Zelda symphony is full of lights too, except those lights come from Nintendo DSes, as the crowd play Zelda to the sound of the orchestra. It’s not that they’re bored. It’s that they are actively living the experience we’re all reliving.
It’s that shared experience that differentiates the Zelda crowd. Go to a regular concert and the crowd has shared a passive experience: we’ve all listened to the same album(s). But, at a Zelda symphony, we’ve shared an active experience. We’ve all swung the same sword, all sailed the same seas, all felt the damning frustration of that water temple. We’ve all been Link, and this is the soundtrack to our adventure.
And that adventure was the focus of the evening, not anything happening on the stage. The closest we got to rock stars were video messages from figures involved in creating the games. And while they received whoops and cheers, they were there to celebrate the games as much as we were. They weren’t taking credit for our adventure. They were sharing it with us.
Even the videogame footage shown on the screen wasn’t something for us to adore. It was more of a highlight reel, a reminder of the highs and lows we had all been through as we battled to save Hyrule.
Of course, the music was incredible, and we all had favourites we were hoping to hear (and even calling out for). If I’ve made the evening sound like we all came together in a transcendental, unified mind, we didn’t. We listend to a great orchestra play music we love. But I guarantee you’ll never have the same experience at another concert. Music might be the soundtrack to our lives. But each song means something different to each listener, and we react differently to hearing it. And there’s something awesome about an arena of fans having the exact same reaction to the same piece of music.
The Zelda Symphony of the Goddesses isn’t just about great music; it’s a collective recollection, and that’s pretty special.